In memory of Inelda Tajo

I met Inelda and Italo Tajo in 1967, when I transferred from Juilliard to CCM, just so I could study with my idol, Italo Tajo. Practically from day one the Tajo’s embraced me as surrogate parents, first as a bachelor, and then with Kimberly, my wife of forty years. Inelda and Italo were much more than friends. Inelda was beyond kind, beyond hospitable, quintessentially Italian, loving, giving. We stopped counting how many hours we spent at their table at their enchanting home on Penway Court. Our lives and careers took us here and there but we always stayed in touch with cards and letters and phone calls, and periodically with visits to Cincinnati to see the Tajos, while Italo was still alive, and then with Inelda, a little part of whom died with him. The part that remained alive was still vibrant, filled with an immense humanity, and ever ready with a smile and a kind word.

– Rafael de Acha

So many memories of my early life include Inelda. I remember vividly when I was introduced to her, standing in the hall outside the Dean’s office at C-CM. She was bundled up for the Cincinnati Winter in a fur coat, and smiling the warmest, happy smile. Her eyes smiled. And, that wonderful, infectious warmth was there throughout her life.

As an undergraduate, I was a member of Maestro’s opera workshop. There I found my voice as a singer, learned about the profession, and met my husband, Rafael.

So often, Maestro loaded a group of us in his car, and took us home for one of Inelda’s wonderful Italian dinners, and spirited conversation around a table that might include students, and some of the biggest names in opera. We were all welcome there, and made to feel special. And, at the holidays, we were all sent home with panettone, or later, with a little bottle of Inelda’s Digestivo di Salvia.

I visited her in the nursing home in late May, and, in spite of weakness and the battle she was bravely fighting, she still wanted to know about how we were doing, and regretted most that she was missing musical events that she loved so much.

Inelda loved Maestro, her friends, the students, her home, opera, kitty cats, and welcoming people around her table for the best Italian food anywhere. She was truly one of the kindest, most constant and selfless people I have ever known, and these wonderful memories of her will be with me for the rest of my life.

Ciao, Inelda.

– Kimberly Daniel de Acha

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One Comment

  1. David DiChiera
    Posted July 9, 2008 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    For those of us who were fortunate to have Inelda Tajo come into our lives we can never forget the delight and warmth of her impish and lovable personality. Italo Tajo came to Detroit in 1970 and gave my efforts to establish an opera company credibility by directing our very first full length opera – The Barber of Seville with a young and very talented coloratura mezzo-Maria Ewing in her professional debut. From that time on Italo and Inelda became a wonderful part of our family. As godparents to Karen and my youngest daughter Cristina, they spent many wonderful weekends at our home and Indlda always spoiled us with the most savory Italian meals. In the years after Italo’s death, she would call me after every opera she attended with her comments and encourage me to hear a young singer with romise Ho will miss your Inelda – but our memories of you will always bring a smile into our hearts.
    David DiChiera


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