Last evening, as on most Friday evenings, I had dinner with a group of friends whom I have known for years. Our group grows and shrinks but has not disappeared for over 25 years. The youngest member of the group is 60: the oldest, 87. Over the years, three of our original members passed away. At the end of the table, the oldest member and myself talked about some of the great performances we had seen last season on HD Opera from the Met.
At one point in our conversation, the discussion slipped from an analysis of the performance to our identification with the characters in Der Rosen Cavalier, especially with the Marschallin, the aging wife of an important political figure who had a young lover. At one point, the Marschallin realizes that she is long past her prime and that she must give up these dalliances with younger men. Neither my friend nor I, as respectable widows, have had a “dalliance” in many years.
For one long moment, we looked at each other with a wistful, nostalgic smile.