August 12, 2013

Regina Resnik

On August 8, 2013, opera star Regina Resnik passed away. The legendary Metropolitan Opera star was a friend of Al Hirschfeld's, along with her husband artist and deisgner Arbit Blatas. Louise Kerz Hirschfeld has these memories of the friendship she shared with Resnik after Louise and Al married.

Al Hirschfeld and I decided to get married…Regina treated us like contemporaries and said: Visit us in Venice!

In the summer of 1996, Al and I crossed the Atlantic on the Queen Elizabeth. He gave some lectures on the ship to the delight of the passengers. We had a very busy schedule in Europe, and after some time at The Lutetia Hotel in Paris we boarded a train for a fine visit with the Sangers at their chateau in Perpignan. Then…

We made our way along Southern Europe to Nice…and caught the night train to Venice. Our early morning arrival in that glorious city was UNFORGETTABLE. A gondola took us to The Hotel Cipriani ….

Regina Resnik made the reservations for us…easy for her, she knew the owner and had lived for several months a year in Venice with her husband the artist Arbit Blatas.

That experience was our pre-nuptial honeymoon. Regina showed us around Venice…we saw the Ghetto where Arbit’s frieze sculpture “Monument of the Holocaust,” covered one entire wall. A heartfelt work of art.

We toured the sights, had fabulous dinners and conversations. Regina also planned our visit to Florence and another grand hotel which overlooked the city.

In the intervening years Regina and Arbit were frequent dinner guests. My knowledge of opera came strictly from the Met Opera radio broadcasts on Saturdays. How thrilling for me personally to hear opera stories…Renate Tabaldi…Mr. Rudolf Bing…and how dangerous modern design was for opera singers …would they fall off a raked stage?

The Al Hirschfeld Foundation supported several Regina/Michael Philip Davis projects which enhanced our understanding of Judaic musical subjects both in concert and on television.

Their collaboration exuded incredible musical knowledge and creativity and added yet another chapter to Regina’s life. I shall always remember her magnificent voice filled with the colors of the rainbow.

Hirschfeld only drew one drawing of Resnik for publication, a 1987 revivial of Cabaret. the portrait above is a detail of that work.

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