Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Night at the Opera

Tonight at 8, PBS will broadcast a performance of Der Rosenkavalier from the Metropolitan Opera House in New York.

I’ve never seen this comic opera written by Richard Strauss (, but it has special significance in my life. On their first date in the summer of 1942, my father took my mother to see this opera.

They had met days before, at his store on Orchard Street. He was standing on a rolling ladder, the type you see in libraries, when, by pre-arrangement, my mother came to meet him. At the sight of her, he nearly fell off the ladder. She had the most unruly, frizzy hair. Ever the gentleman, Dad went through with the match and agreed to take her to the opera Friday night. When he arrived at her parents’ apartment Friday evening, a beautiful woman opened the door. Knowing she had three sisters, he asked for Sylvia. My mother smiled and said she was Sylvia. They were married Labor Day weekend, six weeks later, September 6, 1942. Their marriage lasted 53 years until her death in 1996.

It is almost exactly six weeks before Labor Day. I think I’ll watch, or at least record, Der Rosenkavalier, tonight.

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