My mind was in a happy whirl. I could not believe: it. Here I was, sitting in tenth row center seats with my parents al the Civic Opera House in Chicago. It was November 4th, 1957, and a performance of Lyric Opera of Chicago's La Boheme was about to begin. I had just learned learned during the first intermission, I was to be taken backstage to meet my musical idol, Jussi Bjorling. The house lights dimmed, the conductor took his place. I was about to hear Jussi sing in person for the first time. BuT how was I going to be able to focus on the performance, knowing what awaited me in the intermission? The curtain rose, and there he was. He looked up from the writing desk at which he was seated, and began to sing. That voice which I knew so well from recordings soared effortlessly out over the audience to a burst of applause, and I was instantly drawn in to the music and the moment. I need not have worried about focus-I was keenly aware of every note and every nuance. "Che gelida manina" was glorious, the applause tremendous, and then suddenly, the first intermission was here.

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