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Subject: Anne Chotzinoff Grossman, Opera Translator and Writer

died November 5
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Date Posted: November 09, 2002 6:04:34 EDT

Anne Chotzinoff Grossman, a translator of grand opera and author of a culinary guide to Patrick O'Brian's popular seafaring tales, died on Tuesday at her home in West Gilgo Beach, on the barrier islands off Suffolk County, New York. She was 72.

The cause was lung cancer, said Lisa Grossman Thomas, her daughter and co-author of "Lobscouse and Spotted Dog," a companion book to Mr. O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series of 18 nautical novels set during the Napoleonic Wars.

A sailor herself, Mrs. Grossman was born in Manhattan and grew up multingual in a musical family.

Her father, Samuel Chotzinoff, was a pianist, critic, general music director of NBC and founder of the NBC Opera Theater (1949-52).

Her mother, Pauline Heifetz, a pianist, was a sister of the violinist Jascha Heifetz.

After graduating from the Katharine Gibbs School in 1948, Mrs. Grossman worked as an associate producer for her father's television opera venture and as a translator for NBC.

Over the years she assisted in the writing and editing of memoirs by S. N. Behrman, Irene Mayer Selznick and Kitty Carlisle Hart and in archiving the Wanda and Vladimir Horowitz papers.

She translated opera for English-language productions, starting with a new version of Puccini's "Gianni Schicchi." She supplied translations on commission for operas like "Tosca," "Madama Butterfly" and "Falstaff," as well as German lieder by Schubert, Schumann and Beethoven and songs from other countries for the "Juilliard Repertory Library."

Like many a reader, Mrs. Grossman became fascinated with Mr. O'Brian's rousing stories of Capt. Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, ship surgeon, characters who delighted in sailing, words and music. They also shared a passion for food.

Mrs. Grossman and her daughter set out to recreate 18th-century cooking, a feat akin to reproducing the orchestral sound of the period. They went in scholarly pursuit of food sources and in their Long Island kitchen prepared meals totally unacceptable to today's dietary wonts.

The results were chronicled in "Lobscouse and Spotted Dog: Which It's a Gastronomic Companion to the Aubrey/Maturin Novels" (Norton, 1997). It served up the flavor of life before the main in the Royal Navy and the recipes for dishes a hungry sailor might enjoy.

Besides her daughter, a resident of Babylon, N.Y., Ms. Grossman is survived by her husband of 51 years, Herbert Grossman, a conductor, and by a brother, Blair Chotzinoff of Denver.

Mrs. Grossman and Ms. Thomas found 5,000 references in the O'Brian novels, which they boiled down to 130 recipes for Mr. O'Brian's seeming favorites. Like spotted dog, a pudding dear to Captain Jack, lobscouse took a while to reconstitute. A sailor's stew, it, too, required a good helping of suet, which, the authors found, a local butcher was all too glad to give away.

The recipes were tested, documented and photographed in the authors' kitchen. Their book, wrote Marjorie Kaufman in The New York Times, "is not your mother's cookbook." But it remains in print.

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