ashley_bell_2014Artists Without Walls’ member, soprano Ashley Bell, will be performing a number of Italian songs as part of Charles R. Hale’s “Musical History of the Lower East Side,” at Lehman College, Thursday, April 7, 12:30pm.


Many of our nation’s ethnic communities trace their roots to the Lower East Side, historically, a working class neighborhood, ethnically diverse and poor.  A steady stream of Italian immigrants began arriving in America in the late 19th and early 20th century, including, Italians from Naples and Southern Italy who brought with them a traditional form of singing known as Neapolitan music. In New York City, Italian tenors such as Enrico Caruso and Beniamino Gigli popularized such songs as O Sole Mio, Funiculi Funicula, and Non ti Scordar di me.  The steady stream of Italian immigrants also helped popularize the Metropolitan Opera, which debuted a number of Italian operas, including Giacomo Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi in 1918. The most popular aria from that opera remains  “O Mil Bambino Caro.”


Ashley Bell has been performing from an early age, starting at age 9 as a member of the Metropolitan Opera Children’s Chorus and making her Off-Broadway debut at sixteen in the world premiere of the musical The Golden Touch. Ashley has since performed as a soloist in the United States, Italy, Spain, France and Russia. Recent performances have included Fiordiligi in Cosi Fan Tutte and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni in the Narni Festival in Italy with the Orchestra Filarmonica di Roma, Norina in Don Pasquale in Logroño, Spain, Violetta in La Traviata at the Bay Street Theatre, Isabella Colbran in the premiere of Discovering Mrs. Rossini at the new Sheen Center in NYC, and Musetta at the National Opera Center.


The performance will be in the Studio Theatre, Lehman College, 250 Bedford Park Blvd W, Bronx, NY, Thursday, April 7, 12:30pm. This is a free event which is being sponsored by Lehman College: The City and Humanities Program and the CUNY Institute of Irish Studies.  Click here for directions.