Why am a better cook in Italy? Is it the culinary history rubbing off on me? Am I being creatively inspired to make interesting and delicious choices by the general appreciation of all things artistic and cultural? Is it the recipes my Italian stage manager friend has been IMing me? Actually, I think it's the ingredients. The incredibly fresh vegetables and fruits, not to mention the wonderful cheese, bread, and cured meats, are just creating really yummy things to eat no matter what I do to them. I accidentally bought red wine that had carbonation in it today at the market and even that was good. Tonight's dinner was a frittata with mushrooms, asparagus, and zucchini, with some parmesan and a little sea salt, and a delicious salad with these big buttery lettuce leaves and a red ripe tomato. I am getting really spoiled.
Rehearsal was more of the same, although something funny happened right when I arrived this morning. I was about 5 minutes late because I forgot my umbrella and had to go back for it, and normally in Italy, nothing would have begun yet, but they had actually already started when I arrived. I tried to sneak in as quietly as possible because they were all sitting in chairs in a circle going through the recitative that was to be staged that day. A minute after I sat down, the director, Graham Vick, who really is totally fluent in Italian, couldn't remember the word for capital, as in "say that "every" with a capital E", and the girl sitting next to me said "capitale" or whatever the translation was ( I already forgot). And Graham said "oh yes Capitale, wonderful - grazie Maurizio" (who is the stage manager, and who was sitting on the other side of me) and Maurizio said "no - c'era Jennifer" because I guess he thought I had said the translation, and Graham said (in italian) "Oh Jennifer!" and, not sure what was going on (I had just walked in and was still processing italian) I said "Si" and so Graham said "how wonderful - all your italian studying is paying off!!" And I said "si" again because I still hadn't entirely figured out what this conversation was about, and I was kind of freaked out that they were talking about me since I had just walked in. Then after a few minutes went by, I realized that I had just taken credit for this other singer's ability to translate english into italian. I apologized to her at the lunch break, and she didn't care, but I was so embarrassed until I had a chance to talk to her because I felt like a moment stealer or something. She didn't care at all and was really nice about it - Italians are so laid back! Also, I think she understood in the moment that I had no idea what was going on, which seems to happen to me about 72 times per day.