It Seems Like Yesterday: Kennedy’s At the Opera


The new metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center relocated from the original at Broadway and 39th Street and opened on Friday, September 18, 1966. The excitement was visible as the glamorous audience took their seats for Anthony & Cleopatra, a dazzling production with Leontyne Price and Justino Díaz in the leads.

The photograph shown here was taken before the performance, as the elegant Senator Robert and Ethel Kennedy enjoyed dinner with his sister, Jean Kennedy Smith, on the mezzanine foyer of the new Met.

The legendary Marc Chagall was there to celebrate his magnificent murals for the space, The Triumph of Music and The Sources of Music, which dramatically flank either side of the walls at the Met’s entrance and are shown through the glass arches for all passersby to enjoy. Surrounded by many friends, Chagall was almost knocked to the ground by the mob of admirers jostling to get a glimpse of him as he entered his limo at the end of the evening.

Before Act Three began, the excitement level rose in the audience when General Manager Rudolf Bing stepped out to announce the threatened musicians’ strike had been averted.

Although the opening was 52 years ago, the evening is still vivid in my mind. And, as I have been known to say—it seems like yesterday. υ