Opera’s Greatest Stars Pay Tribute to Late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

By David Salazar

On Sept. 18, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg died at the age of 87.

Ginsburg was known as a fearless leader who fought for gender equality and women’s rights and served on the Sumpreme Court for 27 years. She was also a lover of opera and frequently attended performances. She even made her operatic debut in 2016 in a production of “La Fille du Regiment” at the Washington National Opera alongside Lawrence Brownlee. There was even an opera made about her!

Upon hearing about the death of Ginsberg, many opera stars took to social media to pay tribute and express their condolences.

Here are some reactions.

“Because 2020 hasn’t done enough,” wrote soprano Christine Goerke on her Instagram page. “I would say may her memory be a blessing, but everything about her always has been. She always will be a blessing.

“Thank you, Ruth. You fought your entire life. For your family, for our daughters, for their futures, for justice in this nation… you were a beacon for all of us. You were a champion for the arts. I am so very honored and grateful that my daughters and I had the chance to stand in front of you and say thank you for all that you’ve done.

Tenor Lawrence Brownlee wrote on his Facebook page, “I am numb…. The loss of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a national loss of immense magnitude, but also a personal loss for me. I have had the immeasurable honor of personally knowing Justice Ginsburg and spending time with her on several occasions. Our last meeting was last year after a performance I took part in at Washington Concert Opera. I was late getting to the after party because of needing to get my car out of a parking garage but Justice Ginsburg purposely waited until I got there so she could greet me. Upon seeing me she gave me an enormous hug. This was shortly after she had returned from her latest cancer surgery. I asked her how she was and she said to me “well, it’s not easy to keep coming back from cancer…” She then told me that she would hold on as long as she could. Losing her at any time would be very difficult, but losing her in this election year is infinitely more painful. I will live to honor her legacy. RIP, my DEAREST Notorious RBG!”

Tenor Brian Jagde’s tribute to the Supreme Court Justice also made a forceful call to action with the aim of preserving her legacy.

“Rest in Peace and in Power, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” wrote Jagde. “Justice Ginsburg was strong and steadfast in her convictions. Her dedication to her work, and her diligent pursuit of equality and justice for all, should be celebrated and honored – forever.

“One of the greatest honors, privileges, and thrills of my life was to meet Justice Ginsburg after my opening night performance in ‘Madama Butterfly’ at Washington National Opera. How lucky am I to have encountered such greatness, in person?! To have spoken with her about opera, an art form which she loved and supported so dearly?! She without question inspired us more than we artists could have ever inspired her.

“We need to VOTE. We need to change the leadership in this country NOW and get on the right path and on the right side of history, to ensure a better quality of life for everyone who lives here. Fellow US citizens, register at the link below, vote early in-person or by mail if you can, and let’s make the needed change this November to ensure a better future for everyone.”

Another tenor, Michael Fabiano related a story on his Facebook page regarding Ginsburg’s sense of justice and ability to “step into the s

“I am devastated. RBG is a woman of humility and dignity and above all, a supporter of culture. I have spent many dinners and events with her and will always remember her generosity and tenacity,” Fabiano wrote. “After one dinner in Washington, we had a conversation about the poll tax. I argued against one of her dissents and why I thought she wasn’t right. We spoke for an hour. I immensely respected what she wrote. I have read ALL OF HER concurrences and dissents and I will always think of her as an anchor of justice in the USA.

“If I can share a story that people should know, that should inspire us all. Justice Ginsberg told me a few years ago that one of her important jobs when Justice Scalia was living was to read each other’s dissents and decisions and offer detailed edits. They did it because the integrity of the court was more important than even the decision itself. To maintain civility in dissent and ultimate decision gave the court a level a respect to which we all should aspire. Scalia would edit her writing; she’d edit his. Yes, she told me this in her chambers. Even if total opposition, it was important to her and to Scalia to be willing to read each other’s decisions [and] think on their colleague’s shoes why they wrote what they wrote to make sure that justice always had two sides and balance.

“Where is this empathy today? Where are our leaders who are willing to step in the shoes of those we oppose and understand why they think what they think? If we could find those leaders and elect them, we will be a better nation. I aspire to this mentality. I aspire to this empathy. I aspire to being this leader. RBG has given me this inspiration forever.

“Today is a deeply sad day but it also a day that reminds me what my responsibilities are.

“Rest In Peace, dear Justice. May our country turn a corner into prosperity.”

Here are some other tributes to the late Supreme Court Justice from some of opera’s greatest stars.


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There are no words to express the deep sorrow, the immense gratitude, the endless inspiration, and the profound impact felt by so many of us in this moment. My life is richer for having had the privilege of time in conversation with her, the honor of performing for her, and the gift of becoming a liberated woman under her always gracious but fierce reign on the Supreme Court. Her legacy of true Equality for All, meaningful Justice for All, and a reliance on Music for All is now fully our responsibility to continually enact and protect. She has gracefully handed us the baton. I plan to do my best to honor her legacy at every turn. My thoughts are with her beautiful Family and with her fragile Nation … Photos courtesy of the divine @eardogfoto : www.eardog.com

A post shared by Joyce DiDonato (@joycedidonato) on


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Thank you. #nowords #rbg #restinpower

A post shared by Leah Crocetto (@leahcrocetto) on


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This titan of a human being. Thank you my dear Ruth. We are all in your debt.

A post shared by Ryan McKinny (@ryanmckinny) on

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2020 is indeed an Annus Horribilis, what horrible news to wake up to this morning. More competent people will write a far better eulogy than me, but what an extraordinary woman she was. She was aeons ahead of arguably anybody else in her field. An international icon loved and respected by all and a voracious opera lover to boot. I had the honour to meet her several times at the Metropolitan Opera and in Washington DC. I also had the pleasure to host her at my house in Malta on more than one occasion, where I was invariably humbled by her restraint, knowledge and fiery intelligence during a couple of heated, political discussions. She had a special, signature sparkle in her eyes when she was enjoying herself and she always struck me of being a young woman trapped in a body that was slowly failing her. Her love of fine food and wine only confirms that she was a perfect being. RBG, you will be missed… #Notorius #Ruthbaderginsburg #horribleday #icon #rbg

A post shared by Joseph Calleja (@maltesetenor) on