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Remembering Igor Stravinsky

Igor Stravinsky died on this day on April 6, 1971 in New York. The composer was born on June 17, 1882 near St. Petersburg in Russia. In 1939 Stravinsky emigrated to the United States. Throughout his career he performed in the great cathedrals and opera houses around the world. When John Crosby invited him to perform at the inaugural season of the Santa Fe Opera he became smitten with the high-desert capitol.

The Rake’s Progress

The Rake’s Progress was his first opera to take place in 1957. Unfortunately, his first performance was cancelled because of rain at the outdoor venue. But the weather didn’t dampen Stravinsky’s enthusiasm for the young opera company. The composer continued working with Crosby attending all of his operas through 1963. Stravinsky’s support during the opera’s formative years solidified its reputation in becoming one of the most respected institutions in the world of opera.

Stravinsky’s Last Santa Fe Performance

Stravinsky’s last performance, took place on August 18, 1963, at the Basilica Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi. It was a fitting farewell for the composer. At the conclusion of of his composition, Mass, he received the Papal Knighthood of St. Sylvester. The highest honor for a lay person by the Catholic Church was bestowed to Igor Stravinsky at the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi. Pope John XXIII conferred the honor to the composer shortly before his death on June 3, 1963.

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