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Past Events

2017-2018 Programs:

Sunday, October 1, 5:00 pm
Building A Nation With Music–Opera & Italian Nationhood from the Risorgimento to the First World War

Professor Jonathan Hiller of Adelphi University will explain opera’s crucial role in Italian society from the time of the country’s move to unification in the mid-19th century to the First World War. Showing examples from many famous works (such as Nabucco, La Bohème, and Cavalleria Rusticana) along with some lesser-known works such as Cristoforo Colombo and I Medici, this presentation will show the intimate links between Italy’s eventful history, its drive towards building a national consciousness, and these seminal works of melodrama.

Sunday, October 29, 2017 at 3 PM Cinema
Andiamo a quel paese 
(Let’s go to that village)2014 
Directed by Ficarra & Picone

“Let’s go to that village” is a 2014 Italian comedy  written, directed and starred by the comedy duo Ficarra and Picone.
Valentino and Salvo – old friends, have lost their jobs – they decide to change their lives and move from the city of Palermo to the small Sicilian town of Monteforte, birthplace of Valentino and Salvo’s wife, hoping to limit expenses. The impact with the reality of the town is complicated and the small town seems to be inhabited only by the elderly. Salvo and Valentino, always looking for a solution to make ends meet, find a way to exploit it in their favor, turning the house into a sort of makeshift retirement home. The pact is clear: “You give us the pension and we’ll take care of you.” But no pension is forever …
Rating: NR; Running time about 90 minutes; Directed by Ficarra & Picone; In Italian with English Subtitles; Released in Italy in 2014

Sunday, November. 5, 5:00 pm 
Enrico Fermi–The Pope of Physics:

Known as “the pope of physics” to his peers, Enrico Fermi-arguably Italy’s greatest scientist since Galileo and a founder of modern physics-is the subject of a new book, describing his early years in Italy and subsequent immigration to the United States, where he played a pivotal role in the development of the atomic bomb. Authors Gino Segrè, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and his wife Bettina Hoerlin, a health policy expert, will discuss their book and its relevance to issues of today, including nuclear threats and the tensions between science
and politics.

Sunday, November 19, 2017 at 3 PM – Cinema
Scusate se esisto
 (Excuse me if I exist or Do You See Me)2014 
Direceted by Riccardo Milani

Serena is an extraordinary talented architect. After a series of professional successes abroad, Serena decided to return to work in Italy because she loves her country. In the adventurous search for a job she faces a crazy choice, became what everyone expects her to be: a man … or so it seems. In the meantime, he meets Francesco. Beautiful and charming. The ideal companion. If it was for the fact, that he does not like women … Or so it seems. Between Serena and Francesco is born an intense relationship and they become the perfect couple … Ready to get ahead they will have to share secrets and deception because at times, to be really oneself, it is better to pretend to be someone else!

Rating: NR; Running time about 99 minutes; Directed by  Riccardo Milani; In Italian with English Subtitles; Released in Italy in 2014

Sunday, December 3, 5:00 pm 
Polenta Festa

From polenta with mushrooms and cheese, to polenta with sausages, there is no end to the variety of dishes one can make with this humble cornmeal dish as the base. Join us for our always popular polenta festa, where members of the community bring a favorite polenta dish to share. Please bring your dish piping hot, since oven space is limited.

Sunday, January 7, 5:00 pm 
Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet:

Princeton author Beth Brombert will speak about Elena Ferrante’s widely translated popular books, and how the original works, written in Italian, offer subtleties of language not found in the English translation.  A Tour of Elena Ferrante’s Naples: Danielle Oteri, art historian, writer and founder of Feast On History will walk you through many of Naples’ most famous sites and highlight the lesser known parts of the city.

Sunday January 28, 2018 at 3 PM – Cinema
Poveri ma ricchi
 (Poor but rich)2016 
Directed by Fausto Brizzi

The Tucci are a poor family in a small village in Lazio: mother, father, a conceited daughter and a genius son. They also live with their brother-in-law, a botanical engineer but a lazy bum, and a grandmother who is addicted to TV. One day, something completely unexpected happens: the Tucci win one hundred million euro. They decide to keep the winnings a secret, but as it often happens in these cases, a slip of the tongue from the head of the family and now there is only solution: run from the village. Destination: Milan! Once they arrive  and start their new life as millionaires, the Tucci quickly realize that today’s wealthy are no longer like those of the past: they keep a  low profile, they eat little or nothing, they are ecologists, they are involved in charities, they keep fit and get around strictly by bicycle. Being rich today has become a big pain in the neck. This discovery is very different from what the Tucci were expecting.
Rating: NR; Running time about 93 minutes; In Italian with English Subtitles; Released in Italy in 2016

Sunday, February 11, 5:00 pm (The second Sunday of the month instead of the first. )
What is it about Parma?

Film-maker August Ventura will share some extraordinary findings that have surfaced during research for his film project on Parma’s unique brand of Verdi-mania, including abundant rehearsal and performance footage, some of which have not been seen in over a century. He will provide an intriguing backstory of their rediscovery as well as a fascinating glimpse into the uniquely working-class milieu of Parma’s opera-mad populace.

Sunday, February 25, 2018 at 3 PM – Cinema
La pazza gioia
 (The crazy joy)2016
Directed by Paolo Virzi

This elegantly made film is the perfect vehicle for the vibrant talents of Valeria Bruni Tedeschi and Micaela Ramazzotti, playing patients in a mental institution who in true Thelma & Louise style decide to make a bid for freedom. Their escape is not pre-planned, but rather a spontaneous decision that sees them head off on a warm-hearted series of adventures very much based around a need for freedom and the women’s need to deal with unresolved issues in their lives. Both actresses deliver delightful and vibrant performances, with Paolo Virzi’s film strikingly human and thoughtful and made with real compassion and warmth.
Rating: NR; Running time about 111 minutes; Directed by  Paolo Virzi; In Italian with English Subtitles; Released in Italy in 2016

Sunday, March 4, 5:00 pm 
Lessico Famigliare

Novelist and translator Jenny McPhee will discuss her love of things Italian and read from her most recent work, a translation of Natalia Ginzburg’s most celebrated novel, Lessico Famigliare (Family Lexicon). The program will feature an Italian/English format with McPhee reading in English and Princeton University Professor Pietro Frassica reading in Italian. McPhee, who grew up in the Princeton area, has also translated works by Primo Levi, Giacomo Leopardi, and Paolo Maurensig, among others.

Monday, March 5, 6PM, Labyrinth Books, 122 Nassau Street, Princeton NJ
Princeton Migration Series – Jhumpa Lahiri & Alessandro Giammei
Domenico Starnone’s Trick: A Reading and Discussion

TICKETS LIMITED TO TWO PER PERSON. Tickets are free but required and can be picked up in person starting February 15 at Labyrinth Books. NO RESERVATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED!
Sharp, succinct storytelling and breathtaking prose combine in a new novel, Trick, by Domenico Starnone, author of the New York Times editor’s pick, Ties. His work is beautifully rendered in English by Jhumpa Lahiri, who will read from Trick and discuss both the novel and the art of translation with her colleague and fellow-translator, Alessandro Giammei.

Imagine a duel between an elderly man and a mere boy. The same blood runs through their veins. One, Daniele Mallarico, is a successful illustrator whose reputation is slowly fading. The other, Mario, is his four-year-old grandson. The older combatant has lived for years in solitude, focusing obsessively on his work. The younger one has been left by his querulous parents with his grandfather for a 72-hour stay. Shut inside an apartment in Naples that is filled with the ghosts of Mallarico’s own childhood, grandfather and grandson match wits, while outside lurks Naples, a wily, violent, and passionate city whose influence is not easily shaken. Trick is a gripping, wry, brilliantly devised drama, “an extremely playful literary composition,” as Jhumpa Lahiri describes it in her introduction, about aging, family, art, and reconciling with one’s past.

Domenico Starnone is an Italian writer, screenwriter and journalist. He was born in Naples and lives in Rome. He is the author of thirteen works of fiction, including First Execution and Via Gemito, winner of Italy’s most prestigious literary prize, the Strega. Jhumpa Lahiri is the Pulitzer prize winning author of The Interpreter of MaladiesThe Namesake, and Unaccustomed Earth, among other books. Her works originally written in Italian are In Other Words and The Clothing of Books. She is also an accomplished translator from the Italian, most recently of Starnone’s previous book, Ties, and teaches Creative Writing at the Lewis Center for the Arts. Alessandro Giammei is Lecturer in the Humanities Council and French & Italianas well as Fellow in the Society of Fellows at Princeton University.

The Princeton Migrations Series is a community-wide investigation of the theme of migration taking place throughout the region from February through May. Spearheaded by Princeton University Art Museum, the project includes exhibitions, readings, lectures, film screens and performances by more than 20 community partners and a host of campus organizations and departments. More info at

Co-sponsored by Dorothea’s House & Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts.

Sunday, April 8, 5:00 pm (The second Sunday of the month instead of the first)
Jazz Italian Style–From Its Origins in New Orleans to Fascist Italy and Sinatra:

Professor Anna Celenza of Georgetown University presents a multi-media overview of her latest book, which presents a forgotten chapter in jazz history- the development of jazz in Mussolini’s Italy-and demonstrates how this new musical style eventually influenced quintessentially “American” performers like the Andrews Sisters and Frank Sinatra.

Sunday, May 6, 6:00 pm (please note change of time)
A Grand Musical Tour of Italy:

The music of violin virtuoso Arcangelo Corelli continues to be enjoyed by audiences around the world nearly three hundred years following his death. John Burkhalter, artistic director of “The Practitioners of Musick,” will present an illustrated talk on Corelli’s musical world, supplemented with a performance of his chamber music featuring various instruments including the harpsichord and “English” flute.

Highlights from Past Programs:

Lidia Bastianich

Lidia Bastianich


Feb. – Dreyden Ensemble performs Italian baroque music on period instruments

April – Anne Leader talks about the Orange Cloister at the Badia Fiorentina

May – A Pirandellian evening with students from Princeton University



Feb. – Fundraiser with restaurateur and cookbook author Lidia Bastianich (Click here for Princeton Packet article)

April – Evening of poetry from Loretta Casalaina and Maria Fama

May – Wine tasting from Tony Prospero of Prospero Winery in Pleasantville, N.Y.


Tony Prospero of Prospero Winery

Tony Prospero of Prospero Winery


Feb. – Chemist Felix Buccellato lectures on Italian citrus oils used in perfume

May – Metropolitan Opera conductor Gildo DiNunzio on backstage musical effects

Oct. – Bloomfield mandolin orchestra presents Italian music and sing-along



April – Metropolitan Opera prompter Jane Klaviter on secrets below the stage

May – Local artists display paintings, sculpture

Dec. – Folkdance group from Philadelphia “Ballerini e Voci d’Italia”



March – Concert by flutist Claire Durand Racamato and pianist Marianne Lauffer

May – Photographer Holly Smith Pedlosky captures intimacies in Venice

Nov. – Lecture on paper making in Fabriano by Raffaele Roncalli



April – Italian author Gina Lagorio recounts her experiences as a writer

Nov. – 15th Century Florence lecture by art historian Elena Welm

Dec. – A portrait of Verdi’s Violetta by Metropolitan Opera conductor Joseph Colaneri


Philadelphia folk dance group "Ballerini e Voci d'Italia"

Philadelphia folk dance group “Ballerini e Voci d’Italia”


April – Mozzarella making demonstration

Nov. – Maria LoBiondo upholds tradition of Italian story-telling

Dec. – Lecture on Leonardo Sciascia by Strathclyde University’s Professor Joseph Farrell



Jan. – Sister Margherita Marchione introduces her book “Yours is a Precious Witness”

April – Facts and fiction about olives and olive oil by Clo Treves and Milena Troiano

Nov. – Lecture on Trevi Fountain history by Professor John Pinto



Feb. – A Dante evening with Professor Robert Hollander

April – Robert Browning in Italy – lecture by Lillian Mariano Chance

Oct. – Inspired by Italy watercolors by Marge Chavooshian



Feb. – Venice during Carnevale lecture and slides by Carla Olsen

March – Giuseppe Verdi comes to Dorothea’s House by way of Eduardo Mangella

Nov. – Gardens of Villa Lante slide show and lecture by architect Kevin Wilkes



Jan. – Lecture by Professor Pietro Frassica on letters to Pirandello by Marta Abba

Feb. – Boheme Opera Company’s Sandra Pucciatti on insider’s guide to opera

Nov. – Italian baroque music by Westminster choir group and Nancy Perella



March – Italian general consul and lawyer from Stark & Stark on legal issues

Oct. – Lecture on Italians in New Jersey by Professor Remigio Pane

Nov. – Lecture on Italians in Princeton by Robert Immordino and Ciro Poppiti



Jan. – Architect Michael Mostoller lectures on Palladio

April – Traditional pig roast

May – Professor Lucy Nardella talks about Siena’s Palio



Feb. – Operatic performance by singers of the Boheme Opera Company

March – An armchair tour of the Dolomite region

Oct. – DeFranco family and Calabrian folk music and dancing


Chris Tamasi giving a cooking demonstration in 1994

Chris Tamasi giving a cooking demonstration in 1994


Jan. – Lecture on the Etruscans by Professor Maria Teresa Moevs

April – Slide show and talk on Molise and Pettoranello by Antonio Pirone

May – Italian folkdancing with the Montclair Folk Group



Oct. – Dorothea’s House 75th Anniversary Celebration

March – Renaissance Rome lecture by Professor Laurie Nussdorfer

Nov. – Lecture on operas of Mascagni by Alan Mallach



Jan. – Lecture on Sicily by Professor Pietro Frassica and Dr. Frank Campo

Feb. – Carnevale celebration

Oct. – Italian Fashion show and historical lecture by Rene Battaglia



Jan. – Architect Fred Travisano gives lecture on Italian hill town architecture

May – Concert by cellist Gino Treves and string quartet

Oct. – Villa Banfi wine-tasting; Bob Freda demonstrates home wine-making



Oct. – Wine tasting program

Nov. – Italian movie “Tre Fratelli”

Dec. – Prosciutto making demonstration by Dominic Tamasi

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