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Miriam Dvorin


Filene Center Orchestra

After slaving away for two years as a music specialist in the Milford, Connecticut public schools, I moved to the Washington, DC area. One day on a whim I called Wolf Trap Farm Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna, Virginia and asked how to apply to play in the orchestra. When I called the phone number I was given, the wife of the orchestra contractor answered. Learning that I was a folksinger, she expressed interest in adding me to the stable of artists she represented. Her husband knew two of my former violin teachers, Anastasia Jempelis and Urico Rossi, and hired me to play second violin in the orchestra. I was also tapped to play viola for a strings-only work by Brahms and mandolin for a guest appearance by Sherrill Milnes.

The Daughter of the Regiment

When I reported to the orchestra pit to rehearse the opera La Fille du régiment (The Daughter of the Regiment) by Gaetano Donizetti, I never expected to see someone I knew in the role of leading man (Tonio) singing opposite famed soprano Beverly Sills (Marie). Yet there was my voice teacher from Indiana University, tenor William (Bill to me) McDonald, onstage above me! An added plus was that this was the first performance at Wolf Trap taped for broadcast on PBS. That meant a residual for me and the thrill of seeing myself on national TV as the camera panned the orchestra. The opera plus a tour of Wolf Trap conducted by Sills as well as my few moments of glory are immortalized on this DVD.

Sherrill Milnes

When operatic baritone Sherrill Milnes performed at Wolf Trap, he wanted to sing the aria Deh, vieni alla finestra from Mozart's opera Don Giovanni, the mandolin-accompanied serenade in which the Don woos a comely maidservant. I borrowed a friend's bowlback mandolin and practiced all night until dawn. There I was - center stage with Milnes in front of thousands of people - but I felt no fear. I was totally absorbed in the music, in our duet, in the flow of the moment. Suddenly the aria ended. Milnes had me stand to bow with him, shaking my hand as the audience applauded and my orchestral colleagues tapped their music stands with their bows and shuffled their feet in approval.

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