With her own career as an actress and director, Hope does not fly the Atlantic quite as often as her husband. Says Arthur: "I go to Europe like other people commute to Long Island. Sometimes I go without even a change of clothes."
Although Peerce has been one of America's most beloved singers for almost half a century, it was not for sentimental reasons alone that he was treated with such acclaim that evening. He still has one of the clearest, strongest, sweetest tenor voices in the business, and his repertoire is enormous. Besides arias and showtunes, he performs ballads, German lieder, French contemporary songs, cantorial and oratory music with equal facility. In order to keep his voice in top form, he now limits his concerts to about 50 a year, but last summer, on a tour of Australia, he did 17 concerts in 21 days.
Although her repertoire includes piano works spanning the last 250 years, Ruth has concentrated largely on Rachmaninoff and Scriabin, a Russian composer of the same era. She has recorded five albums of Scriabin's piano solos. "It's such strange music if you haven't heard it before," she says. "I gave some concerts of Scriabin at Hunter College, and talked about each piece before playing it. I was kind of a crusader at the time for his music. It was very rewarding for me. I think people are much more familiar with Scriabin today than they were 10 years ago.