Have you ever met an Italian who doesn’t love bel canto? This is what the world knows about us Italians and Dino Valle is exactly the perfect example of an Italian for Americans.
Dino is a true Italian musician, an excellent baritone, a man of a thousand lives who has always had a clear desire to live following his inspiration.
He was born in Italy in Ceprano, a town in Ciociaria on the majestic Liri River which in the past marked the southern border of the Republic of Rome (before Caesar and the Empire).
On the other side there was the belligerent Samnites who were defeated only after 3 major battles and over 50 years of fighting.
At that time the river was navigable and constituted a great natural barrier from the ruins of the ancient cities of Fregellae and Fabrateria Nuova that still bear witness to the strategic importance of this area.
Dino moved to America at the age of 17-18, almost by chance. His wish was to go to the Military Academy while his friend Carlo’s was to go to the Carabinieri Academy.
Carlo Corsetti succeeded and eventually became General of the Carabinieri, while Dino was rejected at the physical test for a conjunctivitis of the eyes. Today this disease is banal but at the time it was feared that it could infect the whole troop.
The disappointment hit him a lot and his parents offered for him to go to America on a student visa. In fact they were born in Brazil to Italian parents and then returned to their Ceprano, but as Brazilian citizens they could go directly to the United States before the age of 18.
Ceprano and the entire Liri Valley had been the scene of war and heavily bombed during the Second World War so many people went to seek their fortune abroad and in particular in the USA and Canada.
Dino and his mother embarked for the United States and went directly to Detroit where their sponsor, a friend of Ceprano’s, lived.
Dino immediately strove to do everything before attending his first English school. A school that changed his life where he met young people from all nations and a world opened up for him. For a boy who had arrived from Ceprano in Ciociaria where he had only met people from his home town, finding so much diversity was intoxicating.
From Ceprano to the world in a moment! The beauty of schools in America!
Love began and a Dutch girl recognized his artistic flair and invited him to attend special courses to become a hairdresser. Then 2 years of school in which he continued to specialize and learn to teach cosmetics.
Meanwhile he continued to sing. From an early age he had learned music and solfeggio singing in Ceprano and with his friend Carlo they went to serenade girls with a boat on the Liri river. But he never thought it could become a profession until another girl opened his eyes.
Cherchez la femme … the girl advised him to enroll at the university of music where he was immediately appreciated as a ‘Verdian baritone’. And this love and profession still continues.
Meanwhile, another woman (what a strange fate) advised him to apply his beautiful voice for the radio as well. In fact, a radio station was looking for a journalist to conduct a daily and a weekly program in Italian for Italian immigrants in America.
Paradoxically, Dino had to resume some Italian lessons with Prof. Paolo Polidori, a musician originally from Castro dei Volsci who had set the Ciociaro Hymn to music.
From 1973 to today, Dino has continued his role as a journalist and musician.
Today his role has become an English program on classical and operatic Italian music. Yet there are always some jokes in Italian!
But he never stopped his direct link with Italy, partly because part of his family and his childhood friends were still in Ceprano and partly because his heart has always been divided between Italy and America.
A hilarious episode to tell is the one regarding a concert in the Vatican in the presence of Pope Benedict XVI where he sang a beautiful Ave Maria. The pope resigned the next day and Dino’s friends have always wondered if his concert was decisive for this choice.
Meanwhile, Dino had 3 children in America. All have maintained ties with Italy but in their own way, some with music and some with architecture. They came often but don’t really have a relationship with Ceprano.
His three grandchildren feel to be American, but they are curious about their Italian roots and need to have an incentive to recover the desire to have a constant bridge with Italy and Ceprano.
In the meantime he founded the Bellini Opera Theater and promotes Italian music in America and American music in Italy with the ‘What America means to me’ program.
For his activity as a builder of bridges between two cultures, Dino received the Town Ambassador Award for the city of Ceprano from Discoverplaces and the mayor Marco Galli.