On November 12th, and for one night only, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will portray the Duchess of Krakenthorp in the Washington National Opera's production of "The Daughter of the Regiment."
Please note: this is not the Notorious RBG's first role in an opera! Also, while the Duchess does not sing she will bust loose with the funny.
It's no cameo. According to the Washington National Opera, while this opera is "best known for its vocal acrobatics, the high-comedy antics" of the nonsinging duchess "often steal the show."
Indeed, for Ginsburg's one-night stand, the script has been altered. At one point, for example, after the duchess observes that the best leaders of the House of Krakenthorp have been "persons with open but not empty minds, individuals willing to listen and learn," she looks at the audience meaningfully, and asks, "Is it any wonder that the most valorous members … have been women?"
She goes on to list the qualifications for admission to the House of Krakenthorp, some of which sound suspiciously like the qualifications for being a Supreme Court justice — i.e., "must possess the fortitude to undergo intense scrutiny," and have a "character beyond reproach."
The 83-year-old justice will join a long list of notables who have played the Duchess of Krakenthorp — among them comediennes Bea Arthur and Hermione Gingold and retiring opera stars like Kiri Te Kanawa and Montserrat Caballe.
Ginsburg has had a lifetime love affair with opera. She often lectures about the law in opera and has said that her one regret in life is that she could not be a real operatic diva. She might have tried, she says, but for one thing: She can't sing.