Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
When President and Mrs. Carter went backstage Wednesday night after the New York City Opera's production of the "The Barber of Seville," the cast seemed stunned at this proof that they had actually sat through the entire production.
Soprano Beverly Sills presented one of her long-stemmed pink roses to Mrs. Carter. "I figure if they stayed to the end, they deserve it." Richard Fredricks, who sang the role of Figaro just marveled at the Carters, saying. "And you stayed all the way through." And Donald Gramm, who was Don Bartolo, added, '"That's the true test."
After the performance, Sills husband, Peter Greenough, was hanging on to the birdcage with the mechanical bird which she sings with on stage. And the President was carrying enormous binoculars built for bird watching rather than opera viewing.
"I came back from Europe early just to catch this," the President told the cast. "Thank you for letting me come." He kissed Sills and said to conductor Sarah Caldwell's mother, Margaret Alexander, "How proud you must be of your daughter."
When the Carters had gone, the cast members changed clother and then went upstairs in the Kennedy Center to sing, as it were, for their supper. There Center's Performing Arts Fund was giving a supper, the proceeds of which wll help pay the deficit involved in bringing opera to Washington.
About 400 people were there at $200 a head, seated at round rables for a midnight supper. Tickets were open to the entire audience, and the supper was a mixture of black tie and sweaters with slacks.
The people from the opera neither sang nor had much of a chance to sup. Sills was seated at a conspicuous table in the north gallery where people came up with kisses and autograph books. And Caldwell was around the corner in a less conspicuous orchestra pit sort of position, where people came up with handshakes and liberettos to be autographed.