To the Editor:

As a Stanford undergraduate in the 1950s I was an occasional, silent “spear-carrier” for the San Francisco Opera Company. For the 1952 Aida I was costumed as an Egyptian soldier. The skimpy tunic was drafty. My tacit, spear-carrying station at the very footlights above the orchestra pit amplified my sense of drafty exposure. Ah, what one must do for art!

My Scottish grandmother was an avid opera lover and had been an aspiring professional opera singer. She lived near Stanford and often invited me for family meals. Busying herself in the kitchen she would occasionally treat us to snatches of arias including Aida’s O Patria Mia. In 1952 she presented me with her copyright 1897 vocal score of this Verdi masterpiece. I still treasure that score.

In 2017, after 65 years of chorus work, occasional minor roles and voiceless spear-carrying, I hung up my weapon. I then joined the silent majority in the house.


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