|Looking southwest towards the lower Manhattan skyline from Queens. 2:00 PM. Photo: JH.|
|November 25. Yesterday was sunny then cloudy then sunny in New York, getting chillier as the Sun descended to nightfall, giving us a beautiful evening, brisk and fresh, and lotsa traffic.
At 6:30 I put on my black tie and went over to Lincoln Center to the newly named, newly refurbished (thanks to) David H. Koch Theater (formerly the New York State Theater) for the opening night of the season for the New York City Ballet. The theater which was built in the late 50s, early 60s cost somewhere in the area of $20 million to build. The refurbishment cost something like $107 million. Mr. Koch pledged $100 million.
|Looking across the plaza toward the Avery Fisher Hall where the concert was letting out.|
|The plaza fountain looking toward Avery Fisher Hall.|
|The Metropolitan Opera ("Hansel and Gretel") letting out about 10:30 last night.|
|On entering for the first time it looked the same although the orchestra was at audience level playing The Sleeping Beauty Waltz, music by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky, with Faycal Karoui conducting. After the final applause and the conductor and the orchestra bowing, the entire platform descended to the pit. That’s new. Then: the seats are new. I knew because they felt different. They’re not as deep but they seem more erect, as if you’re automatically sitting up straight. They are very comfortable especially for watching a performance. The floor is not carpeted even in the aisles. This, I was told, was to enhance the sound, especially for the opera. My hearing is not the best but the sound last night was crystal clear.
The opening nights of the New York City Ballet are quintessential New York glamour affairs. It draws a lot of the leading philanthropists as well as the balletomanes and those major supporters of the arts and expecially Dance. It’s a diverse group all in all. There are probably a lot of ballet aficionados like me who developed their interest at first out of commitment (accepting an invitation, pleasing a partner, or covering an event as it was in my case). I still wouldn’t call myself a balletomane, I don’t know the words for the different steps, positions and movement, nor could I describe them accurately. I’m completely illiterate about those things. But. The dancing, the dancers are everything. And I could see and I could feel their brilliance.
|Peter Martins (in spotlight) addressing the guests and the New York City Ballet Company at the dinner on the Promenade after last night's performance.|
|After the overture, Peter Martins took the stage to introduce the “new” David H. Koch Theater to the audience. Then David himself came onstage and read a short speech about the process of revamping the theater.
David Koch has been supporting the ballet, among other organizations in New York for quite some time. This latest contribution, however, redefined him as a philanthropist. I have a feeling he knows that. It’s good for everybody and the proof was in last night’s celebration.
I don’t know if my eye is developing from experience of seeing ballet more frequently, but some of the dancing last night was not only great, but fantastic. In the first piece, “Concerto DSCH” (music by Shostakovich, choreography by Alexei Ratmansky) Jaoquin De Luz, Gonzalo Garcia and Benjamin Millepied were spectacular with their leaps and turns. I was thinking of Nijinsky, who died long before I could have seen him, and Nureyev whom I only saw on film and Baryshnikov, whom I only saw in very tiny pieces (and who was in attendance at last night’s gala); and I was wondering which of those dancers on the stage will take their place in the annals of those greats. Perhaps all, was my guess.
|The table settings ...|
|“Concerto DSCH” was followed by “Rubies pas de deux (from Jewels), music by Stravinsky, choreography by Balanchine, costumes by Christian Lacroix. A piano solo, danced to by Aurelie Dupont and Mathias Heymann, guest artists appearing courtesy of the Paris Opera Ballet in honor of the 25th anniversary of the American Friends of the Paris Opera & Ballet. This performance was made possible by the American Friends through the Annenberg Foundation and the Florence Gould Trust.
After the Intermission, we saw “Naïve and Sentimental Music” (world premiere) by John Adams with choreography by Peter Martins. This was in three parts with: Jenifer Ringer, Yvonne Borree, Jennie Somogyi, Philip Neal, Tyler Angle, Nilas Martins, Janie Taylor, Abi Stafford, Ashley Bouder, Megan Fairchild, Joaquin De Luz, Daniel Ulbricht, Andrew Veyette, Jared Angle, Sara Mearns, Dareci Kistler, Maria Kowroski, Charles Askegard, Stephane Hanna, Jonathan Stafford, Stelering Hyltin, Teresa Reichlen, Tiler Peck, Robert Fairchild, Amar Ramasar and Gonzalo Garcia with the Entire Cast.
|The dresses ...|
|The shoes ...|
|Dancing to the music of DJ David Chang ...|
|After the final curtain many went up onto the Promenade for dinner and dancing, and joined by the cast and many of their contemporaries.
Last night’s chairs were Jane Carroll, Barbara and Brad Evans, and Marlene Hess and Jim Zirin. Benefactors were Gillian Attfield, David W. Heleniak and John and Barbara Vogelstein.
Last night’s Patrons were Franci and Joe Rice, Emily Blavagtnik, Jonathan and Whitney Clay, Barry S. Friedberg and Charlotte Moss, Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Kinney, The Honorable and Mrs. Earle Mack, Theodore and Elizabeth Rogers, Louise Stude Sarofim, Mr. and Mrs. Howard Solomon, Katie and Christoph von Strasser and Dr. Sue Ann Weinberg. A great evening of the best of New York!
|Back to business, yesterday in New York, Alberto and Stefania Sabbadini launched their "pink bee" brooch at a luncheon they hosted yesterday in honor of Evelyn Lauder.|
|A percentage of the sale of each bee will be donated to Evelyn’s Breast Cancer Research Foundation.|
|Fiona Rudin||Evelyn Lauder, Challa Safra, and Vera Blinken|
|Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos and Simone Levinson||Alexandra Lebenthal and Myra Biblowit|
|Also last night, welcome to Noo Yawk, kids: at Tenjune, the club at 26 Little West 12th Street (between 9th and Washington), recording artists The Vanguard, Gabrielle Senn and Stella Osee performed live with a room packed with models, photographers and celebrities joining forces to support Secrets of the Modeling World Foundation which aspires to aid people living in extreme poverty around the world.
Besides the entertainment there were free drinks and food as well as free hair styling consultations by Tela design studio’s Philip Pelusi.
|Retrospectively, last Friday at Cipriani 42nd Street was one of the most important charitable luncheons of the season. “A veritable Who’s Who,” so writeth the flacks, and I repeat, “from the worlds of business, media, entertainment, government, publishing and the arts,” alla congregating for the Citymeals-on-Wheels 23rd annual “Power Lunch for Women.”
Paula Zahn emceed. Joan H. Tisch, Vice Chair, Citymeals-on-Wheels and Joan Weill, President Emeritus were honored for their long-standing commitment to Citymeals and the elderly population. Kate Baldwin, star of the Broadway revival of Finian’s Rainbow performed.
Also for a ticket price of $10,000, men got the privilege of lunching with these powerful and famous women. This year’s $10K men included John Cochran, Joseph M. Cohen, Donny Deutsch, Bill Fischer, Michael Lynne, Mike Myers, Craig Pfeiffer, Dennis Riese, John Shapiro, William Speck, Alan Stillman, Jon Tisch, Donald Tober, Sandy Weill and Fred Wilpon.
|Gael Greene started this whole thing with James Beard ages ago. I’ve written about their hatching the idea many times and the story is known far and wide. Nevertheless, it remains a stellar example of what people can do to help each other, to help their neighbors. Greene and Beard found a way to spread the wealth of humanity. Listen up everyone, this is what optimism really is. Not a belief or a statement; it’s an action.
This year’s luncheon was expected to yield 150,000 meals for New York’s frail aged. One hundred percent of the money raised from ticket sales at Power Lunch, and all Citymeals’ events, goes to the preparation and delivery of nutritious meals to homebound elderly in the five boroughs of New York City.
The Grand Host of this year’s Power Lunch was Cipriani 42nd Street. The Associate Sponsors are The Tisch Family Foundation and Travelers. The Very Grand Patron is Bobbi Brown Cosmetics. The Grand Patrons are Bernardaud, Bloomingdale’s, Les Vins Georges Duboeuf, and La Prairie. Official sponsors of Citymeals-on-Wheels are American Airlines, FIJI Water, and Nespresso.
|Photograhs by Ann Watt (Citymeals); Evan Mulvihill (tenjune).|