I Narcisi Sono Sbocciati

Every year at this time I’m reminded of my Italian teacher Signora Spinelli. When I started visiting her DC apartment twice a week for my crash course in Italian, I spoke nary a word. She never spoke to me in English, and for months I thought my head would explode every time I went for a lesson. But eventually it all seeped in. That’s the way children learn language. Excruciating sometimes, but amazingly effective.

One of the first phrases I understood, oddly enough, was one that she uttered on March day in 1982. “I narcisi sono sbocciati” – the daffodils have bloomed. And indeed they had, in the spectacular way they do in Rock Creek Park.

Not a single spring has passed in the last 25 years that I haven’t uttered that phrase and thought of those Italian lessons. Full of tea and biscotti, and the reassuring murmurs of “bella e rotonda” as I passed through my first pregnancy. Resonating with cheers and murmured epithets as we listened to and critiqued the Saturday afternoon Met broadcasts. My Verdi and Puccini scores still carry the Italian-to-Italian translations that aided my progress from simple vocabulary to poetry.


I’m about to disappear into the springtime for two entire weeks. First of all, to ride my new bicycle and then sit for hours by the lake. Then, rested and refreshed, to embark on college visits with my son. I’ll be back the second week of April, and postings will resume with renewed vigor. In the meantime, feel free to surf the archives. If you’re looking for a place to start, scroll down. Ciao!


The Equation
When Grand Opera Isn’t
A Response: The End of The Great Big American Voice
Audition Tour: New York – Day 1
Repertoire & Casting
Unedited Audition Comments
The Bassi Speak
Living Dangerously: More Unedited Audition Comments
Yes / And
Applicant Screening: The First Round
Audition Tour 2007

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