Thursday, December 1, 2011

Caroline H. Dworin Explores a Childhood Filled With Theatrics

Caroline as a child with opera glasses
"Both our parents worked in the theater, and my father, a stage or company manager in the West End, could never leave his work behind. He returned to our home like a magpie, with the strangest objects in his beak. Backstage remnants became part of our lives. When a show ended its run, scattering its cast and crew onto the street, and occasionally leaving him jobless, he would be cheered by the recovery of leftovers, any props or trinkets he could snare. My mother indulged this. We had a black feather boa, and a cane and some opera glasses that both once belonged to Hermione Gingold, and a replica bottle of Moët & Chandon, which opened from its middle to become part cigarette holder and part music box. The piano I played was once used in a Gershwin review. There was a .32-caliber starting pistol that fired blanks offstage in Act II of A Little Night Music, and in our mother’s wardrobe, buried out of sight, hung a fox fur stole with the face still on it. When bored or in search of danger, I would hunt it down, take it in my hands and look it dead in the eye. It looked right back at me with its dreadful, flattened scowl." [Source]

Hermione Gingold in her U.S. opera debut as The Duchess of Krakenthorp in La Fille du Régiment at the San Francisco Opera in 1974. The cast included Beverly Sills, Spiro Malas, William Harness and was conducted by Anton Guadagno. The production was by Lotfi Mansouri and the performances were sung in English.

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