August 11, 2015

Musical Memory

My Mom has been a lifelong opera and operetta lover. She and Dad occasionally bought season tickets to Chicago's Lyric Opera, and we usually listened to Saturday opera radio broadcasts (but I always preferred ballet). We celebrated New Year's Eve by watching Die Fledermaus on television, and we caught a staging of The Merry Widow in Central City, Colorado.

When Mom was growing up, the three most popular sopranos where Jeanette MacDonald, Marta Eggerth, and Deanna Durbin. Mom collected cards with images of each singer, and she and her friends went to the cinema* to watch the dubbed movies in which the starlets appeared.

In about 1934 or 1935 Marta Eggerth arrived in Kaunas for a concert. The city officials prohibited Eggerth from singing in the opera house because Eggerth specialized in operettas, a musical form, according to authorities, beneath the dignity of the opera house. Eggerth therefore sang at an outdoor theater. My Mom's maternal Aunt Dora took Mom to that concert. Mom recalls Eggerth wore a white gown on stage. When we watched a few Eggerth clips on YouTube, Mom even got a bit misty.

Vienna, Austria, July 1971. This is the Vienna State Opera. It was natural for Dad to photograph this building when we visited Vienna.

*The same cinema at which Dora used to accompany the silent movies.

1 comment:

edutcher said...

An unexpected trip back to the Good Old Days will often bring a tear.

Or at least a catch in the throat.

If we're very lucky, a smile, too.