The late film writer/film savant Ric Menello, who passed away last month, in conversation with The New Yorker's Richard Brody (longtime admirer of pianist/conductor Christian Zacharias), discovers that he was apparently related to Umberto Giordano.
He was also very, very knowledgeable about literature. He wasn’t just a movie savant; you could talk to him about Homer or you could talk to him about Shakespeare—you could talk to him about all that stuff. I would have lengthy conversations with him about “Henry IV” or Virgil, the Aeneid. He would know—he would know all about it and I could talk—I remember, I was looking through Caesar’s “Gallic Wars” and he knew everything about that stuff. And you just thought to yourself, “How do you know about this?” I had a conversation with him once about “Middlemarch” and I’m like, “Is there anything you don’t know about?” He was one of those kinds of people. And opera, too—I remember discussing an opera called “Fedora,” which is a very obscure opera by Umberto Giordano, and he said, “Oh, you know, I’m related to Giordano—my cousin Vinnie Giordano is his relative, but…” and all of a sudden he goes on a disquisition about Giordano and “Fedora,” which is, like I said, not exactly Puccini or Verdi.