from Christine Taylor Price:
“Steal me, sweet thief” has been one of my favorite arias since I heard it about 2 years ago. I only started singing it recently because my usual English aria, “No Word from Tom” from Stravinsky’s opera The Rakes Progress (another must-listen), wasn’t quite doing it for me anymore. “Steal me” is one of the only well known arias by Menotti. From his opera, The Old Maid and the Thief, written for radio in 1939, it was extremely well-recieved by the American audience which, made it easy for Menotti to start paving his own way as an opera composer in America.
Laetitia is the character who sings “Steal me”. She is Miss Todd’s housekeeper and is a young, beautiful, sparky girl who just wants to be loved, so when Bob shows up looking for a place to stay, Laetitia convinces Miss Todd to give him the guest room. They soon realize that Bob is a thief so, of course, Miss Todd wants to get rid of him but Laetitia has been falling in love with him and again convinces her to let him stay. Day-dreaming, Laetita sings steal me, sweet thief, wishing her life would start before she grows old and gray.