On a recent field trip to Chicago’s Civic Lyric Opera, students of Signora Rullo’s Italian classes immersed themselves in the beauty of the rich language and culture. The group traveled by train into the city to take in a performance of “Tosca” by Giacomo Puccini.

“The opera is truly Italian culture and musical tradition at its best,” Signora Rullo said. “Not only were some of the greatest composers Italians, Verdi and Puccini for example, but some of the greatest tenors of all time, such as Enrico Caruso, Luciano Pavarotti or sopranos like Renata Tebaldi, were as well.”

While Signora Rullo strives to take her Italian students to a different opera in Chicago every year, “Tosca,”she said, proved quite thrilling. “The students liked Tosca very much because there is passion, action and murder.”

This was senior Dominique DiVito’s first trip to the opera, and she said it wouldn’t be her last. “We enjoyed the opera because it was so intense and held our attention,” Dominique said. “I would definitely recommend taking students to go see this opera next year. ”

While following the story line and understanding the language can prove to be an obstacle for first time opera-goers, the Lyric Opera House has tried to solve that problem by placing an electronic message board above the stage that translates simultaneously.

Still, Signora Rullo, a native Italian, and her students found they could follow along without totally depending on the captioning.

“The librettos are in Italian and the language is typical of the 1800s and difficult to understand, even for an Italian,” Signora Rullo said. “Still, it’s another wonderful way to see a language come alive with such passion and melody.”

Signora Rullo said that each year she hopes to inspire an appreciation for the opera among her students.

“I fell in love with it when I first saw it at 14,” she said. “I haven’t stopped going since then.”