"Don’t love it so well, Clark, or it may be taken from you." Willa Cather, the great pioneer writer of the first half of the 20th century, puts those words into the mouth of one of her earliest creations: a homesteading woman in 1890s Nebraska. Performed in a simple, slow pace by Walter Zimmerman, the short story "A Wagner Matinee" reveals this homesteader, Georgiana, through the eyes of Clark, a self-described former "gangling farmer-boy...with chilblains" who has left his Nebraskan home for the considerably more exciting Boston. As the high music of Wagner contrasts with the cold and desolate American plains, the listener is introduced to a woman of hard determination, stoic acceptance, and a great capacity for human feeling.
Willa Cather is considered to be one of the best chroniclers of pioneer life in the 20th century. She had a long and distinguished career writing essays, poems, short stories, and novels. This story is a powerful example of a frequent theme: the haunting, sometimes painful, contrast between city and country life.