Sunday, October 29, 2017

ROME RETURN

Leaving aside for a moment the cultural, historic, aesthetic, gastronomic, cinematic and other wonders of Rome, on this return trip I was struck by the invasion, occupation and dictatorship of the automobile. It’s universal of course but I saw it in sharper focus in this city to which all roads, ironically, lead.

Double parked everywhere no matter how narrow a street, looming impatiently over your shoulder as you cross on white lines, cars seemed like a plague of giant cockroaches. All the comforts of having private transport bubbles furnished with entertainment, navigation, air-conditioning etc. become absurdly useless because in a city with a zillion private bubbles they will, of course, compete fiercely for space and speed and the result is hell: road-rage, traffic-rage, parking-rage, accident-rage, fuel-rage, pollution-rage, drunk-driving-rage, death-rage and so on. Obviously. If cars are allowed to rule the world humans become their slaves.


But the best thing about Italy is the Italians. I love the warmth, the ease, the wit of communication, the way words roll deliciously on the tongue before becoming speech. I do very little talking in my normal life so Italian verbosity is always both thrilling and overwhelming. I forget a lot of words in Spanish and Portuguese which I used to speak easily but Italian has stayed whole. Maybe because of intense conversations, many letters written and received but most of all the family connection: my older sister Anne, creatrice of the Teatro Club di Roma, her late husband, the writer and polymath Gerardo Guerrieri, their two talented daughters Selene and Indira with their inimitable spouses and children. I am grateful that destiny landed me in an international family in which every single individual is memorable, so memorable that I really should do a portrait of every one of them. Okay I will. I’ve just put it on my To Do list.

 My niece Selene Guerrieri Martinelli and my sister Anne d'Arbeloff Guerrieri. Rome, October 2017

This trip was a totally unexpected gift from an old friend who rang me out of the blue saying he had booked tickets for us to attend a performance of Tosca and he was offering me the return flight to Rome. An absolutely un-refusable offer. Why Tosca? Some years ago, when Gaetano was in London, we listened to the dramatic aria "E lucevan le stelle" (Pavarotti does it brilliantly) and were especially fond of that deep BOOM just before the condemned Cavaradossi sings "E non ho mai tanto amato la vita". Afterwards we fooled around imitating the BOOM. That's all there was to our Tosca experience - neither of us particularly an opera lover. But Gaetano remembered that long-ago moment and I was deeply touched by his gesture.

 Gaetano Trusso, Rome, architect, painter, poet, with two of his paintings inspired by Persian texts. He has translated some Persian poetry into Italian.

Unfortunately he was cheated by one of those online ticket fraudsters who sold him very expensive balcony seats in which Gaetano could not see the stage at all and I, perched on a high stool, saw only a corner slice of the action. It didn’t matter - the evening and the whole trip were still memorable.

 Rome, National Opera House.


My view of the stage, Tosca.


Finale. he cast of Tosca takes a bow.

 The bar at the Rome Opera House.

 Romans eating lunch in the sun.


 Irresistible temptation in Roman cafe.


 I haven't mentioned the wonderful family reunions because those are private but I also finally got to meet in real life a longtime blogging friend, Cynthia Korzekwa, Mistress of Transforming Into Art Everything You Throw Away. Her blog is Art for Housewives but her talent cannot be categorised. I only spent a very short time with her but it was enough to cement our friendship.




2 comments:

cynthia korzekwa said...

Ahhh Natalie, mille grazie for mentioning me in your Roman Resoconto!

N. D'Arbeloff said...

Cynthia, it's impossible to do justice to that lovely and much too brief encounter with you in your studio. Unfortunately the one photo I took didn't come out well. A la prossima!