Longest serving violinist is hooked on Met operas

Longest serving violinist is hooked on Met operas


norman lebrecht

December 26, 2020

We hear from her daughter that the violinist Frances Darger, who retired from the Utah Symphony Orchestra in 2012 after 69 years, has a compelling new hobby.

Frances has just turned 96 years old and, living at home alone, has watched the Metropolitan Opera streaming every day. So far, she has racked up 250 operas.


  • Greg Bottini says:

    It’s a heck of a lot better retirement hobby than watching *soap* operas all day!

    • henry williams says:

      i agree mr bottini. i have been retired 14 years. i have never played so many cds. and read so many
      books in my life. this keeps me going.

    • Barry Guerrero says:

      I’ll take soap operas over the acoustics of the Met. Their broadcasts sound like doo-doo.

  • Bostin'Symph says:

    I’m with Frances on this one! Notwithstanding the troubles at the Met caused by the Covid shutdown, the free streams have been a real boon. It would be nice to think that all opera companies who could afford to might make quality opera productions available to the masses all the time. It’s a great way to engender a new audience for this fabulous art form.

  • Anon says:

    Wonderful & an important piece of history! So many women in the US got their start in orchestras during the war in the early 40’s when the men were away at war. Hornist Helen Kotas, the 1st woman to be appointed to a Principal position in a major US orch. (yes, she precedes Doriot Dwyer!) didn’t fare so well once the war was over when the men came back. I believe she was demoted or asked to leave.

    I like Mrs. Darger’s story because she came in the 40’s & stayed after the war. Of course she was a section player & not a Principal like Helen Kotas, but it’s fascinating to hear about her journey.

    It’s inspiring that at 96 she’s so well-spoken and lucid & that she’s documented her career so carefully. We should all be doing that. Especially those of us working thru these unprecedented Covid times. Someday people will want to hear our story, just as we appreciate hearing from Mrs. Darger now. Brava to her & to the person who made this excellent video interview!

  • Steve Proser says:

    Frances still tools around town in her silver Mustang! She’s remarkable human being.

  • John says:

    250 streamed operas? Perhaps she means 250 performances?

  • Tony says:

    Big (safe) hug for Ms. Darger, keep on listening and enjoying retirement!

  • Loop 7 says:

    Well, that’s a piece of gold.

    I wonder if her sharp mental faculties are the result of so much playing?

    • Peggy Sacher says:

      This is her daughter. I think it was a circular situation. Playing in the Symphony kept her sharp. Keeping sharp allowed her to continue playing.