When I was a young lad around 1958 or so, I saw my very first opera. I had heard opera music on old phonograph records my parents and grandparents owned (old 78s!), but I had never witnessed the full panoply of opera staging, acting and movement until I saw for the first time Amahl and the Night Visitors on TV. Yes, I said on TV and not a PBS station that one might expect today, but on a major network....NBC! Every Christmas since, I have remembered my fascination with that opera, and have tried to watch it when- ever it was broadcast. It whetted my appetite to attend other operas . . .
A previous ALLA CORRENTE celebrates Italian influences at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s elaborate home and grounds in Virginia. A part of the Italian influence there comes from one of the ancestors of a Cenacolista (a past-president and current treasurer)...David Giannini. His ancestor (Anthony Gi- annini) is mentioned in this piece that I have included. Whenever you visit Monticello, be sure to see the orchards and beautiful grounds that are a part of its landscape and recall that it was Italians who first laid these orchards out and thus added so much to the historic beauty of the place . . .
The first Italian feature of Thomas Jefferson’s orchard was the name he gave to its mountaintop site. By August 1767 he was using the name Monticello, which was both a place name and a noun meaning “small mountain" . . .
The next time you visit Washington, DC, take a look at some of the sites that city is famous for. Most Americans realize that the District of Columbia is named after Christopher Columbus, but few people know how great a role other Italians and their descendants played in fashioning the District’s classic architecture, including some of its impressive monuments, schools, churches and federal buildings . . .
“Opera, next to Gothic architecture, is one of the strangest inventions of western man. It could not have been foreseen by any logical process. Dr. Johnson’s much quoted definition, which as far as I can make out he never wrote, ‘an extravagant and irrational entertainment’, is perfectly correct; and at first it seems surpris- ing that it should have been brought to perfection in the age of reason . . ."
The Seghesio Story begins in 1886 when Edoardo Seghesio departed from his family’s vineyards in Piedmonte, italy. Like many immigrants, he was drawn to Northern Sonoma County and the italian Swiss Colony to follow his passion for winemaking. The “Colony,” as it was known then, hired immigrants for three-year stints, providing room and board, followed by a lump sum at the end of the three years enabling employees to buy land or set up a business in the area . .