Saturday, July 25, 2009

Andiamo all'opera!!

Ieri molti studenti del mio corso di italiano sono andati all'opera a Wolf Trap a Vienna in Virginia. Era l'ultimo giorno del corso dunque il teatro era una grande fine! Quella mattina abbiamo avuto anche il nostro esame ultimo. Venerdì era una buona giornata. La prima foto mostra le due professoresse - Laura Vinti (a sinistra) e Donatella Melucci (a destra). Loro erano eccellenti!! L'opera era "Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria" per Monteverdi - una opera barocca. Era il mia prima opera italiana!

I should probably change to English for those of you who haven't studied Italian!! My three-week intensive Italian class, called "Little Italies" at George Mason University, was wonderful! I pretended that I was in Rome instead of Fairfax. Since it was almost every day for three weeks, I finally started thinking in Italian. Now when I'm driving anywhere, I talk to myself in Italian instead of French. I'm even dreaming in Italian!!

Our two professors - Laura Vinti and Donatella Melucci were great! We had lots of fun learning Italian, eating Italian lunches, and watching great Italian films like "Divorce Italian Style," "Ciao, Professore," "The Boy's Room" (very sad), and "The Night Before Finals" (quite funny). We had our final exam Friday morning and most of the class met in the evening at the Barns at Wolf Trap to see "Return of Ulysses," an opera by Monteverdi. I went early with my new friend from class, Maria McKay, to listen to the talk about the opera. I'm so glad we did because I think I better understood what was happening. Of course, there were supertitles because the entire play was in Italian, but I was excited to actually understand some of the Italian. During the opera, I even recognized the use of the verb "vergognarsi" (to feel ashamed) which was a verb I hadn't know on the test!!

Here's a picture of us after the three-hour opera. Another great thing about the class was being with all the "real" college students - makes you feel young again. We had a great time; and going with everyone, including the professors, to the opera that evening was a wonderful end to a great class! Viva Italia!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Ciao, Tullio!!

Venerdì, degli studenti della mia lezione di italiano, la professoressa, sue figlie, sua madre ed io siamo andati alla Galleria Nazionale d'Arte a Washington, DC. C'era una mostra delle opere di Tullio Lombardo. Lombardo è stato un scultore del Rinascimento e ha abito a Venezia. Ecco una photografia di una sculture di Lombardo.

For the rest of my friends, I guess I should change to English. I'm taking an intensive three-week Italian class this summer at George Mason University, and it's GREAT! As part of the class, some of us met at the National Gallery downtown to see an exhibit of Tullio Lombardo's sculptures. Lombardo is a Venetian Renaissance sculptor. Unfortunately, we couldn't photograph anything inside of the exhibit because it was on loan.

I arrived at the Gallery a little early so I decided to take pictures, as usual. Here's the outside of the Gallery which was accepted by President Roosevelt in 1941. Most of the original collection was donated by Andrew Mellon who was a financier and lived in the city. He didn't care for modern art so the West building, the original building, doesn't house any modern art. The building was designed by John Russell Pope who also designed the Jefferson Memorial. He was very fond of the Pantheon in Rome, as was Jefferson, so many buildings were modeled after it.

I also took some photos of some French sculptures - couldn't leave out les français!! We waited for the professor in the Rotunda so I took photos of the fountain with Mercury. Our class is very lucky to have two professors - one is Dr. Donatella Melucci from Taranta, Italy, and the other is Signora Laura Vinti from Napoli e Roma. We met the latter at the Gallery. She brought along her two daughters and her mother - all who spoke Italian. The last picture is of the group - from left Maria (student), Signora e sua madre Silvia (back), Noami e Tullia (front), Josh, and Olga (students). Fortunately, I was taking the picture so I wasn't in it. Marie, another student, had already left.

We also saw the Beffi Triptych which is on loan from L'Aquila, Italy, which is where President Obama was this past week. There was a terrible earthquake there earlier this year. The triptych escaped damage and was offered for display at the Gallery until Labor day as a gesture of gratitude to the US which was one of the first countries to offer assistance. Unfortunately, the window behind the photographer is shining on the glass. All photos were taken without flash!! Si diverta!! Ciao!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Maryland is for Crabs!!!!!!

Today was a treat. I've been at my mother's this week while my sister is volunteering at the AT&T Golf Tournament. This morning Judy met Tiger Woods and drove Tony Romo (Dallas Cowboys) and his girlfriend Jessica Simpson to and from the tournament! Well, while Judy was stargazing, I went to Chesapeake Beach, MD, to visit my girlfriend from high school - Mercine Moutouris Marshall and ... WE ATE LOTS OF CRABS!!

Summer in Maryland and Virginia is so wonderful because of our great Chesapeake Bay blue crabs. Sitting at a table of newspapers or brown paper and opening those delicious crabs just makes my mouth water. And ... it brings back fond memories of my childhood. I remember summers with my Henderson cousins at Fairview Beach sitting on the screened-in porch of the Iron Spoon rental cottage eating crabs that my Uncle Willie and Dad had cooked. I even remember when my great uncle Lewis cooking crabs on a fire on the beach. Later, we'd mosy down to the dance pavilion and jitterbug to 50s music (because it was the 50s) playing on the jukebox while our parents went out on the pier to play the slot machines (they were legal in MD and the Potomac (where the pier was) was MD). Those definitely were the days!

Well, Mercine and I did a number on the crabs today as well as the hush puppies we ordered. If you live in the DC area and have never eaten hard shelled crabs, you have to try it! If you want to go to Chesapeake Beach, go where we did - to Abner's Crab House. Here are the remains of what we devoured!!