Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Love Of Opera Comes Through In Tributes
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday at 87, will be remembered for her fight for women's rights and her 27-year reign on the U.S. Supreme Court. Her status as a pop-culture icon included a hit documentary, Saturday Night Live skits and even merchandising.
But her profound love of opera also came through in many tributes upon news of her death — as many colleagues, foes and, yes, opera organizations posted on Twitter.
"I saw my first opera when I was 11," the LA Opera quoted Ginsburg as saying in its tweet with a video clip. "I loved the combination of glorious and high drama."
The opera company added, "We hope you rest in peace listening to beautiful music, Justice Ginsberg. #RIPRBG"
Here is that tweet and select others:
One of the most beautiful and interesting modern public friendships was that between Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her ideological opposite Antonin Scalia. They both loved opera, law and the U.S.A. I always loved their relationship. Let this part of their legacy be an example to us all— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) September 19, 2020
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a credit to the Court.— Rudy W. Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) September 18, 2020
I disagreed with many of her decisions but they were all well reasoned and well argued.
She was a close friend of her ideological opposite, Justice Scalia.
They both loved opera, law and the U.S.A.
May She Rest In Peace
We join the world in mourning the loss of trailblazing icon and champion of the law and the arts, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Wolf Trap Foundation has been fortunate to have shared a love of opera with Ginsburg throughout the years. Her presence & guidance will truly be missed. pic.twitter.com/GbiSPFBwHp— Wolf Trap (@Wolf_Trap) September 19, 2020
Earlier this year, Bader told Sirius XM that her love for opera began in 1944.
"My aunt — who taught English in a middle school in Brooklyn, New York — took me to a high school where there was an abbreviated performance of [Amilcare Ponchielli's] La Gioconda," she said. "I was just blown away by it. I'd never heard such glorious music."
In a follow-up special for Pandora, she spun selections from some of her favorite operas, including Giacomo Puccini's Tosca and La Boheme, Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier, and Giuseppe Verdi's La Forza del Destino.
"I tend to be consumed by my work. … I'm thinking about it when I go to sleep," she said. "But when I go to the opera, I leave all the briefs on the shelf and just enjoy the great performances."
She even found herself at the center of her favorite art form in 2015, when American composer Derrick Wang created the comic opera Scalia/Ginsburg to portray the complex relationship between her High Court opposite and close friend Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016.
But her crowning artistic achievement surely came in November 2016, when she took the stage in the Washington National Opera's production of Gaetano Donizetti's The Daughter of the Regiment. She appeared as the Duchess of Krakenthorp, a speaking comedic role that included some of Ginsburg's own lines.
Anne Midgette of the Washington Post (as colleague Jay Gabler noted then in his review) described the scene:
The audience "roared with love at the curtain call, which she took after all the other performers, dropping, as she did so, a most elegant little curtsy."
Rest in peace, Justice Ginsburg.