I was saddened and suprised to learn of Maggie Carson’s death. Saddened because I liked the old girl, and suprised because I thought she’d gone years ago. That’s the thing with musical PRs: you don’t hear from them for a month or two and you assume they have either died or married a conductor.
When I started out at this game, there were two tough ladies in New York who could lunch you to death. One was Dorle Soria who, with her husband Dario, ran Angel Records, and the other was Margaret Carson who was gatekeeper to Leonard Bernstein and one of three living souls who could control him. I liked her on sight when she asked if I could slip a few pairs of tights into my suitcase for a colleague in London who was apparently having trouble keeping hers up (don’t ask – I certainly didn’t).
Every so often thereafter, I’d get a call, a chat, maybe a concert. Once, at a Mahler 9th conducted by one of her artists, she decided at the deathly opening of the adagio to open her portmanteau of a purse and unwrap the loudest boiled sweet I had ever experienced. While others around us shushed and glared, she sucked away with an angelic smile and fell sweetly asleep. They don’t make them like that no more.