Breaking the Language Barrier with the Italian Club

by christian.anderson

From the beginning of opera with Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo to the height of versimo opera with Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, the Italian language has permeated the art form. Its mellifluous flow defines theatrical romance language. Friday, September 19th, patrons eagerly arrived at the doors of the prominent Italian Club of Dallas, hoping to get a taste of the language that has illustrated the life of opera.

“Buon giorno!!”


“Come stai?”

“Abbastanza bene. E tu?”

“Cosí cosí.”

These were just a handful of basic Italian phrases that Professoressa Emmanuella Errico aptly taught a crowd of sixteen Dallas residents. For most of the attendees, it was their first exposure to the language. A few Spanish speakers in the class were easily able to converse, while a couple of Italian-speaking patrons were able to eloquently recite the given exercises. Professoressa Errico provided a challenge for all who attended, regularly inviting questions and promoting discussion and laughter.

In the next portion of the class, the group teamed up to translate a synopsis of Puccini’s La Boheme. Enthusiasm grew as each person recited, then attempted to translate their assigned line of Italian. It was clear, from the constant scribbling of notes and the silent attentiveness of the participants, that there was a real passion for learning. After one class, one would not be able to understand an entire opera without the aid of supertitles. It’s evident, though, that through the excitement of the participants and the expertise of Professoressa Errico, fluency of the language was right around the corner.

Jonathan Morales – The Dallas Opera

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