The Met Orchestra Muscians welcomed back their oldest retiree, harpist Reinhardt Elster, for a visit to his former workplace at the Metropolitan Opera House. Elster, now 100, served a 38-year stint as harpist with the orchestra from 1948–1986. “By the time he retired, Elster had played in thousands of performances,” says Jennifer Johnson, Met Orchestra music librarian and author of an article on the Met Orchestra Musicians blog chronicling Reinhart’s return visit. “He’d heard the first notes of Marian Anderson’s racially groundbreaking debut in 1955, and the last phrase that the iconic Lily Pons ever sang at the Met in 1960. He had watched workers lay the foundation for the current opera house in Lincoln Center, and witnessed conductor Leopold Stokowski’s futile plea to save the old one.” Mariko Anraku, current harpist with Met Orchestra, helped guide Elster through a back-stage tour that included meeting up with current orchestra members as well as Music Director James Levine.
Read the full story on the Met Orchestra Musicians blog.