|One hundred years ago, it was a battle cry of Italian patriotism, today
it is one of the few things about which the world of classical music agrees:
Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi is probably the most popular opera composer
He was born October 10, 1813 in Le Roncole, near Busseto and died January
21, 1901 in Milan. Now, on February 21, (one month late) we will
celebrate the centennial of his death with a retrospective program of some
of Verdi’s most spectacular and beloved works: from Nabucco,
his acknowledged first great opera composed in 1842, to Otello,
composed in 1887, with stops along the way at Macbeth, Luisa
Miller, Attila, the big 3 (Rigoletto, Trovatore and
Traviata), I vespri siciliani, Simon Boccanegra, Un
ballo in maschera, La forza del destino, Don Carlos,
and Aida, ending with the great Requiem, written to honor
the death of the great Italian writer Alessandro Manzoni.
Our guide on this unusual journey is Sue Wohl. Sue has
been a facilitator in the opera classes of the Lifelong Learning Institute
of Washington University College and a teacher of opera for OASIS.
She is a retired children librarian with the St. Louis County Library and
a retired Support Staff Manager at Metropolitan Insurance Co. She
and her husband are world travelers with Tuscany, and especially Florence,
as their favorite destinations.
Next Meeting February 21, 6:30 PM
Da Baldo's Restaurant
RSVP Marie Wehrle Tel 644-1645
RECAP OF JANUARY
|2000 Annales of the Club
|Installation of Board of Directors
The following were installed: President, Dr. Eugene Mariani;
Vice-President, James Tognoni; Secretary, Marie Cuccia-Brand;
Treasurer, Barbara Klein; Directors, Dr. Roger Gennari, Carolyn
Ranzini Stelzer and Vito Tamboli.
Membership Status: Barbara Klein
As of December 31, 2000, we had 147 members. During 2000, 18
new members were elected, four members died and five were dropped.
Financial Report: Barbara Klein
The Club is financially stable and increased its income in 2000.
Major expense items are the production and mailing of La Rondine
and the annual Washington University Italian language student award.
Summary of 2000 Programs:
January: Annual report - The 1999 Annales
February: La Battaglia della Valle di Nizza (Cav.
March: Giuseppe Garibaldi (Vito Tamboli)
April: Roman Art in the Time of Caravaggio (Dr.
May: Writing a Biography of Michelangelo (Dr. William
June: The Job of an Honorary Vice Consul (Joseph
July: The Vatican Necropolis and Tomb of St. Peter
(Rev. Phillip Bene)
August: Pompeii: A Window on the Roman World (Dr.
September: Italic Languages and Dialects (C. Stelzer,
Dr. S. Sutera, B. Gandolfo, et al)
October: Italia Trivia Competition (Giorgio Marconi
and Barbara Klein)
November: Sacred Divas: Music and Musicians in the Convents
of Bologna (Dr. Craig Monson)
December: Christmas Celebration with Gourmet Dinner.
Panettone Players perform original production of Roman Sketches
- Years Apart (D.Rossomanno- Phillips, R. Gennari, E.Mariani, and A.
Classic Italian Film Series at the Bocce Club
Spring 2000: Il giardino dei Fitzi-Contini and La famiglia.
Fall 2000: L’albero degli zoccoli, La Grande
Guerra, Ladri di biciclette and Cinema Paradiso.
Introductions by Dott. Carla Bossola.
Dante Discussion Seminar
Inferno and Purgatorio were read and discussed by Dott.
Carla Bossola, each over an 8-week period. The weekly meetings lasted
approximately one hour. Primarily in Italian with some English.
La Rondine. Our major source of internal communications.
Luisa Flynn is the editor and the writer of Terza Pagina. Production
and mailing by Barbara Klein, Marie Cuccia-Brand, and Joann Arpiani.
Website. Our major source of external communications.
The website address is www.italystl.com/italianclub.
Franco Giannotti is our webmaster and has linked us to the Italy St. Louis
website (www.italystl.com). Giorgio
Marconi will be working with Franco to keep our site updated.
Italian Club of St. Louis Survey Results - Marie Cuccia-Brand
A very preliminary report on the member survey results was given.
We are asking that you submit your survey now if you have not done so.
A full report will be given in the next issue of La Rondine.
Reports on Club-Related
Italian-American Community Activities
Federation of Italian-American Organizations (FIAO) - Pete Puleo.
The FIAO is comprised of 17 Italian-American organizations, including
the Italian Club. The FIAO has established an office at 2105 Marconi.
The goal is to have an Italian Cultural Center that will include a library,
an Italian travel information center, and assistance for Italian genealogical
research. The Federation is sponsoring a Young Artists’ Competition.
The concert will be in April at St. Ambrose Church. Students will
be performing the works of Italian composers. The Federation has
also submitted a proposal to the Italian government for financial support
of a comprehensive Italian language program to be FIAO-administered and
taught at Shaw Community School. Peter Puleo is the Italian Club’s
representative to the Federation.
Italian-American Radio Show - Josephine Barrale
The Italian Radio Show began in February 1997 and has been on the air
every Sunday from 1- 3 pm on WEW AM 770. Beginning Sunday, February
11, 2001, the show will be heard from 1-2 p.m. Its purpose is to
promote Italian culture and the tradition of Italian music. Each
week there is a guest host (many are Italian Club members) who introduces
musical selections and makes various presentations in Italian.
Italiano Per Piacere - Franco Giannotti (who was unable to attend).
The IPP group meets bi-monthly on the first Wednesday of the month
at Da Baldo’s. At the next meeting on Wednesday, February 7, Dott.
Carla Bossola will speak about Eduardo de Filippo. Only Italian is
spoken at IPP meetings.
Columbus Day Association - Angela Mazzola
The next Columbus Day celebration will be on Sunday, October 7, 2001.
The celebration includes a Parade and a festival at Berra Park followed
by a dinner in honor of the Columbus Day Queen and her Court.
Committee Members Needed. Please contact Gene Mariani or
another member of the Board if you are interested in volunteering to help
on one of our committees. The committees are: Hospitality,
Programs, Communication/Public Relations, Facilities, Activities, and the
|The May Queen
She was the
daughter of King Albert I and Queen Elisabeth of Belgium and a talented
young woman with deep artistic and intellectual inclinations. Umberto
of Italy. In 1930 she married the Italian royal heir Umberto of italy
and became the Princess of Piedmont. Their first child, Princess
Maria Pia was born in 1934. In 1937 an heir was born when Marie-José
gave birth to Prince Victor Emmanuel, who was followed by Marie-Gabrielle
in 1940 and finally Marie-Beatrice in 1943.
At the time of Marie-José's marriage to Umberto, Italy was under
the political dictatorship of Benito Mussolini. Marie-José,
raised in the very democratic atmosphere of Brussels, felt a deep aversion
to the fascist undercurrent expanding throughout Europe. She clashed
constantly with Italy's government, and even confronted Adolf Hitler during
the Second World War. She vainly tried to obtain the freedom of Belgian
prisoners of war.
Queen Marie-José was also recognized as one of the world's leading
specialists in the history of the House of Savoy. She has published
several works on her husband's family and a biography of Prince Emmanuel-Philibert,
ancestor of her children.
Her life, after a happy childhood and youth in Belgium, was filled with
challenges, suffering and tragedy. Her marriage to Prince Umberto
was not a happy one, for neither royal spouse was much interested in the
other. Their children caused the royal couple several headaches during
much of the 1960's. One of her grandsons died in mysterious circumstances
by falling off a window just a few years ago. Marie-José's
father died tragically as a result of a climbing accident. One of
her sisters-in-law, Princess Mafalda of Hesse, died while in a concentration
camp. Another sister-in-law, Queen Astrid of Belgium, died in a car
accident. She and her husband, King Umberto II were ousted by popular
plebiscite in May, 1946. In exile, Umberto II and Marie-José
separated. He settled in Cascais, Portugal, she in Switzerland.
The long Mussolini dictatorship, as well as the German alliance during
the Second World War, doomed the future of the Savoy monarchy. After
the Allied invasion of Italy, King Victor-Emmanuel III abdicated in his
son's favor in a last effort to save the Italian monarchy. As a result,
on 9 May 1946, Umberto II and Marie-José became the new Italian
monarchs. Their opposition to Mussolini had gained them vast popularity,
yet the crown's cooperation with the fascist dictator had raised widespread
opposition among many Italians. The house of Savoy had tainted itself
by allowing, and contributing, to Mussolini's ascendancy to absolute power
in Italy. Even though Umberto and Marie-José tried to restore
the tarnished image of the Savoys, their efforts were too late. Barely
one month after ascending the throne, Umberto II called for a referendum
to decide the future of the Italian monarchy. The referendum of 1946
gave the republicansectors a marginal majority therefore many politicians
close to the Savoys tried to convince Umberto II to fight the results,
but taking this action could have plunged the country into civil war.
Italy, already devastated by the Second World War, could hardly afford
any more civil and political strife. Faced with these choices, Umberto
II and Marie-José, accompanied by their family, left Italy without
abdicating the crown. The exiled monarchs joined Umberto's parents
in Egypt. Some time later, Umberto settled in Cascais, Portugal and
Marie-José in Switzerland.
From exile in Portugal, Umberto II unsuccessfully tried to convince
the Italian government to abrogate the law of exile imposed in 1947.
This law singled out male members of the House of Savoy from ever entering
Italian territory. As their life in exile continued without the hope
of a royal restoration, Umberto II and Marie-José separated.
The children were deeply affected by the collapse of family life and began
to provide their parents with much grief and embarrassment. Divorces,
drug-addiction, love scandals and court proceedings became commonplace
among the younger generation of Savoys. Umberto II died in 1983.
He was never able to return to his beloved Italy. His body was interred
in Portugal, where it remains to this day.
Marie-José has remained a constant presence in the life of her
children, most of whom seem to have encountered some degree of inner peace.
The Italian law of exile remains in place: Victor-Emmanuel and his
son, Emmanuel-Philibert continue to live in exile but Italy was no longer
barred from Queen Marie-José. She visited the country several
times, usually in the company of her daughter Marie-Gabrielle, another
accomplished historian and Savoy expert. Yet, Marie-José refused
to settle in Italy because the Law of Exile still applied to her son and
She died 27 January 2001 in a hospital in Geneva, Switzerland at the
age of 94.
A POWERFUL FILM AND A TREMENDOUS SUCCESS
|The St. Louis Art Museum and the Italian Club cosponsored a January
19 screening of the great film, Il Gattopardo. The evening
was a huge success with the 480-seat Art Museum Theater completely filled
and with many regretfully having to be turned away for lack of space.
Obviously, people did not want to miss this rare opportunity to see this
magnificent classic, adapted from Prince Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s
great 1958 novel depicting the passing of power in Sicily from the old
aristocratic families to a new social order at the time of the Risorgimento.
The film was made particularly enjoyable thanks to an excellent introduction
by Dr. Carla Bossola, Italian government-sponsored lecturer in Italian
film, language, and literature at both Washington and St. Louis Universities.
Dr. Bossola’s comments provided interesting information on director Luchino
Visconti, background on the making of the film, and a helpful analysis
of the plot. Thanks and congratulations to Club members who helped
on this project and especially to Carla Bossola and to Barbara Klein,
who located the film, organized and coordinated the entire program, and
personally handled all publicity and PR.
for a photo view
|LA STORIA D’ITALIA È
The Storia d’Italia (History of Italy) written by Luisa Gabbiani
Flynn, which appears serially each month in Terza Pagina, was
the most popular item with viewers of the Italy at St. Louis website during
the month of January 2001. A total of 33,282 “hits” from all over
the world were recorded by the website during that month and La Storia
d’Italia received more than any other feature.
The Italian Club of St. Louis’ newsletter, La Rondine, was number
four and the Club’s general information page was number 5. Congratulations
to Luisa, to La Rondine, and to the Italian Club.
You may find these statistics, along with much more, at www.italystl.com.
|A NEW FILM BY GIUSEPPE TORNATORE
|Malena, a film by the Acadamy Award-winning director of Cinema
Paradiso, opened this week at the Tivoli. The setting is a small
Sicilian village in 1941, during World War II. It’s the story of
a beautiful war widow (Monica Bellucci) seen through the eyes of Renato,
a 13 years old boy whose life is changed forever by the experience.
|L’ANGOLO DEL PRESIDENTE
By Gene Mariani
|We are very pleased to announce that Laura Iezzi
Stadelman and Giuliana Fiorani Saylor were elected members of the Italian
Club of St. Louis at the January 17, 2001 meeting. Welcome, Laura
and Giuliana to our group. It is good to have you with us.
|Grazie, Baldo e Madda
|Great Italian cuisine is as important a part of the culture of Italy
as its art, architecture and literature. For Italians, be they in
Italy or here in the United States, the enjoyment of a great meal with
family and friends is a metaphor for the enjoyment of life in general.
To celebrate this dimension of our heritage, each year at Christmas the
Club plans a very special dinner. At the December meeting, the meal
represents not simply a part of the evening’s overall cultural program
but the most important part. To organize the dinner, Director Carolyn
Stelzer meets with restaurant owner Baldo Gandolfo, also a club
member, and together they develop what ultimately becomes our Christmas
meal. Each course, antipasti, primi piatti, sorbetto, secondi piatti,
through the final dessert is carefully planned along with the appropriate
wines. The results have been consistently excellent. Obviously,
we have to charge more for this dinner, but we believe that it is a very
reasonable charge for what amounts to a spectacular meal. So, this
is to thank and congratulate Baldo and Madda (and Carolyn too) for
the elegant evenings they create for us each Christmas; and also to thank
and compliment them for the wonderful meals that we have at our regular
monthly meetings throughout the year.
|ITALIAN CONVERSATION TABLE
Are you a beginning, or perhaps an intermediate level, student of Italian
and would like to practice speaking the language on a regular basis?
Then, cari amici, please read on - because this proposal might be
of interest to you. The Italian Club would like to establish an Italian
conversation group - or as we may choose to call it - La tavola italiana.
The project is still in the planning process, but essentially, our "Italian
Table" would be intended for anyone interested in practicing Italian in
a small group setting with a knowledgeable facilitator who can help out
when somebody gets stuck. The conversation group would be particularly
for those for whom Italian is a second language. The “Table” would
meet informally about an hour per week during which time everyone would
be encouraged to practice Italian, learn more about Italy ? and have some
fun. If you are interested in participating, please contact Audrey
Giovanni (863-8453), Barbara Klein (618 233-7261) or Gene
|Italian Classes At WEBSTER UNIVERSITY
Students interested in enrolling should contact the Registrar's Office
at 314-968-6991. Classes began January 15, 2001.
ITAL 1090.01 - Elementary Italian. Level I, Credit:
3 Units A. Course for beginners with emphasis on oral communication.
Reading and writing done for homework and classroom time spent practicing
the language, with grammar explanations as needed. One-hour language
lab practice per week is recommended. You will be given frequent
opportunity to practice your vocabulary and grammar structures in group
or pair work.
The course will introduce you to Italian culture through authentic materials
like songs, short documentaries about topics and places. By the end
of this course you should be able to master the basic skills of communication
in standard situations. You should be able to read and understand
the main ideas in simple texts, with the help of a dictionary. Grade
based on class participation, homework, and final oral and written exam.
Attendance is required. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 9:00 AM to 9:50
AM, Prof. Graziella Postolache.
|Seminar on Dante's Paradiso
year the Club initiated a very successful program to study one of the greatest
works of western literature, the Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri.
Under the talented direction of Dott. Carla Bossola, lecturer
sponsored by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and member of the
Italian Club, the group studied Inferno and Purgatorio, the
first two books of the poem. We are extremely pleased to announce
that the program will continue this fall with the study of Paradiso,
again under Carla's guidance.
Our format will remain the same. Carla's lectures will be in Italian
but participants may ask questions or make comments in English or Italian.
The group will meet on Thursday evenings from 7:30 to 8:30 P.M. beginning
February 8 and ending April 5 (there will be no session March 15).
The location again will be the conference room at Southwest Bank, thanks
to member Ed Berra. For more information or to make reservations,
please contact Barbara Klein at email@example.com
or by telephone 618-233-7161 (evenings).
|The Italian Club of St. Louis
I capolavori della poesia
28. Il mese scorso abbiamo visto chi era Ugo Foscolo
e abbiamo letto il suo famoso sonetto “Alla sera”. Questo mese pubblichiamo
un altro sonetto famoso dello stesso poeta intitolato “A Zacinto”.
Zacinto (Zante), l’isola del Mare Ionio dove il poeta nacque e dove trascorse
la prima giovinezza, ispira nel Foscolo il tema malincolico del rimpianto
e immagini legate alla mitologia greca che impregna queste isole:
l’immagine di Venere, la dea della fecondità e della creatività,
e l’immagine di Omero, il poeta che celebrò le gesta di Ulisse.
Ma mentre Ulisse tornò nella sua Itaca, il Foscolo non tornerà
nella sua amata isola, essendo destinato ad essere sepolto in terra straniera
dove nessuno piangerà sul suo sepolcro.
di Ugo Foscolo
Né mai più toccherò le sacre sponde
ove il mio corpo fanciulletto giacque,
Zacinto mia, che te specchi nell’onde
del greco mar, da cui vergine nacque
Venere, e fea quell’isole feconde
col suo primo sorriso, onde non tacque
le tue limpide nubi e le tue fronde
l’inclito verso di colui che l’acque
cantò fatali, ed il diverso esiglio
per cui bello di fama e di sventura
baciò la sua petrosa Itaca Ulisse.
Tu non altro che il canto avrai del figlio,
o materna mia terra; a noi prescrisse
il fato illacrimata sepoltura.
Ugo Foscolo fu sepolto a Chiswick, sul Tamigi, nel cimitero della
chiesa parrocchiale di Chiswick (che risale al 7mo secolo) dove riposano,
tra altri illustri personaggi, Hogarth e Whistler. E’ un cimitero
molto romantico che si addice allo spirito di questo grande poeta italiano.
Nel 1871, dopo l'unità d'Italia, i suoi resti furono rimossi e trasportati
a Firenze, nella chiesa di Santa Croce, accanto ai grandi italiani che
egli aveva celebrato nel carme Dei Sepolcri.
LA STORIA D’ITALIA
|(Continua dal numero precedente)
19. Caligola (12-41 d.C. - Imperatore 37-41 d.C.)
Gaio Cesare Augusto Germanico era il terzo dei sei figli di Germanico
e Agrippina. Da piccolo Gaio accompagnava i genitori nelle campagne
militari vestito anche lui da soldato e perciò era diventato una
specie di mascotte per i soldati del padre, che lo chiamavano Caligola
per via dei calzari (caliga) che portava.
La sua vita e gli anni del suo potere non sono stati documentati molto
accuratamente, perciò è quasi impossibile ricostruire la
verità su di lui. I resoconti che ci sono pervenuti sono più
che altro aneddotici e caricaturali e rappresentano un uomo crudele, megalomane
Quello che si sa con certezza è che crebbe in un’atmosfera di
violenza, sospetto e delitti. Il padre fu assassinato, forse per
ordine di Tiberio, nel 19 d.C., il fratello Druso nel 23, il fratello Giulio
nel 31, la madre nel 33. Nel 27 fu mandato a vivere con la bisnonna
Livia e nel 29, dopo la morte di lei, con la nonna Antonia. Nel 31,
a richiesta dello zio, andò a vivere nella suntuosa villa di Tiberio
a Capri e lì visse fino a quando divenne imperatore.
Caligola entrò a Roma con grande trionfo il 28 marzo 37.
In principio agì con grande magnimità: diede doni di
denaro alle guardie pretorie, onori pubblici al padre ed altri parenti
defunti e distrusse le carte personali di Tiberio che avrebbero potuto
implicare molti personaggi importanti coinvolti nell’uccisione dei suoi
familiari. La sua popolarità fu immensa ma ebbe poca durata.
Recenti ricerche sembrano indicare che forse Caligola non era pazzo, ma
soltanto un giovane arrogante, egoista, sprezzante, senza tatto o esperienza,
posto in una posizione di illimitato potere.
Durante il suo impero la Mauretania fu annessa e riorganizzata in due
province, Erode Agrippa divenne re della Palestina, e gravi rivolte scoppiarono
tra i greci e gli ebrei in Alessandria, ma questi eventi non hanno ricevuto
molta attenzione. E’ risaputo invece che Caligola ebbe un affetto
incestuoso per la sorella Drusilla, che dopo la sua morte nel 38 fu consacrata
dea, la prima donna romana ad ottenere tale onore. Alcuni studiosi
pensano che forse Caligola voleva stabilire a Roma una dinastia di tipo
Tolemaico sposando la sorella.
Nel 39 condusse una campagna in Germania dove estinse una rivolta
e condannò a morte gli istigatori, tra cui il vedovo di Drusilla.
Nel 40 marciò con l’esercito prima in Gallia e poi in Britannia
e al suo ritorno volle che una statua in suo onore fosse eretta a Gerusalemme:
soltanto l’intervento del governatore della Siria e di Erode Agrippa riuscirono
a prevenirlo e ad impedire lo scoppio di una rivolta in Palestina che ciò
Fu assassinato dalle guardie pretorie nel 41 d.C. Aveva 28 anni.
(continua al prossimo numero)