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.

They were!

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

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One thought on “MY NIGHT AT THE OPERA

  1. Thank you for this reincarnation of Anita Rothfeld, a strong, positive presence. She couldn’t walk, couldn’t see, couldn’t hear, but could tell stories. I can see her again illustrating her tale by turning her raised hand in the British royal style as she is being carried up the stairs and people are gaping. I can feel her again, saying “Happy day for everyone! Happy endings are the rules!”

    Thank you Anita’s son Neil for recording this story; thank you ESTA for presenting it. Happy ending. I am twisting my raised hand in the royal greeting to you and Anita.

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