1 ITALA GENTE DALLE MOLTE VITE IL CENACOLO ITALIAN CULTURAL CLUB Founded in 1928 Regular Thursday Meetings, Noon to 2:00 P.M. San Francisco Italian Athletic Club 1630 Stockton Street (3rd floor), San Francisco, CA Post Office Box , San Francisco CA JULY 2015 THURSDAY, JULY 2, 2015 No meeting in deference to the July 4th holiday. THURSDAY, JULY 9, 2015 Topic: Unclassified Mysteries of Life Onboard a US Navy Submarine Speaker: Mike Cataffo THURSDAY, JULY 16, 2015 Topic: Dress for Success at the SF Opera Costume Shop Speaker: Kristi Johnson THURSDAY, JULY 23, 2015 Topic: San Francisco Performances: At the Heart of the City s Music and Dance Speaker: Ruth A. Felt THURSDAY, JULY 30, 2015 Topic: An Introduction to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music: Its Mission, Programs, and Future Initiatives Speaker: David H. Stull This month s programs arranged by Bob Ryan and Chris Danesi.
2 FROM THE PROGRAM CHAIRMAN On Being Program Chairman During recent recruiting of new Board members, we found that some members expressed reluctance to join the Board out of concern for their duty to be monthly chairman and line up speakers. This is to alleviate some concerns. As Program Chairman, I maintain a list of potential speakers at all times anywhere between fifteen and twenty of them. I make it a point to interview them, to assess how well they may be of interest to our membership. These names are available to monthly chairmen who may choose to use them. On a personal note, I find that the greatest pleasure in serving on the Board is the opportunity to be the monthly chairman once a year. It allows me to plan a set of talks that focus on themes that interest me and that I hope will interest the membership. I prefer topics on Italian culture. I get to select speakers and interact with them, suggesting effective ways to present their ideas. In the process, I expand my knowledge and learn things I often knew nothing about. Alex Kugushev, Program Chairman A coffeehouse in London, 1710.
3 PROGRAM PROFILES THURSDAY, JULY 9, 2015 Topic: Unclassified Mysteries of Life Onboard a US Navy Submarine Speaker: Mike Cataffo Life on a submarine holds mysteries the stuff of novels and movies. Mike Cataffo will share with us his experiences on board an attack submarine. A rare opportunity. Mike Cataffo was born and raised in northern New Jersey and graduated from the Naval Academy in After graduation, Mike completed the rigorous submarine officer training including six weeks of Dive Training to be a Submarine Scuba qualified officer. Following training, he served for three years as a junior officer onboard the fast attack submarine, USS Honolulu (SSN-718), stationed in Pearl Harbor. During his tour, he held a number of technically demanding duties and achieved advanced qualifications as a submarine officer. After the Navy, Mike moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and has worked at two successful start-up companies. He is in the process of starting his own company which focuses on helping college graduates transition into the workforce. THURSDAY, JULY 16, 2015 Topic: Dress for Success at the SF Opera Costume Shop Speaker: Kristi Johnson Il Cenacolo has a long history of patronage and support of the San Francisco Opera, its great singers, impressive productions, and wonderful costumes. For decades, the San Francisco Opera has maintained its own Costume Shop a rarity in today s theatrical environment. This has ensured the highest standards and quality in the costumes that appear on the Opera House stage. Costume designer Kristi Johnson will give us a preview of costumes that will be seen in San Francisco Opera s fall season, and will also share insights into the recent world premiere of La Ciociara (Two Women). Ms. Johnson has worked with the San Francisco Opera as a costume production supervisor and assistant designer since Her most recent engagements with the Company include Two Women, Susannah, La Bohème, Rigoletto, Turandot, Don Giovanni, The Magic Flute, and Die Walküre, and she served as costume designer for the world premiere of The Secret Garden. She has also worked extensively with the Merola Opera Program and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music s opera program.
4 PROGRAM PROFILES THURSDAY, JULY 23, 2015 Topic: San Francisco Performances: At the Heart of the City s Music and Dance Speaker: Ruth A. Felt Ruth Felt will tell us about a keystone of the San Francisco s musical scene: San Francisco Performances. This non-profit organization, established in 1979, addresses the City s desire for a stable and innovative supply of high quality chamber music, vocal and instrumental recitals, jazz, and contemporary dance. The organization presents internationally acclaimed and emerging performing artists, introduces innovative programs; and, most enduringly, builds new and diversified audiences for the arts through education and outreach activities. It also strengthens the local performing arts community. San Francisco Performances has grown from presenting seven programs in its first season to its current 37th season, presenting over 170 performances by some of the world s most exceptional artists. All of that is due to the leadership and efforts of one person Ruth A. Felt. Ruth Felt founded and has been President of San Francisco Performances since Before founding San Francisco Performances, Ms. Felt was the Company Administrator for the San Francisco Opera Association from 1971 to 1979, working for Kurt Herbert Adler. Prior to that time, she served as Assistant Concert Manager for the UCLA Department of Fine Arts Productions for five years, and as an assistant in speechwriting in the Office of Hubert H. Humphrey, Vice President of the United States. A native of Willmar, Minnesota, Ms. Felt received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from UCLA in Ms. Felt has served on the Board of Directors for Chamber Music America and the International Society of the Performing Arts. She currently serves on the Advisory Boards for the San Francisco Community Music Center, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, and San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music. THURSDAY, JULY 30, 2015 Topic: An Introduction to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music: Its Mission, Programs, and Future Initiatives Speaker: David H. Stull Mr. Stull will present an overview of the significance and activities of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. For nearly a century, the Conservatory has provided an important component of educational and cultural life in San Francisco. The Conservatory trains and educates talented musicians and singers from around the world, and presents nearly 500 concerts annually (most of them free). Mr. Stull will share his ideas for future initiatives. David H. Stull became President of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music on July 1, 2013, having served previously as Dean of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music since Under his leadership at Oberlin, the Conservatory created an intensive entrepreneurship curriculum, numerous academic and experiential learning programs, and produced fully sponsored orchestral tours to Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Concert
5 PROGRAM PROFILES David H. Stull,... Hall and the People s Republic of China. He also launched a state-of-theart recording studio and record label and initiated a series of world-class recording projects, including a Grammy -nominated album. Recognizing the success of Oberlin s innovative academic programming and contributions to American education, President Barack Obama presented the Oberlin Conservatory of Music with the National Medal of Arts, which Dean Stull accepted on behalf of the institution in February Stull has been a guest speaker at institutions ranging from The Juilliard School to the Interlochen Arts Academy, most recently appearing at the Business Innovation Factory and the University of North Texas Leadership Conference. He has been heard on Public Radio International s From the Top, National Public Radio s Performance Today and on WCLV/WVIZ radio in Ohio. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Stull earned degrees in tuba performance and English literature at Oberlin College, and earned his MM at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
6 FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT July 2015 Summer Greetings to All! As summer begins, I want to extend good wishes to all members. I know that there are travel plans in progress for some. For those, we wish a safe and enjoyable journey. PROGRAMS AND SCHEDULES Many thanks to outgoing Board member Chris Danesi for an excellent lineup of speakers in June. Because of a schedule change, he switched one week with the July Chairman, Bob Ryan, who also has an intriguing list setup. There will be no meeting on July 2, due to the July 4th holiday. The first meeting in July will be Thursday, July 9. NO AUGUST MEETINGS Additionally, as is customary, there will be no meetings for the entire month of August. After that break, we will meet as usual every Thursday, beginning September 3. BOARD OF DIRECTORS We have two new members of the Board. They are Ken Sproul and Jonathan West. Neither has been a Board member before and we are looking forward to hearing their fresh ideas as we continue planning Il Cenacolo s future. Sincere thanks go to outgoing Board members Bill Nuerge and Chris Danesi for their tireless work and contributions. OPERA OUTING: September 13, 2015 Get ready! The 62 nd Sal Reina Opera Outing will take place on Sunday, September 13 at the Marin Art and Garden Center in Ross. There will be food, music and of course wine and special guests from the San Francisco Opera. Ron Derenzi and Don Lewis have planned a really nice day and we are looking forward to enjoying this new and very appealing venue. Look for your invitation in the mail soon and RSVP as soon as you can. Amicizia e divertimento per tutti! Chuck Stagliano, Il Presidente Marin Art and Garden Center, 30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Ross, CA
7 ALLA CORRENTE Giosuè Carducci ( ) In the May bulletin, Andy Canepa wrote an informative essay that discussed the source and meaning of Il Cenacolo s motto: itala gente dalle molte vite. The phrase came from an ode composed in 1897 by Giosuè Carducci entitled La Chiesa di Polenta (The Church of Polenta). Andy gave some interesting interpretations of the Italian phrase, pointing out how it is often difficult to translate phrases plucked from an original literary piece written 118 years ago. For the July bulletin, I thought it would be interesting to explore the life of the poet who wrote that ode, Giosuè Carducci. In addition to this, on July 27, we will celebrate his 180th birthday. (See the ode following, and note the phrases in red.) Giosuè Carducci was regarded as the official national poet of modern Italy. He also has the important distinction of being the first Italian literary artist to win the Nobel Prize for Literature (in 1906). As the Nobel award committee described in part its reasons for honoring him with this award: not only in consideration of his deep learning and critical research, but above all as a tribute to the creative energy, freshness of style, and lyrical force which characterize his poetic masterpieces. By the time he won the Nobel Prize, Carducci had firmly established himself as one of the world s most well-known and influential literary figures, with a large body of distinguished work and a long career of artistic achievement, political activism and religious agitation. He had published several volumes of poetry attracting worldwide critical acclaim. In addition, his prose writings including literary criticism, biographies, speeches and essays filled some 20 volumes. He had also been elected a Senator of Italy in 1890, and was voted a very substantial lifelong pension. The Nobel Prize was merely the capstone of a long, brilliant and highly successful life. Because of illness, he was unable to travel to Sweden to receive the award, but he gratefully accepted it in absentia. Giosuè Carducci was born in Valdicastello (part of Pietrasanta), a small town in the Province of Lucca in the northwest corner of Tuscany on July 27, His father, a doctor, was an advocate of the unification of Italy and was involved with the Carbonari. Because of his father s radical republican politics, the family was forced to move several times during Carducci s childhood, most of which was spent in the wild Maremma region of southern Tuscany. Eventually, the family finally settled for a few years in Florence. From an early age, guided by his politically active father, he learned Latin and Greek, and studied the Iliad and classical works of Homer. He also energetically read the works of the famous Italian poet, Giacomo Leopardi ( ). So, from the time he was in college, he was fascinated with the restrained style of Greek and Roman antiquity, and his mature work reflects a restrained classical style, often using the classical meters of such Latin poets as Horace and Virgil. He also translated Book 9 of Homer s Iliad into Italian. In 1856, he graduated from the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa and began teaching school. The following year, he published his first collection of poems, Rime (1857). These were difficult years for Carducci, not only because of the death of his father, but also because of his brother s suicide. In 1859, he married Elvira Menicucci, and during their married years they had four children. He briefly taught Greek at a high school in Pistoia, and then, in 1860, was appointed Italian Professor at the university in Bologna. Carducci held this position for more than 40 years. He was a popular lecturer and a fierce critic of literature and society. One of his students was Giovanni Pascoli, who became a poet himself and later succeeded Carducci at the university.
8 ALLA CORRENTE Carducci was an avowed and vocal atheist whose political and artistic views were consistently opposed to Christianity generally and especially to the secular power of the Catholic Church in particular. He was a strong proponent and advocate of the Risorgimento and became a major supporter of the republican cause and opponent of the Church s attempts to weaken and destroy the unification efforts. He said in later years, summarizing this strongly held position of his professional and literary life: I know neither truth of God nor peace with the Vatican or any priests. They are the real and unaltering enemies of Italy. This period was a time of revolution in Italy as republicans, inspired and assisted by revolutionary France, struggled to throw off the old tyrannical Hapsburg order and unite and democratize Italy s many separate feudal states and kingdoms. By the mid-1860s, after years of civil war and political struggle, most of the Italian peninsula had been united under a constitutional republican monarchy. However, one of the last vestiges of tyrannical domination on the Italian peninsula was the direct political control of Rome and surrounding regions by the Pope. With the military backing of Hapsburg Austria, the Pope held direct secular political power over the Italian provinces known as the Papal States. Naturally, the anti-clerical freethinkers among the republicans found tyrannical rule by the papacy to be as unacceptable as, or even worse than, that by unelected, hereditary nobles. Both impeded human progress by locking power in the hands of those who were long on hereditary or ecclesiastical connections and short on any actual demonstrated merit or ability. In his youth and in the early years of his appointment at Bologna, Carducci was the center of a group of young men determined to overthrow the prevailing Romanticism in literary form and to return to classical models of literary form. Giuseppe Parini, Vincenzo Monti, and Ugo Foscolo were his masters, and their influence is evident in his first books of poems, Rime (1857) [later collected in Juvenilia (1880)] and Levia Gravia (Light and Serious Poems) (1868). Carducci showed both his great power as a poet and his republican, anticlerical feeling in his Inno a Satana (Hymn to Satan) (1863), and in his Giambi ed Epodi (Iambics and Epodes) ( ), which are chiefly inspired by contemporary politics. The violent, bitter language emphatically reflects Carducci s virile, rebellious character. His anti-clerical revolutionary zeal is prominently showcased in one of his most famous poems, the deliberately blasphemous and provocative Inno a Satana (Hymn to Satan). The poem was composed in 1863 as a toast at a dinner party, and was published in It was republished in 1869 by Bologna s radical newspaper, Il Popolo, as a provocation timed to coincide with the First Vatican Ecumenical Council ( ), a time when revolutionary fervor directed against the papacy was running high as republicans were pressing both politically and militarily for an end of the Vatican s domination over the Papal States under the military support of the Austrian Hapsburgs. Reaction to the reappearance of the controversial poem was quite strong. Even some of Carducci s fellow republicans publicly distanced themselves from embracing Satan along with the poet even if they were opposed to the Pope. Moderate newspapers excoriated Carducci for potentially harming the republican cause with such blasphemous and inflammatory writings. But the republican cause was triumphant, and in 1870, Hapsburg Austrian military support for the Pope collapsed and republican troops marched into Rome, ending by force the papacy s secular political control of the region, except for the Vatican city-state proper. It is quite likely that, as they took the city, at least some of the republican troops had Inno a Satana fresh in their minds. While Inno a Satana was extremely effective as a political device, it was not considered by scholars and critics or even by Carducci himself to be great art. Rime Nuove (The New Lyrics) (1887) and Odi Barbare (The Barbarian Odes) (1877) contain the best of Carducci s poetry: the evocations of the Maremma landscape
9 ALLA CORRENTE and the memories his childhood; the lament for the loss of his only son; the representation of great historical events; and the ambitious attempts to recall the glory of Roman history and the pagan happiness of classical civilization. Like Carducci s politics, these more advanced poems became revolutionary as well. He was not afraid to undertake bold, daring adventures in his works. Odi Barbare, in particular, included brilliant, ground-breaking innovations. Carducci reintroduced old classical Latin poetry styles and meters, especially those of Horace and Virgil, into contemporary Italian-language works. This adaptation of ancient technique to new Italian recalled the pace and flavor of Homer and Virgil and was Carducci s way of honoring both classicism and paganism. It was also an attack on two things he abhorred: the Romanticism in contemporary poetry and the Christianity in contemporary society. Indeed, all of Carducci s work extolled Italian hope and Roman glory and was an assertion of classic reason as opposed to Romantic mysticism and Roman Catholic piety. Carducci was also an excellent translator and translated some of Goethe and Heine into Italian. He also wrote scathing reviews of what he considered trite sentimentalism in the gushing, unoriginal Romantic poetry being churned out and lauded by his contemporaries. His best prose works were equal to his poetry in creativity and expression. Some of these include: The Development of a National Literature, The Varying Fortunes of Dante, and Essay on Petrarch. His poetic imagination and style influenced these pieces just as they did his poetry. Carducci s Nobel Diploma These literary works reflected a courageous move on his part. To undertake such radical innovation in his own work and to so harshly criticize the popular Romantics, Carducci certainly showed he was willing to risk attracting condemnation that could hamper his popularity and his career. But, just as he had helped republican efforts to liberate Italian political life from royalist Hapsburg and Papal domination, Carducci also lead the liberation of Italian poetry from sentimental Romanticism, while at the same time offering it the innovation of his re-introduction of the meters of the classics. This was the cutting-edge artistry that brought him the Nobel Prize. Carducci died in Bologna on February 16, 1907 after a long illness. Fittingly, the Museum of the Risorgimento in Bologna is housed in the Casa Carducci, the house where he died at the age of 71, and contains exhibits detailing the author s life and works. Casa Carducci, Bologna Adapted by James J. Boitano, PhD from Encyclopedia Britannica (on-line edition), Nobelprize.org, and Wikipedia (both English and Italian versions).
10 ALLA CORRENTE La chiesa di Polenta Agile e solo vien di colle in colle quasi accennando l ardüo cipresso. Forse Francesca temprò qui li ardenti occhi al sorriso? E surse ella che ignoti servi morian tra la romana plebe quei che fûr poscia i Polentani e Dante fecegli eterni. Sta l erta rupe, e non minaccia : Forse qui Dante inginocchiossi? in alto guarda, e ripensa, il barcaiol, torcendo l ala de remi in fretta dal notturno Adrïa: sopra fuma il comignol del villan, che giallo mesce frumento nel fervente rame là dove torva I aquila del vecchio Guido covava. Ombra d un fiore è la beltà, su cui bianca farfalla poesia volteggia: eco di tromba che si perde a valle è la potenza. Fuga di tempi e barbari silenzi vince e dal flutto de le cose emerge sola, di luce a secoli affluenti faro, I idea. L alta fronte che Dio mirò da presso chiusa entro le palme, ei lacrimava il suo bel San Giovanni; e folgorante il sol rompea da vasti boschi su I mar. Del profugo a la mente ospiti batton lucidi fantasmi dal paradiso: mentre, dal giro de brevi archi l ala candida schiusa verso l orïente, giubila il salmo In exitu cantando Israel de Aegypto. Itala gente da le molte vite, dove che albeggi la tua notte e un ombra vagoli spersa de vecchi anni, vedi ivi il poeta. Ecco la chiesa.
11 ALLA CORRENTE Ma su dischiusi tumuli per quelle chiese prostesi in grigio sago i padri, sparsi di turpe cenere le chiome nere fluenti, al bizantino crocefisso, atroce ne gli occhi bianchi livida magrezza, chieser mercé de l alta stirpe e de la gloria di Roma. Da i capitelli orride forme intruse a le memorie di scalpelli argivi, sogni efferati e spasimi del bieco settentrïone, imbestïati degeneramenti de l oriente, al guizzo de la fioca lampada, in turpe abbracciamento attorti, zolfo ed inferno goffi sputavan su la prosternata gregge: di dietro al battistero un fulvo picciol cornuto diavolo guardava e subsannava. fuoco saetta ed il furor d Odino su le arridenti di due mari a specchio moli e cittadi a Enogiseo le braccia bianche porgenti. Ahi, ahi! Procella d ispide polledre àvare ed unne e cavalier tremendi sfilano: dietro spigolando allegra ride la morte. Gesú, Gesú! Spalancano la tetra bocca i sepolcri: a venti a nembi al sole piangono rese anch esse de beati màrtiri l ossa. E quel che avanza il Vínilo barbuto, ridiscendendo da i castelli immuni, sparte reliquie, cenere, deserto con l alabarda. Schiavi percossi e dispogliati, a voi oggi la chiesa, patria, casa, tomba, Fuori stridea per monti e piani il verno de la barbarie. unica avanza : qui dimenticate, qui non vedete. Rapido saetta nero vascello, con i venti e un dio ch ulula a poppa, E qui percossi e dispogliati anch essi i percussori e spogliatori un giorno vengano.
12 ALLA CORRENTE Come ne la spumeggiante vendemmia il tino ferve, e de colli italici la bianca uva e la nera calpestata e franta Ave Maria! Quando su l aure corre I umil saluto, i piccioli mortali scovrono il capo, curvano la fronte Dante ed Aroldo. sé disfacendo il forte e redolente vino matura; qui, nel conspetto a Dio vendicatore e perdonante, vincitori e vinti, quei che al Signor pacificò, pregando, Una di flauti lenta melodia passa invisibil fra la terra e il cielo: spiriti forse che furon, che sono e che saranno? Teodolinda, quei che Gregorio invidïava a servi ceppi tonando nel tuo verbo, o Roma, memore forza e amor novo spiranti fanno il Comune. Un oblio lene de la faticosa vita, un pensoso sospirar quïete, una soave volontà di pianto I anime invade. Salve, affacciata al tuo balcon di poggi tra Bertinoro alto ridente e il dolce pian cui sovrasta fino al mar Cesena donna di prodi, Taccion le fiere e gli uomini e le cose, roseo I tramonto ne l azzurro sfuma, mormoran gli alti vertici ondeggianti Ave Maria. salve, chiesetta del mio canto! A questa madre vegliarda, o tu rinnovellata itala gente da le molte vite, rendi la voce de la preghiera: la campana squilli ammonitrice : il campanil risorto canti di clivo in clivo a la campagna Ave Maria. Giosuè Carducci Luglio 1897