Budapest-born soprano Marta Eggerth, who performed in everything from Strauss to Sondheim, has passed away at the age of 101.
My brother-in-law Gregory Elmaloglou, retired assistant principal cellist of the Sydney Symphony orchestra, joined up with his musician friend Ruth Rack, a mezzo soprano and pianist Emily Courtright to give a concert at the Holdsworth Commuity Care Centre in Woollahra Sydney on October 30th during my recent visit. The concert was given for older members of the Eastern Suburbs Jewish community, who meet there for companionship and fellowship, all sharing a common memory of suffering in the Holocaust. Ruth was born in Leipzig in 1929. She told me her father was an opera singer, murdered by the Nazis, and her mother too. Ruth came to England as a child under the Kindertransport child rescue scheme, eventually married and settled in Australia. She wrote a memoir of her experience in Book of Ruth: Memoirs of a Child Survivor, and she gives talks to schools. I have been very moved making this film. Although Ruth does not say as much explicitly, her choice of pieces and the quality of her singing, together with Greg’s sensitive cello playing and Emily’s superb skill at the piano, combine to convey a message of compassion, forgiveness, and tremendous courage that I find inspiring. The modest elegance of all three and their generosity in giving of their professional skills to a small group of non-concert-goers for no financial reward stands out to me as a shining example of the spirit of the field of work that I’m involved in, which is peacemaking.