Why in the world would a 95-year-old-lady, doddering along with a cane, be asked to share her thoughts about the intricate world of opera? Because if you’ve traveled the world, as I have, to see 63 complete Ring cycles and countless other operas besides, you want the world to know why you’re so passionate about opera and why it’s so important to keep this priceless art form thriving. Opera has enriched my life beyond measure, and my financial support of San Francisco Opera—including my legacy gift—will help enrich the lives of others in the coming years.
Inexplicable things happen to me in London. Several years ago I made an early morning visit to Westminster Abbey, that great reliquary of historical memory, and found it almost empty and utterly silent, a rare state for one of the world’s great tourist magnets. I intended to spend a few quiet moments at the memorial stone of my favorite composer, George Frideric Handel (1685–1759), the great German-born composer, Italian-trained, and rightly claimed by England as their own.