|Die Soldaten, the iconic 20th-century opera by German composer Bernd Alois Zimmermann, was presented in a dramatic new production by Lincoln Center Festival 08 in association with the Park Avenue Armory. The North American premiere of this critically-acclaimed production from the RuhrTriennale in Germany, is the first to have been mounted outside of an opera house, and was presented in the most amazing non-proscenium space, just as the composer had originally envisioned it—in the vast Drill Hall of the Park Avenue Armory, now known as the Wade Thompson Drill hall, in honor of Mr. Thompson’s active and generous interest in the refurbishing and restoration of the Armory.
Die Soldaten has only been staged twice in the U.S. since its 1965 premiere by the Cologne Opera—its U.S. premiere by the Opera Company of Boston in 1982, and by New York City Opera in 1991 in both cases, modified to suit a proscenium stage and fit within a traditional theater setting. It took a huge orchestra, challenging score and vocal writing, overlapping and simultaneous scenes, and incorporating film, taped music and amplification, presenting enormous challenges to presenters.
“A work of atonal twentieth-century angst...to many, Die Soldaten is the great work of alienation and despair, increasingly occupying a place in past-World War II opera similar to that commanded by Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot in contemporary theater or Bergmann’s The Virgin Spring in modern film.” (Jay Reise, Opera News, September 1991).
|The Drill Hall setting provided an immersive experience of the opera by allowing the full orchestra to be placed in one location with the audience and stage action. The movable seating unit on railway tracks, gave the audience a sense of the extremes of intimacy, overwhelming all-enveloping sound, and scenic action that the composer envisioned.
The evening began with cocktails at 6, followed by a dinner a half hour later. At ten to 8, we all moved down to the vast Drill Room. Among the crowd on this operatic adventure: Susan and Elihu Rose, Angela and Wade Thompson and guest Jennifer McCormick, Jonathan Bing and Meredith Ballew, Neil and Kathleen Chrisman, John and Anne Coffin, Maxwell and Mary Davidson, Andrew Fabricant and Laura Paulson, Councilmember Daniel Garodnick and Zoe Segal-Reichlin, Kathy and Ace Greenberg, Senator Liz Krueger, Wendy Lehman and Peter Wolf, Rebecca Robertson and Byron Knief, Randy Bourscheidt and Joe Astienza, Marjorie and Gurnee Hart, Dan and Estrellita Brodsky, Adam Flatto and Mary Cronson. Harvey and Phyllis Lichtenstein, Fernanda Kellogg and Kirk Henckels, Arie and Coco Kopelman.
|The Saturday before last, Vanity Fair and Calvin Klein Collection sponsored “Cocktails at Sunset,” the annual ACRIA Hamptons event, at the home of photographer Steven Klein in Bridgehampton.|
|Last Monday night KiptonART and Men's Vogue launched the KiptonART Music Series with an intimate concert by pianist Lang Lang at MILK Studios. KiptonART is a “consultancy” started by Kipton Cronkite. This private concert was the first of a series that are planned in tandem with Men’s Vogue.
For the event, Antony Todd had constructed a fire and-ice backdrop, with furniture done up in apple-green silk dupioni, pools of floating candles, and oversized coco palms. Waiters served mojitos. Guests gathered an hour before the performance, to take in the sunset over the Hudson from the sweeping terrace.
|In the group, Tom Florio (Publishing Director of Vogue/Men's Vogue), Marc Berger (Publisher of Men's Vogue), Olivia Palermo, Eric and Kimberly Villency, Gillian Hearst Simonds and Christian Simonds, Damon Dash, Catherine Forbes, Lorenzo Borghese, Thom Filicia, Billy Gilbane.
At dusk, the lights flickered, telling everyone to take his/her seat. In due course Lang Lang worked himself into a literal sweat, keeping the audience transfixed. His finale led to a vigorous standing ovation.
After the concert, French DJ Yan Ceh (flown in from Paris for the event) spun a remixed version of Serge and Charlotte Gainsbourg's "Lemon Incest," while guests bid on silent auction lots including Prada handbags, luxury creams, bespoke Ralph Lauren, and a $125,000 red Steinway piano (one of two in the world).
|Photographs by by James Ewing. Courtesy of Park Avenue Armory (Die Soldaten); ©PatrickMcMullan.com (Acria & Kipton).|