APRIL 27, 1959
NEW YORK—I went to the Metropolitan Opera House the other evening to see "Swan Lake" danced by the visiting Bolshoi Ballet. When in the Soviet Union we were unfortunate in not seeing the full Bolshoi Ballet, because the theatre was closed during our visits in 1957 and 1958. But we did see "Swan Lake" given in Leningrad and in Moscow and enjoyed it very much.
Inevitably, when one has already seen a performance of a work, one compares each step of the new performance with the impression one has had before, and it seemed to me the other night that the first and third acts were not as good here as they were in the Soviet Union Nevertheless, the performance here as a whole was remarkable. The second act had a delicacy and charm which it seems to me one could not improve upon. Nina Timofeyeva is a finished and beautiful performer, and I think the evening was a very rewarding one for all who attended. The Bolshoi sets a standard of ballet which it would be hard for any group to live up to.
I am very grateful for having been able to get the tickets to see this performance. Incidentally, I think it is good for us New Yorkers to be obliged to be on time. It evidently has a very good effect on audiences when they know they cannot get in after the first curtain goes up: people were hurrying five minutes before the opening, and everyone was in his seat at the appointed time.
Ever since the meeting in Washington last winter on the problems of farm labor in general, and migratory labor in particular, I have been anxious to know what changes are being suggested. I now find that Secretary James Mitchell of the Department of Labor has circulated proposed new regulations for farm workers. These regulations do not affect the hired hands of family-type farms; but they do affect workers on the big farms which are practically large businesses.
The circulation of these new regulations was done to obtain views and recommendations on them. After consultation with various government and semi-government groups in states where farm labor is most extensively used, Secretary Mitchell is planning a hearing in Washington early in June where all can present their ideas. Apparently, any change in the present situation for farm workers is opposed by the narrow and extremely conservative farm groups, and the secretary is now being pressured in the usual way by wires, telephone calls and letters from those who want no changes.
Yet it was very obvious, when one listened to the farm workers at the Washington meeting, that some changes were absolutely essential. Why anyone should not want a public hearing and discussion of this situation, which touches so many people, is hard to understand. I hope there will be sufficient pressure from those who are really interested in raising standards and conditions of farm labor, so that these hearings may be held.