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The Baltimore Sun

Opera lover left with memories

Regarding "Death of Baltimore Opera leaves void" (Commentary, March 22):

I was 11 years old when my music teacher at P.S. 203, Alvina Macdonald, took us on a field trip.

She had schooled us well in Verdian lore, explaining every scene and aria that we were about to hear.

I remember getting off the bus and climbing many steps. I remember the conductor and the audience recognizing the great soprano Rosa Ponselle.

And then I was transfixed.

There were no subtitles then, so you had to know your libretto or you were lost. But what a wonder, what a marvelous art form. I was then and there addicted to the Baltimore Opera.

I was the youngest season ticket holder.

I had lunch with Ms. Ponselle.

Now I look at her photograph every day. And I think about what has happened to one of the greatest cultural treasures of this great city.

Finger-pointing does no good. The economic downturn is not the only reason this company became moribund.

All that is left is my book about the Baltimore Opera that was signed by Ms. Ponselle, and my autographed photo, and my tickets to paradise.

E. Grant Striegel, Glen Burnie

All arts in the city need our support

In Mary Ann Treger's grieving Commentary over the sad loss of the Baltimore Opera Company ("Death of Baltimore Opera leaves void"), she states that she wants to "be a better friend to the local symphony orchestra, museums and art galleries."

Her concern over the artistic state of Baltimore is admirable. However, there are many other artistic opportunities she neglected to consider. The many different theaters around town, along with at least two outstanding choral organizations, could use a few friends as well.

Please note also that opera is not dead in Baltimore. Out of the ashes of the Baltimore Opera phoenix has now risen the Baltimore Concert Opera. A new venture in opera programming, the BCO should not be ignored; rather, it could very well be the heir to Baltimore Opera.

John Wright, Baltimore

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