Scottish opera fan leaves £4.5 million to New York Met

Widow bequeaths nearly half her fortune to opera house

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A Scottish widow, Mona Webster, has left nearly half her fortune to New York’s Metropolitan Opera. The daughter of a lighthouse keeper, Webster lived in Edinburgh and worked as a civil servant. She died this August at the age of 96. Webster's fortune totalled £10m, most of which was acquired through wise investments in the stock market.

Webster, who was born on the Isle of Man, first discovered her love for the Met through listening to its Saturday radio broadcasts; for her ‘Saturday nights were sacred,’ says Gail Chesler, the Met’s director of planned and special gifts. Webster visited the world-renowned American opera house on several occasions – her last visit on opening night in 2000 she described as ‘the most wonderful night of her life,’ says Peter Gelb, the company’s general manager.

Webster also left £100,000 to the Royal Opera Trust, around £4.4m to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and £100,000 to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. ‘[She was] remembered as a very interesting, proud lady and someone who was deeply interested in music’, says Elizabeth Bell, the Royal Opera House's spokesperson. ‘[We are] most grateful for her very generous donation.’