The recent letters to The Reporter on schools and love of teaching reminded me of an older brother whose life was changed because of a teacher. I was listening on WQXR Saturday afternoon to Richard Wagner’s last opera in his great Ring cycle, broadcast live from the NY Metropolitan opera: “Gotterdammerung.”
When my brother was in the 5th grade at Woodrow Wilson school, (this was around 1944) his teacher was a Miss Schraegler, who also taught music. Somehow she got her class to sing the Children’s Chorus in the opera “Carmen,” which the Met had brought on tour to San Antonio. So there was my brother, on stage with famous opera singers and the whole gaudy business, costumes and orchestra, and he was totally smitten.
From then on he was an opera lover, beginning, as most do, with the lyric, Italian, but graduating eventually to Wagner. In his long life (he died two years ago) he has attended hundreds of operas, and has seen the Ring cycle many times, here and in Germany and around the world.
And it began with a great teacher. If there had been no Miss Schraegler…..