I saw my first opera at 25. Now, I’m 105 and still going strong

I saw my first opera at 25. Now, I’m 105 and still going strong


norman lebrecht

July 29, 2016

This is Aaron Blecker, retired Manhattan CPA, talking to the Met orchestra musicians:

The first time I went to the Met was in 1936, with my future wife, Sophie Barman. When we were dating, we discovered that we both liked opera, but neither of us could afford to go. I wanted to surprise her, so I bought two tickets. To save up enough money, I sacrificed some lunches and walked with packages instead of taking the subway. We saw Tristan und Isolde. Lauritz Melchior sang, I believe. We sat in the uppermost part of the second balcony at the old Met at 40th and Broadway. Each ticket cost 55 cents.

aaron blecker

We loved it. It’s 80 years later and I still remember it. She was happy that I got it and we were both happy that we saw it. To go to the opera was a great treat for us. To be able to see it in person and hear the splendid voices…with the records you had a lot of static, and to hear the voices live was a much more thrilling experience.

Full interview here.

Aaron hopes to be present for the dress rehearsal of Tristan und Isolde this fall.


  • Robert Holmén says:

    55¢… about $8.25 in today’s money.

  • V.Lind says:

    Aaron should be present, as a guest of the Met, at everything he wants to attend for the rest of his life.

  • Barbara Currie says:

    He made it to the dress rehearsal of Tristan, watched the whole opera (5 hours), and held court at a press event at the Met including being interviewed by the NY Post newspaper today.