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Bio Teacher Belts Out Opera

Staples High School teachers have a lot on their plates. Instruction, lesson plans, meeting students for extra help — there’s not much time in the school day to leave their classrooms and offices.

But Jeff Castaldi found some the other day. The biology teacher headed downstairs, to the World Language wing.

Where, in Louisa D’Amore’s room, he sang Italian opera.

Back in his 20s, Castaldi had to decide between a career in music or education. He had studied at the Metropolitan Opera with a Bulgarian basso profundo, and was teaching at New Haven’s Hillhouse High.

He chose the classroom. But he continued singing — everywhere from soloing in church, to the national anthem while coaching football and baseball (including last year’s girls basketball state final at Mohegan Sun, while teaching at Holy Cross-Waterbury.)

A couple of his Staples students knew he sang. They asked D’Amore, their Italian teacher, to invite him in.

So during World Language Week, he belted out “Canto Degli Italiani (Fratelli d’Italia)” — the national anthem — and “Caro Mio Ben.”

D’Amore’s students loved it. “They thought it was so cool!” she reports.

“This is who I am,” Castaldi says. “I think if you have a gift, you should share it.”

Così bello!

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