By Anita Rothfeld, a member of Get Your WordsWorth
Fifteen years ago I fell in love with “The Bartered Bride”, Smetana’s 1866 opera. It was being done for the first time at the Met, but not in Czech. It was done in English with a superlative cast – Teresa Stratas, Jon Vickers, Nicolai Gedda.
The music was gorgeous, gay, happy, folksy, beautiful. If anyone asked…my favorite opera, Bartered Bride, was certainly up there.
And then – perhaps a month ago , WQXR said James Levine was conducting Bartered Bride with the Juilliard School singers and orchestra. I flipped. This was a gift out of the blue. I begged my brother to get tickets and find out the vicissitudes of wheelchair entry and seating.
He got on the phone. He got the tickets. Oh! Happy day – but in the interim Nathan my good brother had a heart attack.
I didn’t want to go. But everyone insisted I go. I went with my aide and a friend – neither of whom was an opera person. I promised them they would be enchanted.
The final act was mine. 3 men came out of nowhere, grabbed my wheelchair, lifted it up —I was terrified. The elevator was out of order. And the men took me up 2 flights to get out of the theater. People were gaping. My royalty showed as I waved to the crowd. High drama! Happy day for everyone! Happy endings are the rules!
February 23, 2011