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Classical 101

Opera From the Era of Big Hair


[video dead] I'll tell you, youtube is a great invention.  Here's a clip the original of which I well remember seeing live on the Ed Sullivan show in April of 1970. A few days after the broadcast these two ladies sang Norma in Boston on the Metropolitan Opera tour.  (April 22, 1970--I looked it up).  It was in the not lamented John B. Hynes Civic Auditorium on Boylston Street, where the boat show would load out on Sunday night and the Met would open on Monday.  I have never forgotten this Ed Sullivan show performance,  nor the live event  in Boston a few days later. The cheap seats were five dollars!  A fortune in 1970 for a thirteen year old. I had written Joan Sutherland (not yet Dame Joan) a fan letter.  I told her I was coming to the Boston performance and asked if I could come backstage and meet her. Back came a letter from a  secretary (named Mrs. Trench!) saying yes! Came the great night I heard the performance and made my way to her dressing room. No security except one sleepy cop who I'm sure wished he was  at a Bruins game.  The door opened and there she was. I wasn't an especially tall kid but she was a big lady. I came chest high to her. She was lovely and gracious and kind and patient. And she wore a low cut dress and I never heard word she said to me because all I could think was  "I am looking right at Joan Sutherland's boobs and they are humongous." (Was that a word in 1970? ) It was a great night and I bless her for it forty years later. This wonderful clip brought back lovely memories and remains impeccable music making. Enjoy. [youtube T4mcD91duYA 490 344] --Christopher Purdy