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Subject: Closing Night Gala: Farrar and Ponselle
From: Charles Mintzer <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Charles Mintzer <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 14 Jun 2018 14:56:30 -0400
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I was present at the closing night gala of the Met in 1966. I have a vivid memory, that when Mr. Bing made his introductory remarks, he read telegrams from only two singers who were invited as honorary guests but sent their regrets for not being able to attend: Geraldine Farrar and Rosa Ponselle. Farrar was 84 years old and rarely went to New York from her Connecticut home at that point, and Ponselle was reclusive, almost never leaving Baltimore and its environs. It is interesting that Maria Jeritza in her day, the twenties, was a bigger star than Ponselle, was paid twice the salary. I am not talking about who was a better artist and singer, but only management’s recognition of their box office prowess. I felt at the time that if Bing could only mention two figures from the past, he picked the correct names for that audience for many reasons: both were Americans, both were iconic in their own way, Farrar for many in the audience was linked with Caruso and Ponselle had become a figure of legend, her “Vestale” recordings considered touchstones of vocal art.
Charles Mintzer

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