michéal Castaldo, the voice that reaches deeper into the soul and passionately takes you back to his Calabrian roots

Everything michéal Castaldo loves includes sharing the very best Italian music, the freshest olive oil from his family’s groves, a stay at his family’s enchanting villa, Villetta Mimma Vittoria, named for michéal’s mother. To spend time with michéal is to drink in all the things that go with “La Dolce Vita,” the sweetest life imaginable.

Michéal began filling his cup at an early age by studying voice with Maestro Pisapia a protégé of the great Italian operatic tenor, Enrico Caruso. A graduate of prestigious schools—the arts- oriented Oakwood Collegiate Institute in Toronto (where he returned during spring 2008 to perform at the school’s 100th anniversary reunion) and Berklee College of Music in Boston— michéal has also been a producer/remixer (José Feliciano, Teo Macero, Martha Wash, Wendy Moten); recording artist (Lives of a Cell, michéal Castaldo); songwriter (José Feliciano, Aaron Schroeder, Jim Papoulis); session musician (Herbal Essence Shampoo, E-File, Burlington Coat Factory); record label founder (MJM Records); and label executive (Vital Records).

When the Academy of Calabria Rome-Toronto honored michéal in 1996 for his contributions to the Calabrian community in Canada, and when he received the “Calabria America” 2000 for his achievements as a composer/producer, michéal was inspired to rebuild Villetta Mimma Vittoria, the home where he was born, making it available to his family and friends as well as opening it up as a rental to anyone ready for a Calabrian adventure.

In 2004 he founded the first ever Olive Oil Cooperative in New York City, providing high quality organic olive oil from his family’s estate-grown extra-virgin olive oil to connoisseurs in North America. The Private Reserve Estate EVOO was founded in 1907 by his great grandfather Giuseppe Frisina who had just returned from New York City as a “bird of passage” helping to build the subway system. With savings in hand he purchased a parcel of land that had centuries-old olive groves. By the 1920s his grandparents, Michelangelo Pellegrino and Maria Antonia Frisina took the olive grove to the next level and now michéal’s uncles have over 20,000 orchards along the Tyrrhenian coast of Calabria in the foothills of Aspromonte. In short, The New York City Olive Oil Coop seed was planted a century earlier as a gift from a great grandfather to a great grandson.

To give back a bit of life’s sweetness, Castaldo now runs La Dolce Vita Foundation, whose mission is to take people suffering from the blues or illness on scenic joy rides in the country in his exotic convertible roadster, a customized Mazda Miata. His story and his car were featured as Miata of the Month in November 2007.

Nowadays michéal CASTALDO may be found on any given week performing light Italian opera; hosting an olive oil tasting complete with Neapolitan song or classic Italian pop standards; onstage at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center, the JVC Jazz Festival, the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, the West Virginia Italian Heritage Festival or hosting a house concert event at the home of a high-profile Italian-American family—in Italian, of course. With his Italian CDs “Villa” and “La Dolce Vita ‘NAmerica” Castaldo slows the tempo, reaches deeper into the soul and passionately takes you back to his Calabrian roots.

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