“I am most passionate about bringing my knowledge [of tasting] to consumers, “said an enthusiastic Orietta Gianjorio, a native Italian from Rome,...
While the rest of the country struggles with a seemingly relentless series of winter storms, snow and ice, San Diego finally experienced its own version of winter this past weekend. Gusts of wind and heavy - by San Diego standards - rainfall caused most people to batten down the hatches and stay indoors for the majority of the weekend.
Not everyone, though.
There were those who decided to brave the storm and bluster to gather at the Convivio Center last Saturday evening for a screening of Carlos Sauro's 2009 film "Io, Don Giovanni." The Italian film, subtitled in English, tells the story of opera librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte as he works with Mozart to create the world-renowned opera "Don Giovanni."
Convivio has hosted these movie nights in partnership with Cinema Little Italy since the center opened seven months ago, according to Convivio Executive Director and Founder Tom Cesarini.
"We've done probably one every couple of months...[The films] are all Italian with English subtitles and we show a variety of different films."
Giuseppe 'Joe' Annino, director of Cinema Little Italy, is responsible for film selection for both Convivio's movie nights and his own organization's Outdoor Summer Film Festival.
"I go to Venice to the film festival every year, so I see a lot of Italian films," Annino said. "I also have friends in the industry now and they tell me whenever there's a good movie around."
Dr. Nick Reveles of San Diego Opera was also in attendance to introduce the film and give his thoughts on both the film and Italian opera.
"I'm passionate about [opera]," he explained. "There's something mysterious that happens when music and text meet and after studying it for 35 years, I'm still not sure what it is, but I'm absolutely passionate about it. It reveals something about the human spirit; opera is like no other art form in that music gives a depth to the text that it wouldn't have standing alone, by itself. And I find that fascinating."
In Reveles's address to the audience prior to the screening of the film, he said that his favorite opera character of all time "is not Don Giovanni or Rigoletto or Violetta or Calaf or Aida," Reveles said. "It's Lorenzo Da Ponte. And he's not an opera character, but he wrote brilliant opera characters for the stage."
Reveles explained that Lorenzo Da Ponte was born Emanuele Canegliano, the eldest son of Geronimo Canegliano who converted his family from Judaism to Catholicism in order to remarry after Emanuele's mother passed away. As was custom in that time, Emanuele took the name of the Bishop that brought him into the Church and so, at the age of 15, Emanuele Canegliano became Lorenzo Da Ponte.
Da Ponte's life took him from Venice to Vienna to London to New York, where he passed away in 1839 at the age of 89.
"He was a very frustrated man; he died thinking he made no impact on the world of opera or the world of the arts at all," Reveles said in conclusion. "He would be delighted, I think, today, to look back on his life and see that we still revere the three works that he wrote with the great master Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart."