When Brazilian baritone Paulo Szot performed in San Francisco back in 2011, he played to crowds of more than 2500 each night singing the role of the bullfighter Escamillo in an SF Opera production of Carmen.
So this coming weekend presents a rare opportunity for Bay Area music lovers as Szot plays two extraordinarily intimate performances in the 140-seat jewel box of Feinstein’s at the Nikko.
Szot brilliantly leapt from the international opera stage to Broadway in 2008, winning a best actor Tony as Emile DeBecque in the Lincoln Center revival of South Pacific and has since had the opportunity to continue moving between musical theater and opera in engagements around the world.
From singing Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutte at Paris’ Palais Garnier to playing Henry Higgins in a Portugese-language production of My Fair Lady in his native Brazil, Szot has demonstrated an unusual knack for moving between two distinctly different idioms.
While this weekend’s Feinstein’s shows mark Szot’s San Francisco cabaret debut, he’s refined his small room performance style in a series of New York engagements over the past few years, including multiple runs at the Café Carlyle. Legendary music director and pianist Billy Stritch has been an important collaborator, encouraging Szot to infuse some of his famous stage numbers with the breezy bossa nova rhythms that he grew up with, adding an extra personal dimension to his interpretations.
Of Szot’s most recent Manhattan cabaret shows this past spring, New York critic Jonathan Warman wrote “Szot’s voice is a seductive, luscious instrument. He has incredibly solid musical taste, and a real with about the way he uses it…Definitively the total package!”