Our kids are away, visiting their grandparents in Britain. As they’re adults now, and as we’ve done the same trip each year for a quarter of a century, we decided to let them go on their own.
I had in mind a reduction in the number of meals to cook and dishes to wash, in what is a very hot period of the year here in Bologna. But also, maybe, the chance to do fun things ourselves – maybe eat out, at least.
We’re a little tied down when it comes to travel because of our Italian school (someone has to be there on reception, Monday morning thru Friday lunchtime), but we managed a nice weekend at the seaside, a visit to a museum – that was yesterday, and I’ll write about it some other time – and, on one memorable evening, a visit to our local opera house!
Stefi had been once before, as one of the teachers at the school had an ‘abbonamento’ (= ‘season ticket’, also used to mean ‘subscription’, as for a newspaper or magazine) but couldn’t go to one performance, so offered my wife use of the ticket.
Ever since, she’s been nagging me to come with her, even threatening to go alone! Mostly, I was like ‘You go, my love, do. And have a nice time!’, but she didn’t get around to it for some reason – perhaps because of the cost.
But then the kids were due to go away, and things did seem that they’d be a little quiet at home without them, and that we’d have to learn to appreciate each other’s company. So I quit resisting and said ‘va bene’ to Tosca at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna.
There was some debate about what I should wear – not short trousers, apparently, and definitely a shirt not a tshirt. Something clean, too.
Also, the performance was scheduled to begin at eight, which meant we had to leave home at seven, so miss dinner. ‘We’ can get crabby when ‘we’re’ hungry, so I made sure to organise an ‘aperitivo’ with accompanying snacks, before going in search of suitable long pants.
By way of preparation for the big event, over the previous couple of evenings we’d watched a Youtube version of the opera, which my smartphone was able to broadcast to the TV in our living room.
So anyway, this morning I was looking for an ‘eBook of the Week’ promotional idea, remembered our outing towards the end of July (the kids get home tomorrow morning, by the way…), and decided to choose Tosca.
See below for details of the half-price Ebook offer. But no need to buy anything if you’d prefer not to. You could just do as we did, and watch it, for FREE on Youtube (though both of us had read the ebook first – she recorded the audio, and I did the proof-reading – it does help!)
There are various Tosca options on Youtube, but below are links to the version I selected for us, with Italian subtitles, and the same thing with English subtitles.
You could look at them both, maybe, or choose the one you prefer. Hours of fun! We did the version with Italian subtitles, as we were preparing for a live performance, and found it both helpful and enjoyable.
N.b. I chose this version because it’s a sort of ‘live action’ performance, set in the actual places that the (fictious) story plays out in. It’s also professionally-produced, which Youtube videos sometimes aren’t.
Note too that, in this particular opera, one of the most famous songs comes early on. So if you’re not (yet) a huge opera fan, you only need to watch ten or fifteen minutes of it to hear an inspiring melody which is suitable for singing in the shower (you could learn the words and REALLY impress your family!)
And the live performance of the opera??
Well, it was fun. Eating dinner at 11.30 pm wasn’t ideal. But on the plus side, it turns out that loads of guys wear shorts to the opera!
And better still, some of the youngest, coolest of them have long hair, like mine, which my wife usually objects to. It was worth a couple of hours of hunger pangs just for that.
And no, I haven’t forgotten today’s episode of our 30-part Summer Series of free articles (with audio).
It’s just that I didn’t have much to say about it, which is unusal, I admit, but doesn’t mean it isn’t interesting.
Today we have a scandalous Italian poet who, with a bunch of his radical buddies, decides to occupy a city in a neighbouring country, a place Italians called Fiume (it’s known to the locals as Rijeka, and is now the third-largest city in Croatia).
Know any Proud Boys? If so, maybe send them this link:
The first twelve episodes in this series can be found on our History page. Scroll right down to the end to find them.
A mercoledì, allora.
Half-price eBook of the Week: Tosca (B1)
This week’s ‘Half-price eBook of the Week’ offer is Tosca, an intermediate-level ‘easy reader’ (with online audio) which simplifies the story of Puccini’s famous opera for learners of Italian – the idea being to provide ‘graded’ Italian reading/listening practice, but also to encourage people to give the opera a try. Well, why not?
As usual, the ebook comes in .pdf format (the default download), with .epub & .mobi formats available on request at no extra charge.
Here’s the blurb from our ebooks store:
Giacomo Puccini’s famous opera, first performed in Rome in 1900, is here simplifed for learners of Italian (with quotes from the actual libretto!)
It’s 1800. The Austrians and the French have been fighting over the Italian peninsula for most of the previous century but the French have lost a vital battle and their supporters are imprisoned or killed. One of them, Cesare, escapes and flees to a church where his aristocratic sister is influential. She’ll hide him and help him to safety. Concealing himself in a chapel, he encounters artist Mario, an old friend hired to paint the Virgin Mary. But wait, someone is coming! Cesare hides and in comes famous singer Tosca, Mario’s beautiful but jealous lover…
Begin with this ‘easy reader’ ebook before watching the actual opera, or simply use this original Italian reading/listening practice material to add a little variety to your study program.
- .pdf e-book (+ audio available free online)
- .mobi (Kindle-compatible) and .epub (other ebook readers) available on request at no extra charge – just add a note to the order form or email us
- 8 chapters (based on Puccini’s Act/Scene structure) to read and listen to
- Comprehension questions to check your understanding
- Italian/English glossary of ‘difficult’ terms for the level
- Suitable for students at pre-intermediate level or above
- Download your Free Sample Chapter (.pdf)
Remember, this week Tosca is 50% discounted, so just £4.99 rather than the usual ‘easy reader’ ebook price of £9.99!
How do I access my ebook?
When your order is ‘completed’ (normally immediately after your payment), a download link will be automatically emailed to you. It’s valid for 7 days and 3 download attempts so please save a copy of the .pdf ebook in a safe place. Other versions of the ebook, where available, cannot be downloaded but will be emailed to people who request them. There’s a space to do that on the order form – where it says Additional information, Order notes (optional). If you forget, or if you have problems downloading the .pdf, don’t worry! Email us at the address on the website and we’ll help. Also, why not check out our FAQ?
Have you read/listened to Saturday’s bulletin of ‘easy’ Italian news?
Why not subscribe?
That’s FREE, too.