Classical Music Is Supreme At The Nation's Highest Court
by Anastasia Tsioulcas
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a dedicated advocate of classical music.
This is a big week for classical music at the Supreme Court. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg provided Alex Ross at The New Yorker with a list of her favorite records. Not only does Justice Ginsburg have impeccable taste in opera — from Placido Domingo's classic Otello to the Nathan Gunn/Ian Bostridge Billy Budd — but her son, James Ginsburg, has become an important force in promoting Chicago-area musicians via his record label, Cedille.
Meanwhile, Justice Ginsburg has also invited one of the true giants among pianists, Leon Fleisher, to play for the Court .
In previous years, she has invited such current opera favorites as
Stephanie Blythe and Anthony Dean Griffey, extending a musical tradition
at the Court formerly fostered by Justice Harry A. Blackmun.
To top it off, Justice Ginsburg — who has made cameo appearances in Ariadne auf Naxos and Die Fledermaus at the Washington National Opera — hosted last year's NEA Opera Awards. In her remarks, she observed that Wagner's Ring
cycle "centers on a breach of contract — Wotan's repudiation of the
agreement he made to compensate the giants for building Valhalla. What
better illustration of the well-known legal maxim pactasunt servanda; in plain English, agreements must be kept."