GROSS--Roger, one of the world's memorable connoisseurs of opera and singing, died peacefully at his home on January 4 after an illness of two years. Close friends of soprano Zinka Milanov, Roger and his mother Dorothy Mannes Gross (d. 1994) entertained singers, composers and conductors in their Manhattan home and during summers in Europe, especially in Venice where they were domiciled with the eminent decorator Ruben de Saavedra (d. 1990), with whom he owned and operated an interior design business and related antiques shop in New York. In recent years he dedicated himself to Roger Gross Ltd., a highly respected antiquarian musical manuscript and opera memorabilia business. Working alone with the manuscripts, autographs, and photographs, he supplied material to institutions and important collectors as well as impecunious fans of musicians and composers of the past and present. Known for his informative and witty conversation, the same qualities were always to be found in the descriptions in his sales lists. In his letter of condolence, Roger's friend and colleague, Dr. Otto Biba, head of Vienna's Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, wrote that Roger, â€œ a unique person and a unique personalityâ€� with his unmatched historical knowledge and love for opera, was the greatest expert of operatic voices that he knew. A memorial service will be announced at a later date. He will be greatly missed by all of those that knew and loved him.
Published in New York Times on Jan. 12, 2013.