A romantic story that has been passed down in my family is that my grandfather proposed to my grandmother during the 2nd intermission of Madama Butterfly. This was Chicago in the early 1920’s, and the opera company at the time was named The Chicago Grand Opera Company, whose performances were given at The Auditorium Theatre. It was the first resident opera company in Chicago pre-dating Lyric Opera of Chicago, where almost six decades later my husband, Jack, a romantic who loves history, would propose to me during the intermission of Madama Butterfly — in 1978.
I had been a cellist in the orchestra for two years, and Jack likes to say when he leaned over the edge of the pit and proposed, the entire bass section said “yes.”
Years later, I had the opportunity to tell our conductor, Bruno Bartoletti, that my grandfather proposed to my grandmother during the 2nd intermission of Madama Butterfly. Bruno, less of a romantic than my husband Jack, looked at me strangely and said, “They did Butterfly in three acts?”