Tuesday, October 22, 2013

 

A perfectly lovely story

I have shamelessly lifted this story from the New York Times.  I know it will come as a great shock that there's a gay love story from the world of theater/opera/classical music  :-)  but this one has a surprise tag at the end that's just wonderful. 

Curtain Up on a New Production


Allen Klein, Bliss Hebert

By ROSALIE R. RADOMSKY

Published: October 20, 2013

Allen Charles Klein and Bliss Hebert were married Tuesday morning by James Mitchell, a marriage officiant at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau in New York. 

Since 1962, Mr. Klein, an opera scenery and costume designer, and Mr. Hebert, an opera stage director, have worked together in more than 100 productions. Their credits include Verdi’s “Aida,” at the Cincinnati Opera in July; Puccini’s “Turandot,” at the Dallas Opera in March; and Verdi’s “La Traviata,” at the Miami Opera in April and at the Dallas Opera in 2012.

They also worked on Offenbach’s “Tales of Hoffmann,” starring Plácido Domingo and Joan Sutherland, at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 1973; Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro,” featuring the United States debut of Kiri Te Kanawa, at the Santa Fe Opera in 1972; and “Pelléas and Mélisande,” at the Santa Fe Opera, with Frederica von Stade’s debut as Mélisande in 1972.
Mr. Klein (left), 73, created productions for the Vienna State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, La Fenice in Venice, the Scottish Opera, the Edinburgh Festival and the Glyndebourne Festival. He graduated from Boston University.

He is a son of the late Edna Klein and the late Charles Klein, who lived in Brooklyn.
Mr. Hebert, 82, who has been the stage director of 320 productions of 120 operas, was the general manager of the Washington, D.C., Opera Company from 1960 to 1964, and a founding member of the Santa Fe Opera Company, where he worked until 1986. From 1957 to 1963 he worked with Igor Stravinsky on three operas, including five productions of “The Rake’s Progress.” Mr. Hebert was the prompter for Maria Callas in “La Traviata” at the Dallas Opera in 1958, and again in Bellini’s “La Pirata” at Carnegie Hall in New York in 1960. He graduated from Syracuse, from which he also received a master’s in music focusing on piano performance.  Mr. Hebert is the son of the late Merle Hebert and the late Wilfrid Hebert, who lived in Glens Falls, N.Y. 

Though Mr. Klein and Mr. Hebert met in 1962 while working at the Washington opera and quickly became a couple, it wasn’t until one evening in 1964 that anyone else brought up their relationship.
Mr. Klein recalled that he and Mr. Hebert had just seen the movie “Fantasia,” with its classically derived soundtrack, including an excerpt from Mr. Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring.” On the way home, crossing 57th Street in front of Carnegie Hall, they ran into Mr. Stravinsky; his wife, Vera, and the conductor Robert Craft. 

“They all greeted Bliss with great happiness and many kisses,” Mr. Klein said, adding, “Stravinsky was tiny and glowing with electricity.” Mr. Hebert immediately introduced Mr. Klein to Mr. Stravinsky. 

“I had to speak business with Robert Craft,” Mr. Hebert said, “and Allen was with Stravinsky alone.” At one point, Mr. Stravinsky took Mr. Klein by the arm, separating him from the group.
That was when Mr. Stravinsky, in his Russian accent, asked Mr. Klein, “Tell me, my dear, do you love our Bliss very much?” 

“I recall being rather shocked by such a question,” he said. “Remember, this was 1964. I stuttered out, ‘Yes, I do,’ to which the composer responded, ‘Well, then, my dear, you must take very good care of our Bliss.’ ” 

Mr. Klein added, “ I’ve tried to do that ever since.”

**********

Personal Note:  Allen Klein had graduated from the Boston University School of Theater a couple of years before I arrived there to study scenic design.  He did some work in the local theater/opera scene before leaving for the wider world.  Great things were predicted for him that obviously came true.   

Comments:
I wonder if you saw this NYTimes Online video posted last Saturday, October 19. I have always been a complete pushover for the 'throwaway line', and the one at the very end (about the cake) of the video gave me a smile, laced for some reason with a small tear.

http://www.nytimes.com/video/fashion/weddings/100000002507994/vows-mr-duckett-and-dr-jones.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20131020
 
Thanks, Dave--
Those men are a really beautiful couple.
 
Thanks for sharing this.
 
Lovely. Stories like this give me hope for our collective histories and our future.

Happy Holidays.
 
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