Video | 5 Operas the Notorious RBG Wants You to Know

By Stephen Raskauskas |

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Associate Supreme Court Justice of the United States Ruth Bader Ginsburg in WFMT’s Levin Studio

On Monday, September 21, 2015, Justice Ginsburg visited WFMT, Chicago’s fine arts and classical radio station, to share her love of classical music and to explore the relationship between her two greatest passions: opera and the law. As the hour came to a close, Host Lisa Flynn asked the Justice to name 5 operas she wants everyone to know.

Ginsburg started with her favorite opera, Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, but she admitted that her second favorite opera, Don Giovanni, was in close contention for the top pick. She also chose Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, Verdi’s Otello, and Puccini’s La fanciulla del West to round out her five favorite operas.

Watch the video to see Justice Ginsburg’s full explanations.

It turns out that Ginsburg is not only an opera fan, but she is a character in a new opera, Scalia/Ginsburg, a comic one act with words and music by Derrick Wang that had its world premiere in July 2015. Though Scalia and Ginsburg often have different interpretations of the law, they have one thing in common… their love of opera.

As much as the Justice adores bel canto, she prefers to use her voice to give opinions on the law of the land. But, she admits that she loves to sing in the shower. Her favorite role to perform? Santuzza from Pietro Mascagni’s one-act opera Cavalleria rusticana.