Sicilian food, music, and culture at the NWLA Gala

Posted in Community, Community News, Culinary, Music

Sept 30, 2015

The Fifth Annual NWLA Gala, Una Festa Siciliana, is scheduled for 5:00 p.m., Saturday Oct. 17, and will be an unforgettable evening of Sicilian food, music, and culture.

The Northwest Language Academy and Cultural Center is pleased to announce its fifth annual gala, to take place at 5:00 p.m. on Oct. 17 at a private residence on Sunlight Beach,Whidbey Island.  Taking in the sunset and mountain views from the windows of this gracious home, guests from around the world will join to celebrate and support all that NWLA has accomplished in this past year and bask in the vibrant atmosphere of Sicilian culture.  All proceeds will directly support NWLA’s mission of inspiring cultural understanding by bringing language and cultural education and events to the Pacific Northwest community. Funds raised at this event build on a strong scholarship fund for NWLA’s youth programs, including the Global Cultures Program for middle school students.

The evening will feature a series of buffet stations boasting traditional Southern Italian foods, including handmade pasta, baked goods accompanied by a selection of Italian olive oils, an abundance of antipasti, and fine wine. The event is hosted by popular Whidbey Island M.C. Jim Freeman, who is sure to provide plenty of entertainment and other surprises.

PORRETTA, Frank jpegNWLA is honored to welcome tenor Frank Poretta and soprano Jennifer Poretta, whose belief in NWLA’s mission encouraged them to travel from New York to offer a program of Neopolitan art song and operatic selections on a Sicilian theme. Mr. Poretta has gained international recognition as an important lirico spinto tenor, with appearances in leading theaters including the Metropolitan Opera, Berlin State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Hamburg State Opera, and many more.  His repertoire includes some of the most demanding roles in the tenor literature, and he has won special acclaim as Calaf in Turandot, the role of his Metropolitan Opera debut, as well as the title role of Verdi’s Otello.

JPorrettaMs. Poretta is an accomplished soprano and has sung as a soloist throughout Western and Eastern Europe and North America.  Her operatic roles include many of opera’s greatest heroines including the title roles in Tosca, Madam Butterfly, and Suor Angelica.  A versatile artist, Ms. Poretta has also appeared in oratorios, recitals, and off-Broadway, and is also an accomplished pianist. NWLA is also thrilled to welcome back mezzo soprano Eleni Matos, whose encore performance testifies to her passion for NWLA’s work.  Ms. Matos has received universal acclaim and been hailed as a winner in an unprecedented thirty-four vocal competitions, including the Maria Callas International competition of Greece, the Luciano Pavaroti International competition, and the Queen Elisabeth International competition of Belgium.  She has sung throughout the world under the batons of such renowned conductors as Daniel Bareboim, Zubin Mehta, and Leonard Slatkin.  The three artist will offer a lighthearted musical program during the event’s cocktail hour, and a more formal performance later in the evening, singing both solo and ensemble pieces including selections from Cavalleria Rusticana, Il Tabarro, Madama Butterfly, and more.

NWLA is committed to providing the Whidbey Island and surrounding communities with cross-cultural experiences and global education, including world cuisine, diverse performances, foreign language classes for adults and children, exchange programs, and summer camps—all at an affordable cost.  Fundraisers like the annual gala event make it possible for NWLA to ensure that these valuable cross-cultural experiences are available to all members of our community.

For more information, or to purchase tickets please contact 360-321-2101 or e-mail  Overnight accommodations are available at NWLA’s Guesthouse; please inquire.

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