Overture of hope
Two sisters’ daring plan that saved opera’s Jewish stars
6:30 PM | Program
7:30 PM | Dinner
Open to Coffee House and Salmagundi members
Free to attend
Reservations for dinner required; card payments only
About the Event
Please join us for a fascinating talk from award-winning New York Post investigative journalist Isabel Vincent on her newest book, Overture of Hope, forthcoming September 13th.
Isabel Vincent delves into pre-World-War-II history to recover the story of two British spinsters who masterminded a plan to spirit dozens of Jewish stars and personnel of the German and Austrian opera to England and save them from a terrible fate under the Third Reich.
Europe, 1937. Two British sisters, one a dowdy typist, the other a soon-to-be famous romance novelist. One shared passion for opera. With prospects for marriage and families of their own cut down by the scythe of World War I, the Cook sisters have thrown themselves into their love of music, with frequent pilgrimages to Germany and Austria to see their favorite opera stars perform. But now with war clouds gathering and harassment increasing, the stars of Continental opera, many of whom are Jewish, face dark futures under the boot heel of the Nazis. What can two middle-aged British spinsters do about such matters?
They can form a secret cabal right under Hitler’s nose and get to work saving lives. Along with Austrian conductor Clemens Krauss (a favorite of Hitler, but quietly working with the Cooks) the sisters conspire to bring together worldwide opera aficionados and insiders in an international operation to rescue Jews in the opera from the horrific fate that everyone intuits is coming. By the time war does arrive, the Cooks and their operatives have plucked over two dozen Jewish men and women from the looming maw of the Holocaust and spirited them to safety in England.
About the Author
Isabel Vincent is an award-winning investigative journalist for The New York Post and the author of nationally best-selling memoir Dinner with Edward, as well as Gilded Lily: Lily Safra, The Making of One of the World’s Wealthiest Widows, sex trafficking exposé Body and Souls, and See No Evil, an investigation into Latin America’s biggest kidnapping cases. Her book Hitler’s Silent Partners, an account of the Swiss bank accounts left dormant after the Nazi era, won the Yad Vashem Award for Holocaust History.
Vincent grew up in Canada. She began as a foreign correspondent in South America covering drug cartels, and later the conflicts in Kosovo and war in Angola. For many years Vincent has reported on New York City madness, mayhem, and corruption for the Post and a host of other publications.
If you plan to stay for dinner, and would like to have the prix-fixe, please pre-pay when RSVP-ing via Eventbrite to guarantee your prix-fixe meal reservation. Otherwise, you are welcome to order from the a la carte menu (wine is not included when ordering a la carte). Thank you!