Olivia Decker Power of Music concert on Magical Li Galli Island Positano
LI GALLI, THE MYTHICAL ARCHIPELAGO CONSISTING OF A TRIO of small islands off the Amalfi Coast of Positano, is the fabulous setting of the Olivia Decker Power of Music Festival Napa Valley’s memorial concert on June 24 to celebrate the life of Bruce Katz, a beloved friend of many San Franciscans and Giovanni Russo, the owner of Li Galli Island. The magnificent evening included a classic Italian dinner, fireworks, and an exclusive concert featuring acclaimed Italian tenor Pasquale Esposito with special guests Broadway singer Christina Maxwell and renowned composer-conductor Adriano Pennino. Decker introduced Katz and Russo in 1996. The duo became best friends and shared their friends together on Li Galli and beautiful trips on Bruce’s yacht, Juliet, for many years.
Known to Italians as the most magical place in the Mediterranean and the island of the sirens, Li Galli attracted Russian choreographer and dancer Léonide Massine, who purchased the island in 1920s; rebuilt the medieval stone watchtower; constructed the walkways, villas, and the terraces for gardens and vines; and established a dance school on the island. In the 1980s, the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation purchased the island, decorated the villa with tiles from Istanbul, and entertained many VIPs and dancers. In 1995, prominent hotelier Giovanni Russo acquired Li Galli and extensively renovated the island, including a small church; the harbor with a dock which was dedicated to Bruce Katz; the exquisite, cave-like indoor pool; beautiful bedrooms, living room, and kitchen in the medieval stone tower; and the two villas.
The main island’s magnificent terrace boasts views of the other two small islands just in front and the island of Capri in the far distance. There was no better setting than Li Galli for the concert at sunset. Russo and his wife, Nicoletta, invited Italian friends who knew Katz as well as friends from San Francisco. Esposito performed classic Italian songs such as “Torna A Surriento,” “O Sole Mio,” “Volare,” “Caruso,” “Nessun Dorma,” and American classics such as “My Way,” “What a Wonderful Day,” and “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You.” He also performed two beautiful duets with Maxwell: “The Prayer” and “In Un Tramonto” which Pasquale composed about the sunset.
Katz and his father were the founders of Rockport, a successful shoe company sold to Reebok in 1986 for $118.5 million. Katz fulfilled a longtime dream building the 143-foot sailing yacht, Juliet, and invested in online and software ventures like The Well and the Republic of Tea. He was a generous philanthropist, supporting nonprofit arts including the Mill Valley Film Festival, the San Francisco Opera, and many others. This memorial concert was most befitting for the life of Bruce Katz, a man who was a great inspiration for so many San Franciscans, including me.
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