Yesterday morning I arrived at mass early. They usually print very few copies of the prayers and readings for the day, and I worry that if I get there late I won’t have a copy. It was almost 10 and the church was filling up, when from outside I heard the sound of drums. A marching band was approaching! Yesterday was a special event for some sort of group (it seemed like a labor organization or workers’ guild), and the festivities began with the band accompanying some dignitaries to the church. I wasn’t able to figure out who the muckymucks were, but their red white and green sashes made them look important. I assume the event was meant to complement yesterday’s Gospel (Come to me all who labor and are heavy burdened...). The parish had tried to step-up the music, with guitar and choir instead of the one woman who screams a cappella, but the music was actually worse than usual. (Is this an appropriate place for a Liturgy Arts Group shout-out, Mike? There it is!)
After church I had a lazy afternoon, which is a rare occasion both in Europe and in the United States. After doing the same today, this Italian custom of taking a riposa in the afternoon is starting to grow on me.
I needed the rest today because we got in from opening night of Bohème at about 2 am. We opened in Santarcangelo, a gorgeous small town close to the sea. Santarcangelo is a little more developed than Novafeltria, a little more wealthy, and self-consciously pretty. Someone clearly put some effort into making it look beautiful, and it seems tourist-friendly. The venue was supposedly air conditioned, but I was remined of my summers at the Macaroni Grill, when the AC was on full blast and we still has sweat running down our legs.
I watched the show from the house with Katrina, and we had a long time to wait between the house opening and curtain. She read, and I wrote, and afterward I decided to strike up a conversation with the person next to me.
We three chatted in Italian for a while: about Santarcangelo, opera, our program of study, and especially about i giovani (the young people). Apparently Katrina and I are the exception to the rule when it comes to giovani, because we like opera, we don’t dress in all black, we are happy, and we don’t have un sacco dei problemi (yeah right, Mister. I’ve got way more than a sacco). He was deeply pessimistic about “kids these days”.
He then encroached on my personal space and spent most of Act 4 shifting his attention between my face and my lap. Because I don’t know how to say “Sorry I don’t date guys with dentures” in Italian, I busted out of there after bows.
When the cast came on at the top of the show I got a little verklempt. This has been a very intense process, and even though I haven’t sung a note at rehearsals, I have been present as the whole thing came together. I was really proud of my new friends and (no surprise!) became very emotional.
This morning was tough but I was determined to go to class. I was a little late and was only the second one there. Lots of folks have quit going to class, but I figure with just one week left I should just soldier on (or keep muddling through, as mom would say. Hi Mom!) When I had finished an in-class assignment I pulled out my notebook and began writing this post. My teacher teased me for writing in English and not in Italian. Even when I explained what I was writing, and that my audience doesn’t read Italian, she persisted. So who knows? Felice Mi Fa: Edizione Italiana may soon be coming to an internet near you!