The Mondavi Center staff is a diverse team with many interests, but all of us share a passion for the performing arts. As we look forward to the 2019-20 season, we'll be posting videos featuring staff members talking about the three shows they are most looking forward to seeing next season.
Below, Rob Tocalino, Director of Marketing and Ticketing, shares his top three picks and why he chose them.
I relish the opportunity to be surprised by live performances. Those moments where the notion that anything might happen are realized, for artists and audiences, are the magic of what we do.
I came to the Mondavi Center 10 years ago with only passing knowledge and interest in modern dance. Now, it is one of the art forms I most look forward to each season. Malpaso’s promotional video for “Indomitable Waltz” has enchanted me since I first saw it. The warmth of movement, the generosity with which the Havana, Cuba based group performs, the ambient soundtrack by Nils Frahm; it all speaks to a special night.
Jazz is my anchor. It’s the music I listen to most often, the music I’ve seen most live and reflects my taste for artistic exploration. Saxophonist Melissa Aldana stands out for me in the coming season. Like her idol, Sonny Rollins, Aldana’s improvisations have a compelling story to tell; valuing narrative over virtuosity, she is always going somewhere with purpose and ingenuity. Her sets over four nights in our Vanderhoef Studio Theatre will include pieces from her latest album, Visions, a tribute to Frida Kahlo.
Percussion ensembles embody the element of “play” at the heart of performance. The primary focus on rhythm, the visual choreography of four people beating all variety of instruments -- it adds up to an expression of joy in music-making. Which isn’t to say it’s unserious music; Sandbox sits at the delta of many rivers of contemporary music. It’s just refreshing to see smiles on the faces of musicians as they navigate challenging, thought-provoking work.