The other day, alert “06880” reader Cheryl Wiener saw a PBS “Great Performances” documentary about the Metropolitan Opera House.
Memories flooded back of spring 1966. Coleytown Junior High School had just opened. Music teacher John Hanulik took Cheryl’s 9th grade class on a field trip to the Met.
They saw Puccini’s “The Girl of the Golden West,” at the new Lincoln Center location. It was so new, it was the very first performance at the new Metropolitan Opera House, before its official opening the following September.
That first test of the opera house with a live audience included a rifle shot — unexpected and scary, Wiener says.
The PBS documentary included a shot of Westport students walking across wooden platforms, into the new house:
Wiener went on to Staples High School. Hanulik did too — and a storied career there as orchestra director.
Wiener became a music educator too. Last June, she retired after many years with Connecticut Regional District 13.
“Needless to say,” she notes, “Westport music teachers had a great influence on me.”