Rewind: July 1, 1937

Basking in the glow of the 1936 renewal of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s residency at Ravinia, the festival paid tribute to its partnership with the ensemble during the early 1900s, when Ravinia was known as the “summer opera capital of the world,” with a gala season-opening performance on July 1, 1937, in honor of Louis Eckstein, who oversaw The Ravinia Company from 1911 to 1931. (He once quipped, “Some men have a yacht; I have Ravinia.”) The concert featured the return of three singers who had helped define Ravinia’s opera prowess, soprano Lucrezia Bori (1924 debut), tenor Armand Tokatyan (1923 debut; replacing Mario Chamlee, who debuted in 1921), and bass Léon Rothier (1919 debut), each also a regular figure at the Metropolitan Opera. Leading the program was Ravinia’s de facto principal conductor from 1917 until 1931, Gennaro Papi. Astoundingly, the four artists had never shared the same stage at Ravinia until that glittering night.