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But the Czech superstar did not appear in the United States until 1978, when OONY presented Janacek's Katya Kabanova.
She debuted in 1994 with OONY in the rarely heard but certainly worthwhile Rimsky-Korsakov opera The Tsar's Bride.
When an opera organization takes the type of risks OONY does, however, it must sometimes fail.
Bergonzi asked OONY to present Otello with him in the title role.
"But now, at my age, what have I got to lose?" Even though an OONY board member warned Queler that if Bergonzi failed many would blame her, not him, she nonetheless went along with the idea.
After a very lengthy intermission, an anonymous OONY employee walked onstage and announced that the great tenor was indisposed and would not go on.
The bottom line: Queler gambled with Bergonzi's Otello and, in one of the very few instances for OONY, lost and lost big.
There also is resentment that her husband provided OONY financial support during its early years.
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