To Orfeo ed Euridice: A Sunday Adventure for Two Music Lovers

Sunday evening is not the easiest time for two seniors to get into The Memorial Church at Harvard University. All but one of the gates in the yard are locked, and arranging for a cab to drop one off at the right spot can be difficult.

This did not stop Youville House residents Marcella and Gerrard from attending a performance of Orfeo ed Euridice at Memorial Church, on Sunday, October 19. Part of the fun and intrigue was in figuring out how to get them there – a challenge solved with the Youville House Volvo and a special permit to enter Harvard Yard at the Widener Gate. With these ingenious solutions, the residents were able to make their way down ramps, up elevators, to their reserved seats.

The church was packed for the 300th anniversary of the opera’s composer, Christoph Willibald Gluck. The performance featured the Harvard University Choir; a guest orchestra, Grand Harmonie; and soloists Julia Mintzer as Orfeo, Amanda Forsythe as Euridice, and Margot Rood as Amore. The opera was performed to standing ovation.  It was a concert that had the two residents in awe of the talent so close to home and so easily accessible – with just a bit of creative problem-solving.

A 98-year old former child prodigy of piano, Marcella moved to Cambridge to be close to her son and family.  Gerrard, a longtime music enthusiast in his 80s, returned to the area to be close to his daughter. In the process, these two music buffs met at Youville House, became friends and now engage in their shared favorite pastime: critiquing concerts in Boston and Cambridge.

Usually, they manage to arrange all the details themselves and sail off to their events, eager for adventure. They report back on traffic, ease of getting a taxi for the ride home and have colorful stories to share for days. Their lives are enriched by their common interest and certainly by the central location of Youville House to cultural events nearby. They continue to engage their love of the arts, while proving that new friendships can arise even late in life.

-Ildiko Szabo, Community Life Coordinator