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Subject: Re: Roberta Peters, 1930-2017
From: Scott Grunow <[log in to unmask]>
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Date:Thu, 19 Jan 2017 18:02:04 -0500
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I had the honor of ushering at a benefit recital she gave at Rosary College, River Forest, Illinois (n/k/a Dominican University) in I think 1983 (my last year of undergraduate study). She graciously flew in at the last minute as a substitute for Mirella Freni, who cancelled because of illness. In fact, Ms. Peters had just finished performing Oscar in Ballo. 


I admit the first part of the recital was vocally rocky (she started with Sweet Bird .. from Handel's Il Penseroso and the voice sounded tight and strained), but by the last half, especially in the Respighi songs, her voice took on a surprising richness and complexity. In fact, many of the audience were thrilled  at the substitution (the nun running the who shindig seemed rather put out, and we were warned that the audience comprised of many rich donors who also payed for the hoity toity dinner (we help got pizza in the improvised coat check room, but at least we got something, compared to previous years, hmm, never mind) might be put out by the change, but they weren't), especially the older members, who remembered her as a young singer in the 1950s and also her popular recordings of Lucia, Barbiere, and Rigoletto.
 
I was able, because I was a volunteer usher, to be first in line (and quite a line there was) of well-wishers and autograph seekers, to congratulate her. I said to her, Ms. Peters, that was absolutely ravishing. She touched my hand and said, and I knew she meant it, I am so glad you enjoyed it. 


She was wonderful, gracious person, and she always exemplified for me the qualities of a person with true class, a great lady.


Scott Grunow



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