First Person Singular

(Mike Morgan - )
Sunday, March 9, 2008

It has been such a joy coming to the Kennedy Center. This is my 27th year. I started right after college. I was very poor, and I thought, What an opportunity to get to see live performances. The first opera I saw was "The Barber of Seville." I was standing in the back, and the overture started, bum bum bum bah. I blurted out, "Oh, my goodness, that's from Bugs Bunny!" I kind of looked around to be sure that nobody had seen the ignorant usher that didn't know the difference.

I saw the first time [Mikhail] Baryshnikov danced with [Natalia] Markova in "Swan Lake." [One] day, I physically bumped into Baryshnikov. I had turned around and there he was -- his blue eyes pierced me, and my knees gave way. He caught my elbow, and I said, "Hello." He was so gracious.

When I first moved here, I didn't know anybody, and it was like an instant family, because you came to a place where people have similar interests in the arts. I actually met my husband working here. I came up to the Terrace Theater one Saturday night, and there he was. He was working in his little red jacket and his black bow tie, and I always say a man in uniform is hard to resist. We started chatting and started dating, and that was it. My husband and I always laugh because in our salad days, when we were dating, we were such cheap dates. We could go to the opera for free. We would go to the ballet or the opera or the theater.

Many years ago we were evacuated, and we had to go and stand outside. Rudolf Nureyev was here with his company, and they were doing "Swan Lake," so all the little ballerinas were out in their swan outfits, and they were all standing near the fountains. We were just all laughing and smiling. They were by their water, as swans should be.

--Interview by Robin Rose Parker

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