Saturday, July 30, 2011

Pagliacci, Pompeii, e piu!

The last week has been quite eventful and fun and piu! (piu= a little more/anymore) Friday I went to Teatro di San Carlo (again, the OLDEST opera house in the world!!!) and saw Leoncavallo's Pagliacci. While I do understand a lot of the Italian language now (after two months of studying it, I certainly should understand it!), I had no idea what was going on for the majority of the show. All I can say for sure, the clown got mad and killed everyone, then said "The comedy is finished." That was our clue that the show was over. (In comedies, you know it is over when everyone is married; in tragedies, everyone dies- quite Shakespearean). Despite not understanding it, I enjoyed it very much! It was beautifully sung, staged (the show included a ballet company, adding a real acrobatic level to the circus setting), and acted.

That alone would have been enough adventure for one week, but the adventures were just beginning! My friend from Oberlin-In-Italy-2011, Caitlin, visited us for three days, and she and I went to Pompeii together. Never before have I been in such a place! To see a preserved city was very humbling and the very definition of the word awesome. Pompeii is very huge, and a lovely place to just wander, which is what we did. I kept imagining the stories that happened in this place. What kind of person lived here? What did this shop sell? How did he feel when he died? The possibilities are endless, and we'll never know what the lives there were like. Getting to Pompeii and being there took up the entire day, and it was something I enjoyed and might do again.

Not only do I live in Napoli, I live in Lago Patria, a lovely little town with our own beach. That's right, I live one mile from the beach. At this beach we can see Ischia and Capri, two islands of Campagna (our region of the country). After Pagliacci and Pompeii, a full day at the beach was quite appreciated and lovely!

Two weeks left in Italia for me....I hope to have several more adventures before my time is up!
Buon giorno tutti! <3

Friday, July 22, 2011

Miei Amici

One of my defining qualities is that I'm quite a social person. When I go on trips or see friends I love to have pictures with them; these are the memories I treasure and look back on often. Remember the old days of printed photos? Remember film? In my home in Alabama we have a box of old photos. Hours can be lost when I decide to go through the box and peruse the captured moments. When there is a friend in the picture, the moments are all the more treasured.

On my trip (where I went to Milano, Arezzo, Firenze, e Cortona), I met some wonderful people! I am so grateful! These friends came from all over the world, and somehow our journeys meshed in this beautiful land we call Italia. I treasure my friends, and can't wait to make new ones.

My friends had a little going away dinner with me :) 

At first I quite disliked this picture of myself, but my friends all loved it for one reason: that is me. I am the girl who laughs with my whole body and this picture captured the energy and love of us all.

My bello neighbor Eder, after we decided to take a random walk one evening (so we are tired and on the metro in this picture)

 My dear friend Julia and I at La Giostra!!!

In front of the Duomo: Jackie, Julia, and Me

My darling roommate Sophia and I in the theatre before the opera

Emily and I before performing Radamisto 

More pictures to come :)

A Little Tease

The best part of studying in Arezzo was the end- getting to perform in Arezzo! We sang in a beautiful museum courtyard complete with columns and an open sky. My opera was Handel's Radamisto, and I sang the part of the queen Polissena. For those that didn't see the show, or saw it and couldn't understand ( is complex), my husband Tiridate is trying to take over my brother's, Radamisto, kingdom, and has fallen in love with my brother's wife Zenobia. In our scene Tiridate is choosing to not surrender, and the rest of us are trying to figure out what to do. Emotions are running high, and you can see we are all considering the stakes and future!

Here are some pictures from our scene: (Photography by Lana Austin who can be seen at her blog )

I truly loved playing this character and would love to explore it more; maybe someday in the future I can do Radamisto again.

If I ever acquire a copy of the video I promise to post that too. Handel's harmonies are quite glorious and I loved singing in them.
Buon giorno amici! <3

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

For more stuffs :)

Please drop by and visit Lana Austin's Blog Motif for more pictures of Arezzo, Firenze, and other lovely Italian things and places!

Side note- She's my loving wonderful mother whom I love and adore :)
Thanks ya'll! Ciao amici!

Mia Vita Bella

Ciao! Io tornata a Blogger ;)
I have so many stories to do I go about writing it all? Thank goodness for pictures! The instant memory capturing device saves us for sure.
With only four weeks left in Napoli I feel anxious and excited. I want to see more of Napoli, and plan to definitely, but I will be quite happy to be home when the time comes. I'm gonna make the most of this last month!
Looking back on all that has happened this summer, I am comfortably saying that Arezzo is my favorite city in Italia (mio preferisco!!!), and Cortona is second. Milano would be third.
Let's discuss Cortona. If you can handle a long bus ride up a windy mountain, let me rephrase that- Up up up up a wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinding spinning circle-y mountain, then the city is well worth visiting. You can walk from  one end of the city to the other side in less than 20 minutes. But even though it is small in size, I went back several times and loved it each time. I never got bored or tired. How could I? The view from above is amazing, and the people there are quite lovely. I think they love getting the chance to practice their English while you practice your Italian. If you are feeling tired, or sorry for yourself, take a walk through Cortona.Get a grasp on perspective- you're in Italy! And not just anywhere in Italy, but lovely Tuscan Italy.

If the small loving size of Cortona or Arezzo is not enough for you, try Firenze; a lovely touristy big city. Honestly, there were too many Americans there for my enjoyment. No offense to my nationality, but I don't travel to see my people. I travel to experience the wonder of a new culture, and to learn about life outside of my comfort zone.

A few things this year has taught me:
*I love traveling and want to travel so so so much more. I have been bitten by the travel bug (yes, I made that up).
*I have fallen deeply and passionately in love with music, specifically opera. I want to fight for that and make it my life. Music truly has captivated me in a way I never thought possible.
*There is a difference between a metro and a bus...yes, some things have humbled me....
*It's ok to ask for help. Again, humility to be learned.
*You can learn new things every day, and really should try to be open to new experiences. Be open in general!
*God really does have a plan, and we should give Him more credit for that. He knows what He is doing ;)

Of course I learned a lot more than just that. Those are the things off the top of my head!

More stories and pictures soon :) I plan on seeing Pompeii, Spaccanapoli, and possibly some other neat Neopolitan places!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Tale of a Dinner in Arezzo

Arezzo, mi manchi! Milano, mi manchi! Time for one last month here in Napoli. I cannot believe I've been here for 5 months! Incredible! My life has changed, I've met such neat people, and had fun in every place!

When I lived in Arezzo I had the amazing opportunity to see a historical event- La Giostra di Arezzo! Yes, I saw a real legit joust!!!! What was neat about MY experience was I went to the joust dinner the night before! It was neat and special because typically Americans are not allowed to attend this, and it is an all Italian event. How lucky am I?! We learned drinking/game songs from the Italians, enjoyed several courses of a lovely meal, and enjoyed the energy building up before the joust!

A nice little waiter decided to steal our photo ;) 

Aw muaw!

 Aw, they wanted to dance :)

He taught us the songs that basically say "the other team plays like ----" ;)

Yum yum yum food! Just ONE of the many plates we had!

This night was super duper fun, and we met some very interesting people. The funny thing about Arezzo, because of its small size, we ran into several of those people again! 
Mi mancha Arezzo!!! <3

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Mamma Mia!!!!!

Ciao tutti!
I cannot believe how long it has been since I have blogged last. I promise I have not forgotten the blog world; I have been immersed in opera world. I spent the month of June in Arezzo taking Oberlin Conservatory's Italy program. So so so much has happened, and my life truly has changed. How? I fell into a deep passionate love with music, and am now working harder than ever. But, I feel more joy than ever too! Music makes my day worth waking up for. I'm at the point where I'm excited to practice!

And what better place to practice music than Italia? Mi piace!!!

More stories and pictures to come! Buongiorno amici!
-Tuo Alessandra Anne <3

Friday, May 27, 2011

Fine Settimana Tre??? AHHHH!

I'm 3/4 of the way through with my stay in Milano! That's crazy!!!!! I'm excited for Arezzo, but am just now getting the hang of Milano and wish I could have more time. Sort of. Mixed emotions here!

Yesterday was a lovely lovely day which I spent with my classmate, the bella Fiammetta, and we walked around the city just taking our time and enjoying the sunny day! We even met some Americans who were touring through Europe for study abroad, and they took our picture after we took theirs. Lovely!

Today was also a neat day because I found a piano practice room that looked really neat (even had chandeliers!). I enjoyed my voice and composition practice!

The best part was definitely playing on a Steinway. *HUGE GRIN*

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Una giornata a Milano...

Spontaneous, spur of the moment, and last minute; these are all things that do not describe me nor work well with me. I learned that yesterday! BUT, despite things not working out to my "last minute planning," by being open minded I was able to experience other things that could not have been planned or scheduled.

We started class with a new teacher, Irene, who's energy and enthusiasm reminds me of watching Cecilia Bartoli sing live. We also learned that one of our classmates, a young Brazillian guy, well, his version of paradise is ragazze!! (Young women!) That was just one of the many amusing and sometimes awkward subjects covered yesterday, but all of which were enjoyable, and I definitely learned so much in one class! I didn't know what to expect with a new teacher, but I think I like her and will continue to like her for the next two weeks of class.

I attempted to go downtown to find a practice room, but to no avail. (You know you're in Italy when all the pianos are being used and you hear opera in each room!) So I began walking back, planning on stopping at Porta Genova (a metro station that takes you to the part of town that looks like mini-Venice!). I'm walking my normal route back, and I spot a chandelier (ahh yes, my chandelier addiction is one for the books). I think "oooh! This is definitely picture worthy!" I pull out my camera and...internal memory full....I had left my memory card in the computer back at the apartment....really??? So much for walking around to take pictures.... However, on my walk back, I discovered another metro stop, saving me some walking! So I went down there, and had a few minutes to wait and was able to sit down. While sitting down, three people walked by me; one man was singing opera (or at least classically)!! I had to smile, and may have even chuckled. Then he gave me a greeting in Italian, and I laughed again. I suddenly appreciated the timing of my day, and realized that it worked out just right, even if it wasn't what I had originally planned.

All of this can happen on a day in Milan, if you just let it happen to you.
Ciao ciao!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

La vita in Milano (settimana due) e bene!

Is it possible that two weeks have gone by? Really? And that means only two weeks are left here.
My week was pretty uneventful until the end, but that's ok. I love that if I keep my mind open then neat things can happen. I just need to not be an over-planner, and attempt to predict every minute of my life. It's more fun to leave it open!

Friday's Italian class was fun and bittersweet because it meant saying farewell to our awesome teacher Simone. (Every two weeks the teachers rotate, so tomorrow we get a new one- yikes!) Class was fun because it was the most relaxed, and we played educational games which were quite enjoyable.

After classes were done I desperately needed laundry (I must've over packed if I could last two weeks without repeating outfits...), so my neighbor and I went to find a laundromat! This was completely new to me, AND in Italian, but I actually had fun and got clean clothes. Win-win right?

I can now officially say I have successfully done my own laundry all by myself in a foreign country. (And for you Firefly fans, yes, I'm wearing a Jaynestown t-shirt). I also got some lovely exercise and sun too!
Today was the other eventful/fun day of my week: I went on a coffee date with my classmate Emma! We met at Porta Genova (trying to find a cafe, but to no avail), but I foolishly attempted wearing my high heels. My poor feet couldn't take it, so we detoured and stopped by my apartment so I could change shoes. Then we looked for a place to sit and drink around my area. I had never ventured past our school (as far as my side of town, I've gone to other sides), so we looked for a place near there- it was so lovely! It looked like Mini-Venice with water and bridges between the streets. 

Bellissima. We eventually found an OPEN place to drink (Sundays mid-afternoon, most things are sad!) called Bordo Cafe- a nice clean spot with refreshing beverages! After my coffee we stayed and were still talking, so we decided water was a must. I am always surprised by how refreshing and wonderful water is when a slice of lemon is in it! 
So we're talking, and suddenly....we see zombies... We had seen them earlier at the metro where we met, but this time we got up close with the undead. I'm serious. We quickly left our seats to photograph them, and they loved loved loved the attention. As soon as I pulled out my camera, three or four zombies circled around me and moaned in that stereotypical zombie way.

That was an interesting interlude to our afternoon! But I was quite amused, and honestly laughed when they circled around me. All in all, my day was a perfect ending to a nice week. I wonder what week three will bring! 

Ciao ciao! <3

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Milano Setimana Una

Week One in Milan!!

I have officially moved into an apartment (by myself, yikes!), started an Italian language class, been to La Scala, seen the Duomo, gotten lost, had fun, and learned so so so much! All in just one week!
My arrival was Sunday May 8, 2011, and I arrived by train. I learned the lovely fact, afterwards of course, that the train station has elevators...because my trip is for 9 weeks, I have two huge suitcases, and well...I tried to carry them down a huge flight of stairs. I quite literally fell on my behind, BUT managed to keep my legs together. I was proud of myself for the ladylike manner in which I took it.
After walking around trying to find my driver, I enjoyed the lovely air conditioned car ride to my apartment (Via Cezanne). In this apartment I have my own room, share a bathroom, and eat dinner with the owner Bruna. I have a "neighbor" (he is across the hall, not 20 feet away, so neighbor is a loose term, but roommate would be too close a term), Eder from Brazil. And there is a man, Bacia, who lives upstairs. It is a nice group of people in this apartment, and we all get along quite well.

Scuola!!!!!!!!!!! On Monday I walked to my first class and started Italian language!! My insegnante (teacher) is Simone, a  nice young man who wears Converse, has a pierced ear, and draws the Simpsons to teach us a new word.

Class was a little overwhelming the first few days, but eventually, after study and patience, I have almost caught up with the rest of the class! I am getting to the point where I can listen to someone talk in Italian, and understand so much more of it now. It is a neat experience that I can't really put into words.

My classmates are huge part of why I like my class- I love learning, and I love having someone to help me out  when I don't understand. I am the only American in my class, but it is so neat to me that I am in a room with so many different nationalities: Russia, Australia, Taiwan, Slovakia, Brazil, Korea, Columbia, Germany, etc! Thankfully for me, everyone mostly speaks English as a second language (which amazes me, because that means that Italian is their third language!!). We all help each other out, and make a blend of languages with English-Italian-and various hand motions. I had a lovely time bonding with my classmates outside of school when the school took us to "Old Fashion Cafe" to celebrate International week. The night we went, Wednesday, was American night! That means, of course, that they played crummy American pop music for dancing. But we made the most of it and had fun talking and dancing (I never did get around to the food). It was a neat experience that I had never had before.

Friday I had to go downtown for my music composition class (voice lesson was the day before, also downtown), and afterward, because the school had arranged a tour of it, I walked to the renowned opera house: La Scala!!! I loved it so much!! I was giddy like a school girl seeing all the music, costumes, chandeliers, etc. 

They wouldn't allow us to take photos of the inside theatre/performance room, which stinks because that had the hugest chandelier and lovely red seats. Oh well. I can't wait to go back again and maybe catch a show!
On my walk back, I went a different route, through one of the gallerias (a mall with amazing architecture) and at the exit of the galleria I saw....the Duomo!!!!

So cool! And......big!! Bellisima e grande!The second oldest church in Europe!!!!!!!!!!!!

This has been a pretty good recap of my first week living alone (ever) in Milan (so cool!). Three more weeks here! to Arezzo for Oberlin's Italy program. In the meantime I am attempting to learn Handel's Radamisto, in the role of Polissena. I'm quite excited to be in a show again!! My life is so blessed. Grazie mille!! <3
Ciao ciao.