Introduction to the evenings performance by Cosanti Foundation President Jeff Stein.

Italian Night 2012

“Welcome to the Colly Soleri Music Center, and to our annual Italian Night at Arcosanti. I’m Jeff Stein president of Cosanti Foundation. You know: the 2 Italian words, COSA and ANTI, meaning Before Things: Architecture before anything else; form before performance, like right here in this residential neighborhood where people live exactly on the edge of the extra-ordinary.

You might imagine that every night is Italian night here, in honor of our founder, architect Paolo Soleri. And if you haven’t yet bought at least one of the three books he has published just this year, at age 93, you must come back and do so.



We are in the presence of real greatness here in the high desert tonight; There’s Paolo; the artists and chefs of Arcosanti who made tonight’s dinner; and look here: in the audience tonight are Judd Herberger and his wife Billie Jo Herberger. The Herberger family, in addition to their many other accomplishments, invented the Herberger Theatre Center in Phoenix. They also made possible the terrific film, shown on PBS just this past week, about the life and work of our neighbor, sculptor John Waddell. John is here tonight, with his wife, the artist Ruth Waddell.”


[photo: Paolo Soleri with Ruth and John Waddell]



And with us tonight – you’ll really like this – are soprano Jayne Casselman and pianist Lynne Haeseler.

Mention the pianist Dr. Lynne Haeseler to people in Phoenix who know anything about music, and the response is “Wow”. I’m not making this up.  I have talked to dozens of Phoenicians about this over the past couple months and they all have said “Wow. Lynne is coming to Arcosanti. Wow!”

Haeseler is originally from New York, and she has recordings in the world.  She has a created a fantastic solo career in our region, she works with Ballet Arizona, ASU’s Dance Department, Orpheus Male Chorus; she founded a concert Series at the West Valley Art Museum, she teaches at Glendale, and at ASU, and she is with us tonight. Wow.


Soprano Jayne Casselman, born in Iowa, educated at the University of Kansas, began her career with the Kansas City Lyric Opera. She moved to Germany and now has 60 roles in her operatic repertoire, which she has sung worldwide. She won the Distinguished Artist Award in Philadelphia, was named Singer of the Year in Budapest; she only recently opened her own theatre  Kulturhof Huthmacher in Dierbach, Germany, and she is with us tonight, at Arcosanti Arizona. Jayne is part of the Arcosanti family: her son Jonas has been with our construction workshop this entire summer.”

[photo: Jayne Casselman]


The performance was scheduled to be in the Colly Soleri amphitheater, the weather was not cooperative. Right at the end of dinner, perfect timing, it started raining and everyone moved into the Crafts III cafe.

There followed a terrific line-up of pieces from Giacomo Puchini, Arigo Boito, Alessandro Scarlatti and Guiseppe Verdi.

The team of Dr. Lynne Haeseler and Jayne Casselman delivered an astonishing event, with an unscheduled backdrop of a dark stormy sky, rain, thunder and lightning supplied by Mother Nature, accompanied by a dynamite pianist and a ‘tour de force’ soprano, what a voice!! Powerful, passionate and absolutely gorgeous.





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