A golden Summer to begin
Carl Battaglia and John Ritter had long written to her requesting she hear me and how they thought she would like what I did. She agreed and it stayed there for a year or so. Then Eugene Kohn arranged to bring me to her and helped me speak to her for the first time, a gift I will never forget. We set up a meeting after my Welsh National Opera debut in Ernani. Just to say hello, and then perhaps in the summer with Eugene I would return to work with her in San Marino. She had not “taught” before and I would be the first.
So it was, a few days after hearing of my Grandmother’s death, I went to Milano, from Venice and brought her dozens of flowers and a Motta cake, which she could not eat. We spoke for an hour or so and off I went, happy as a clam. We indeed would work that summer. The photo (above) is of our first meeting at a church where we did most of the study in San Marino. This (below) photo shows you how I felt. I could barely talk much less sing.
I remember staring a lot, she was a fabulous personality, beautiful to look at and linger on, that is true beauty, and a charisma. I hadn’t thought of the impact of hearing and seeing her “act” which I found believable and with that all important ingredient, she made you care. She was kind enough to seem very impressed and we hit it off.
Here began a great and joyous friendship which lasted until the last few days of her great life. My last conversation complete, not just to briefly say hello, was about Fanciulla, and how she loved it so much and thought I would be “fabulous” in the role. I was to sing it in a debut in New York a few weeks later. God bless her. She had blessed it for me, as my mother had.
This foto(below) I took quickly sitting in the company box, everyone knew this was my idol, and they were so very wonderful to let me be….This would be the last time New York would embrace her, and embrace her and how. Thousands waited to sign books and cds, in three different places, and this was the night of her triumphal return to the Met. Her arrival was greeted by the cheering and stamping of frenzy. Everyone knew she was to arrive and when she did, well, I count it as one of the great nights of my life.
It never felt so wonderful in that house. A true, vibrant star was in the house. The electricity and the “vibe” was off the charts.
The final morning, I was asked to have breakfast, late brunch before she went to the airport to go home. I hugged her good bye with my whole heart full of gratitude and praise.
Thinking of her today, with love and respect.