Encore Society Members on the Met
Opera became a part of my life when my eighth-grade class traveled to NYC to attend a performance of Puccini’s La Bohème at the old Met. That day started my love of opera and, especially, the Metropolitan Opera. In 1970, when I was married with two children, my family made a job-related move to St. Louis, Missouri. Visits to NYC and the Met were infrequent. But thanks to the live Met radio broadcasts on Saturday afternoons, we never stopped listening to opera.
After the radio broadcasts, I would often call my mother in New Jersey, and we would discuss what we had heard. By sharing what we had experienced, our personal bond was strengthened. That is why I decided to include the Metropolitan Opera in my estate planning with a gift for the purpose of promoting opera productions on radio and television or in other media forms. I know my mother would be pleased.
Rev. Terence Blackburn
I grew up in Flint, Michigan, where my love of opera was nurtured through the Saturday afternoon Met broadcasts. At the age of 10 or 11, a friend and I would go to the Flint Public Library and check out the libretto for the following Saturday's broadcast. We would get together at one of our houses, our moms would make us lunch, and we'd listen to the performances coming live from the stage of the Met. This continued through high school, and by then I was hooked on opera.
I am remembering the Met in my will because I always want there to be a "first time" for new opera lovers. It gives me great pleasure to think of the joy, the splendor, and the sheer magnificence that await future generations, and I'm happy to do my small part to see that the Met goes on and on and on.
The Metropolitan Opera came to me relatively late in my life. Unlike many of my colleagues on the Met’s Young Associate Steering Committee, I didn’t grow up with opera. My parents were, and still are, unfamiliar with it.
The first time I bought tickets to a Metropolitan Opera performance was as a birthday present for my (now) ex-husband. I thought it would be something new and different to try. But Faust hooked me, and I instantly fell head over heels for the Met. My passion was such that after my first full season of opera, I sought out the Young Associates Steering Committee so that I could be even more involved with the company.
Thus, with opera being such an integral part of my life, it was an easy decision to include the Metropolitan Opera in my estate planning. It is, and always will be, something that makes me happy, in life and in death, just like my favorite opera stories.
As a Canadian teenager, I started listening to the Metropolitan’s radio broadcasts in the 1950s. I was drawn to beautiful voices, portraying fascinating characters and telling gripping stories, but I had to rely on my own imagination to “see” Renata Tebaldi’s Mimi or Mario del Monaco’s Otello because my life did not accommodate trips to New York.
All that changed in March 1997—my first opera weekend at the Met. What an exhilarating experience that was, when all those mental images became reality! The majesty of Lincoln Center, the inspiring artistry of the Chagall murals, the simple elegance of the house, the sparkle of the chandeliers, and the famed gold curtain. And when it went up, my life was enriched forever.
Considering the immeasurable enjoyment I have received, how could I not want to give something in return? The Encore Society has given me the ideal way to express my gratitude. Thank you, Metropolitan Opera.
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