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November 14, 2010

MORE ABOUT BIDU IN NEW YORK

Bidu and the Two Presidents in Her New York Apartment

For years Bidu was criticized for the two pictures she had hanging next to each other on the wall of her New York residence. Two autographed pictures, one of President Roosevelt and one of Mussolini, hung proudly in her living room begging for attention and an explanation. Bidu would always reply that to her, the two men were very kind and generous and she was proud to have known both of them in her life time.

War Time: President Roosevelt

During World War II, Bidu performed countless concerts and performances for the troops and caught the attention of President Roosevelt for her work in supporting the war effort. She was invited to an event where Roosevelt recognized Bidu and offered her American citizenship. She politely turned it down saying that she loved America but she would die a Brazilian. Roosevelt insisted but Bidu stood by her convictions and graciously declined. Her relationship with Brazil would always be a tumultuous but prominent one throughout her life.

War Time: Mussolini

While the war was going on, Bidu was still performing operas in Europe and touring as she did prior. She was scheduled to sing a Don Pasquale in Rome and at the time nationalism was strong and heightened. The opera company management refused to allow anyone other than a born Italian to sing in the production, resulting in the discrimination of Bidu as a participant. When Mussolini caught wind of this decision, he called management and told them the opera would be cancelled if Bidu was not allowed to sing the role. The directors of the company gave in to the ultimatum and the opera was performed with Bidu as the only foreign performer. The picture on the wall was a reminder of the kind gesture of a man who chose to recognize her for her ability and art above the discrimination and hatred which was so prevalent during that time.




MY NEW CHAPTER

The Doll Maker

One Sunday morning when I was nine, my parents decided to drive through Homosassa Springs where a doll factory caught their eye. I vaguely remember the doll maker's wife giving us a tour of the factory and admiring the rows of beautiful dolls on display. My parents chose three Naber Kid "Jake" dolls as an investment, and hoped it would secure a financial boost for me in the future.
Ten years later, I founded Youth Opera Appreciation and was looking for funding. I wondered if it was the right time to sell them and felt surely it was a worthy cause. I found Mr. Naber online and sent him an email. He replied," You should try selling them on eBay." That was the extent of his communication. At the time, I wasn't familiar with eBay and didn't look into it further. The dolls went back in their box and I hid them away in the back of my closet never to set eyes on them again until ten years later.

When I decided to move to Germany and write a play about Bidu Sayao, I knew I needed to start a campaign to raise money for the costs. Any money generated from the move went toward the idea and dream of this project including my dolls, which were supposed to bring me money when I needed it the most. Once again, I set out to find Mr. Harald Naber and I found him. I emailed him a second time much like the one I sent ten years before and again he replied, "You should sell them on eBay." But the rest of his email read differently. I caught his attention with my story of dreams and adventure and he wanted to hear more. It turned out that Harald is German and he lives in a little town called Trendelburg, three hours north of Jena. We communicated during my time of culture shock and adjustment and shared some of my experiences while he responded with compelling stories of his own. We emailed about life in a foreign country and the topsy-turvy influence it has on our lives. It was a great reconnect and we had a great understanding. One day, I got an email from Harald about teaching English to kindergarten children using his dolls as a medium. I was open to the idea. I had recently become acquainted with some musicians who live in Dusseldorf and I wondered how I would get closer to them. I asked about money and a place to live and the answer was yes to both. It sounded perfect! During our correspondence, Harald also became one of the backers of the project and was well aware of my commitment. I reminded him of the investment I had in the play and what it would involve for the next couple of years and he reminded me that he was a backer and a believer in dreams. Everything seemed to be in place to make a move and continue my journey. At that moment, I made another life altering decision.  After the New Year I will move again and start a new chapter in Trendelberg, Germany, during which I will begin the European section and research of Bidu's life.



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