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Legacy Oral History Online Collection

Oliver Audio Clip and Transcript

Oliver Audio Clip

I worked for a gal who had a music show. She sang and played the piano and she was quite good. Through some connection that I can't quite remember, she got an interview with Toscanini’s daughter, who, I believe, was anxious to promote an organization that raised money for elderly Sicilian musicians. This young woman and I were to present ourselves at this beautiful apartment on the East Side for an interview. So I got there, rang the doorbell and an imposing Italian housekeeper came to the door. No smile, you know? And she asked me who I was. I told her and I said that Wanda Toscanini was expecting me. Toscanini's daughter was, at that point, married to another famous musician, Vladimir Horowitz. Anyway, I went up to the lovely, lovely living room and I looked around and I suddenly realized that what I was seeing on the walls were honest-to-God original Van Gogh paintings. I suddenly remembered that her husband collected them; I had read it somewhere that it was a passion of his.

I was stunned. So she looked at me and she said, “Can I get you something to drink?” And I said, "Yes.” (Laughs) I think I ended up drinking a glass of wine at eleven o'clock in the morning. And then the young talent on the show arrived and she took over and everything was fine. But that was great fun, you know, those kinds of things.

©Museum of Performance + Design

Barbara Oliver
Oliver Audio Clip and Transcript