September 16th, 2016 - Fifty years ago tonight, the Metropolitan Opera opened at their new home at Lincoln Center with the world premiere performance of Samuel Barber's ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA starring Leontyne Price, Justino Diaz, and Jess Thomas, conducted by Thomas Schippers. The performance was broadcast live, and - needless to say - I was tuned in.
I remember listening in my little room in the big house in tiny Hannibal, New York, where I grew up. The possibility of a strike by the musicians of The Met's orchestra had left the future of the season beyond this first night up in the air; but during the intermission, Rudolf Bing stepped out before the gold curtain to announce that the strike had been averted and new contracts signed. I - always so reticent - let out a whoop and raced downstairs, excitedly telling my parents the news; they thought I was deranged, but that was nothing new.
But I had a vested interest in the outcome of The Met's contract negotiations, because in August I had made my first solo trip to New York City and I had tickets to several upcoming performances, including the final ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA of the run. So now my plans were a "go", and I was soon making frequent pilgrimages to Lincoln Center and falling in love with the City where I would eventually live.
Read an article about my experience on the first ticket line for The Met at Lincoln Center here.