Leah Crocetto bringing friends to Adrian for concert March 18
The concert, which is presented under the auspices of the Adrian Symphony Orchestra and billed by the ASO as an “Evening with Leah Crocetto,” is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 18, at Adrian College’s Dawson Auditorium. A cash bar is available in the lobby beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets are $32/$29/$21 for adults, $30/$27/$21 for senior citizens, and $18/$15 for students and are available by calling the ASO at 517-264-3121, online at adriansymphony.org or at the door beginning two hours prior to the concert.
Momenti, made up of Crocetto, bass-baritone Christian Pursell and pianist Ronny Michael Greenberg, presents music the trio describes as “genre-fluid,” incorporating classical music, jazz, blues, pop, musical theater, folk and inspirational music into its performances.
The audience at Saturday’s concert will hear that wide range of styles, including a duet from the musical “Bridges of Madison County,” a scene from Rossini’s opera “Maometto secondo,” jazz standards, music from what’s termed the Great American Songbook, and much more. Some of the works will come from their new EP.
“It’s a mixed bag,” Crocetto said. “It’s going to be really fun.”
Crocetto grew up in Lenawee County and was first introduced to local audiences as a teenager when she won a young artists’ competition sponsored by the ASO. Since then, she has established herself solidly in the classical-music world, performing in operas and concerts across the country and around the world.
Not long after Momenti’s Adrian concert, for example, she heads to Bari, Italy, to sing the role of Odabella in Verdi’s “Attila.” Then, in June, she performs the title role in Verdi’s “Aida” at the Sydney (Australia) Opera House with Opera Australia.
Greenberg and Pursell likewise are well established musicians. Greenberg’s highly varied resume includes being co-founder and CEO of Taste of Talent, which showcases the connective power of music and art through multisensory experiences; touring internationally; co-producing OperAloha in Hawaii; performing regularly at the Black Cat of the University Club in San Francisco; and curating TILT, an annual concert collaboration between San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral and the San Francisco Opera.
Pursell is a singer and actor who has performed in opera houses across the U.S. — traveling in a 1962 Airstream towed by his 1967 Chevy truck — and produces videos for clients and his own YouTube channel.
Saturday’s concert is the third of three launch events for Momenti’s self-titled debut album, which became available for streaming on Feb. 10 and quickly garnered some 7,000 downloads and counting.
The first two concerts took place in California, surrounding that date, and were hugely successful, Crocetto said — even though she had to battle through bronchitis for the first performance.
“It was brutal,” she said. “But (the concerts) went really well.”
The seeds of Momenti were planted during the pandemic when Greenberg needed a singer to step in at the last moment for a virtual gala he was producing and tapped Crocetto for the gig. She, in turn, was introduced to Pursell at that time.
The chemistry that quickly formed led the three to discuss doing other projects together, and out of that discussion came a San Francisco concert last April. And with that concert, Momenti was born.
Even before the group was actually formed and had a name, Crocetto met with ASO Executive Director Libby Watson to talk over the plans she and her two friends had.
“I am very grateful to Libby and Bruce” — ASO Music Director Bruce Anthony Kiesling — “because they are the first ones who took us seriously,” she said in a February interview about the group’s debut EP. “They allowed me to bring this project to them, and I’m really grateful to them.”
The name Momenti means “moments” in Italian, and draws on the way people remember specific moments from concerts they attend. And with the way people consume music these days — with playlists of varied genres rather than buying entire albums of one type of music — the trio wants its performances to reflect that diversity.
“We live in an era where people have many different options,” Greenberg said during that February interview. “Today, people like many different things. And so, they hear us do a Rossini duet and then ‘I Don’t Know What Love Is,’ and they ask, ‘Why did they put those together?’ We did it because it’s cool.”
Even their opera repertoire often sounds different than one would expect. Instead of an aria, for example, the work might be done as a duet. Or a piece might be done in a different key or for a different voice entirely than what it was written for. As a result, Momenti’s members get to sing parts of the opera repertoire that they would never get to do otherwise.
Crocetto said she’s looking forward to Saturday’s “super-fun” concert and to introducing Pursell and Greenberg to her home area.
“I’ve told the guys about Adrian,” she said. “I am ecstatic to show them where I grew up. … I’m really excited to show them where I come from and this amazing community.”