Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Last night at the Met

The final bows from Donizeetti's L'Elisir d'Amore at the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center.
Last night Richard Feldman hosted a small birthday dinner for Charlotte Ford at La Grenouille, including her sister Anne Ford and her niece Allegra Ford. Richard’s wife Diana and Charlotte have been friends since boarding school although Diana was home in bed with a bad cold and couldn’t join us. The “cake” was a large chocolate soufflé with a special Happy Birthday Charlotte written out on a white chocolate tablet. When it arrived at the table, we all sang “Happy Birthday” after which the entire restaurant broke out in applause.

After dinner I ran up to the Met where they were commemorating the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center. People forget how radical a move it was for opera goers to move from the old house on 39th and Broadway that opened its doors in 1883 (with a performance of “Faust”) and remained in use for the next 83 years. The “new” Met opened in September 1966 with a performance of Samuel Barber’s “Antony and Cleopatra.”

Mercedes Bass
Last night’s gala production was titled “Anna & Rolando Celebrate the Met," referring to soprano Anna Netrebko and tenor Rolando Villazon who were featured in a First Act of Puccini’s La Boheme, in Massenet’s Manon (Act III, Scene 2) and Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore (Act II). I missed the first part and arrived for the last half hour of the Donizetti which I viewed on the large HDTV screen that is permanently set up in a small theatre off the lobby.

After the performances there was a dinner on the Grand Tier, a glittering affair with many prominent New Yorkers dining on the Glorious Food menu of lambchops and fava beans and fine wines.

The performance was underwritten by the Annenberg Foundation and Lee Annenberg was the Honorary Chairman of the evening. The Gala Chairmen were Mr. and Mrs. Sid Bass. Mercedes Bass gave the Met $25 million last year for use as they saw fit.
Lauren Veronis and Brian Mulroney waiting to be served
Although I didn’t see Mrs. Annenberg at the gala, I did see and photograph her daughter Elizabeth Kabler. Among the crowd were Irene Aitken with Konrad Kessee, Martina Arroyo, Susan Baker, Christine Baranski, Louis Begley and Anka Muhlstein, Rosalie Brinton, John and Violaine Bernbach, Olivier Bernier, Susan Braddock, Governor Tom Kean, Emilia Saint-Amand, her brother Nathan Saint-Amand, Patty Cisneros, Jayne Wrightsman, Lynn Wyatt who flew in from Texas just for the evening, Bob Colacello, Robert Couturier, Elizabeth de Cuevas, Simon de Pury, Helene and Paul Desmarais Jr., Georgette Mosbacher, Boaz Mazor, Gaetana Enders, Bob Silvers, Jackie and Paul Desmareais Sr., Ellen Futter, Lesley Stahl, Paul Fribourg, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Gelb, Jim Zirin and Marlene Hess, David and Lisa Schiff, Dame Vivien Duffield, Miguel Ferrer, Billy and Ophelia Rudin, Scott Nelson and Alex Papachristidis, his mother (and Ophelia’s mother) Marya Papachristidis who was also celebrating a birthday, Richard Gilder and Lois Chiles, John Guare and Adele Chatfield-Taylor, Anne and Bill Harrison, Richard Hersh, Joan and Irwin Jacobs, Maisie Houghton, Arnold and Ann Jurdem, Gov. Thomas Kean, Bruce and Suzie Kovner, Giovanni LoFaro, Bill Rondina, Stewart Manger, former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Mila Mulroney, Lynn Nesbit, Glenn and Susan Lowry, Bill Rollnick and Nancy Ellison, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Ramey, Charlie Rose, Shirley Lord Rosenthal, Dailey Pattee, Peter and Bonnie Sacerdote, Chuck and Ellen Scarborough, Elaine Sargent with Philip Carlson, Beverly Sills, Steve and Christine Schwarzman, Kenneth Starr, John and Lauren Veronis, Deborah Voigt, Francie Whittenburg, Bunny Williams, and Brett Tollman, to name only a few of the guests dining on the Grand Tier.
David Schiff and Susan Lowry
Glenn Lowry and Marlene Hess
Henry and Marie Josee Kravis
Jayne Wrightsman
Bunny Williams
Ellen and Chuch Scarborough
Alex Papachristides with his mother Marya
Boaz Mazor
Boaz Mazor and Mila Mulroney
Irene Atiken
Lyn Nesbit , Robert Couturier, and Elizabeth Kabler
Georgette Mosbacher with Adele Chatfield-Taylor, John Guare, and Giovanni LoFaro and Bill Rondina
Shirley Lord Rosenthal
Gaetena Enders
Sid and Mercedes Bass
Lynn Wyatt
Susan Baker
Samantha Rudin and Danny Fernandez
Elaine Sargent and Philip Carlson
Jim Zirin and Lisa Schiff
Shirley Lord Rosenthal
Gaetena Enders
Sid and Mercedes Bass
Susan Braddock and Governor Tom Kean
The table setting
Billy and Ophelia Rudin
Martina Arroyo
Emilia Saint-Amand

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