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Italian cartoon mouse is inspiration for musical

Saint Rose orchestra to play Fabrizio-related composition

Saturday, October 5, 2013
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Classical soprano Patricia Brady-Danzig has found a second career as a children’s author. Her book, “Fabrizio's Fable,” will be performed as a musical.
Classical soprano Patricia Brady-Danzig has found a second career as a children’s author. Her book, “Fabrizio's Fable,” will be performed as a musical.

Patricia Brady-Danzig’s friend Fabrizio wears a brown-and-yellow striped vest over a long-sleeved dark blue shirt, and a black cap with a long, white feather.

Fabrizio is a mouse, and a fashionable one.

Children can see Fabrizio in Brady-Danzig’s illustrated paperback book, “Fabrizio’s Fable.” Kids and adults will hear musical interpretations of the Italy-inspired cartoon character next Saturday when “Fabrizio the Musical” will be performed at The College of Saint Rose in Albany by the college orchestra.

Brady-Danzig expects about 400 people for the 3 p.m. show at the Massry Center for the Arts, which is sold out.

For Brady-Danzig, the book and musical are celebrations of the American and Italian languages. “Fable,” which Brady-Danzig published independently, tells a story in both English and Italian — on one side of the page, kids can read the adventure in English; on the other side of the page, the translation to Italian is printed. In both versions, Luigi the “gatto grosso” — the fat cat — is defeated by the resourceful rodent.

‘Fabrizio the Musical’

WHEN: 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12

WHERE: College of Saint Rose, Massry Center for the Arts, 1002 Madison Ave., Albany

HOW MUCH: Sold out

MORE INFO: Fabrizio.eventbrite.com

Accidental writer

Brady-Danzig, a classically trained soprano and pianist who received a master’s degree in music from Saint Rose, has studied Italian music and verse since her youth.

“The first language that young singers study is Italian to help the voice, because Italian is very, very open and very, very relaxed,” she said. “It does help singers.”

Brady-Danzig’s writing career was a pleasant accident. She had recently moved to New Jersey and decided to take a refresher course in Italian grammar at nearby Seton Hall University.

“One of the requirements of the course was that each student give a speech in Italian,” Brady-Danzig said. “I sat down to write my speech and lo and behold, out came Fabrizio. Do not ask me where it came from, it just came out. My teacher loved it. She said, ‘Signora, you must write a book.’ So I wrote a book.”

The book, illustrated by Grace Min, includes a CD in which Brady-Danzig reads the 32-page story in both Italian and English. A children’s choir sings Fabrizio’s theme song.

More music will be part of the Oct. 12 concert. Brady-Danzig said the idea to put Fabrizio and his feline antagonist, Luigi, into the “voices” of flutes and trumpets came through her contacts in Europe and with Romanian composer and conductor Sabin Pauta. Pauta had orchestrated the singer’s opera and orchestral music in the past.

“We made an agreement he would write an orchestra piece based on the work,” Brady-Danzig said. “It’s just like ‘Peter and the Wolf,’ with different themes for each character. That’s how ‘Fabrizio the Musical’ was born.”

The piece was first performed in Romania this past winter. “This is the American premiere,” Brady-Danzig said.


Fabrizio the mouse — illustrated by Grace Min — plans his escape from feline danger in Patricia Brady-Danzig’s book “Fabrizio’s Fable.”

A story and some music

The show will include Brady-Danzig reading the book in English, with Josephine Amore, who will lead the New Scotland Elementary School Choir in Fabrizio’s theme song, reading the story in Italian.

Pauta will then direct the Saint Rose orchestra through the 20-minute composition.

Brady-Danzig has high hopes for her cartoon character, who she says is different from the assorted cartoon mice children have watched for decades on television and movie screens.

“He’s a baroque-era mouse, very formal, very gallant, very polite,” Brady-Danzig said. “He has beautiful clothing.”

Fabrizio defeats bullying adversaries by using his wits. Brady-Danzig hopes children learn other lessons in her book — words from other languages.

“That’s one of the things that I push in my talks to children,” she said. “How many children know some words in other languages, how many children take music lessons? Those are two things that I’m passionate about. I think kids in United States schools should be doing more bilingual work. I really encourage that.”

 
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