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September 17, 1966 marked the opening of the new Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center. The idea to base an opera on Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra was suggested originally by Schippers. He of course conducted this opening performance. Perhaps no other opera premiere had ever been so extensively covered. In fact the press, not the public, on opening night decreed the failure of Antony and Cleopatra. The cast, nevertheless, received 14 curtain calls at the end of the tragic Third Act. Unfortunately, the would-be spectacular Zeffirelli staging went awry and even though the cast and conductor were superb the performance was generally regarded as a catastrophe.


1970 marked Schippers’ first season as conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra succeeding Max Rudolph. Having the permanent position of conductor was something he had wanted to achieve for some time. He and his wife bought a lovely house there in the residential area of Hyde Park. Schippers was avid about Bridge and often invited guests to their home to participate in this game. His close friend Merle Hubbard, however, sustains that “Bridge was the only thing Tommy never completely mastered!”

 

Studying a score in the early morning
 
The Schippers home on Bedford Avenue in Cincinnati
 

Upon assuming the directorship of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Schippers devolved his entire salary to its Pension Fund. He remained conductor there until his death but did continue to conduct in many different venues such as the Metropolitan Opera, the Spoleto Festival, the Teatro Comunale of Florence, La Scala of Milan and others concurrently with his position in Cincinnati.


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