I have just completed a deed of gift to transfer to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts a large part of life’s work in the form of interviews with classical music and theatre artists, scrapbooks of photos and articles, correspondence, scores, and video documents of my collaborations with – among others – Thomas Hampson, Peter Hofmann, and so many more, along with monetary support for their digitalization and preservation. The Music Division at Lincoln Center is now in possession of some eighty-seven tapes, in order for them to begin the preservation process, and the rest will transfer to them over the years, but no later than upon my death. Since I am still working as a journalist, this collection will likely grow over the years as well. The Library will offer the collection as the Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold Collection for research purposes. For almost forty years when I lived and worked in New York, the Lincoln Center Library was invaluable to me in my career as an arts journalist, so this is a small acknowledgement of the tremendous resources they preserve and a tribute to the many wonderful artists with whom I have had the privilege to come in contact and who have so enriched my life.
It was a wintry day in 1964 when I slipped into the family circle standing room section of the old Metropolitan Opera on 39th Street and Broadway in Manhattan. I had convinced my overprotective mother to allow me to go – unchaperoned! – to New York to hear La Bohème. I had been listening to it on my grandfather’s old 78s and vinyl recordings for years, along with all the other staples of the Italian repertoire, but I wanted to SEE a performance onstage. It was the theatre, as well as the music which gripped me, and in that last year of the glorious old house, I wanted to experience the magic. From the moment the curtain went up on the Paris garret to the heart rending cries of “Mimi!,” I was transported to another place, a realm that captivated me and has continued to hold me in thrall for over fifty years. READ MORE