Art and the great escape

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A special dinner, curated by chef Massimo Bottura, hosted by the International Friends of Festival Verdi announcing their plans for their 22nd season.

On April 28th, the International Friends of Festival Verdi announced their plans for their 22nd season at dinner in a private club and limited to just 180 guests The evening was curated by chef Massimo Bottura and his team from Osteria Francescana, the three-Michelin-star restaurant based in Modena, known as the hardest reservation to get in the world!

The Mayor of Parma, Federico Pizzarotti, The Scientific Director of Teatro Regio, Francesco Izzo, and Teatro Regio di Parma’s General Director, Anna Maria Meo, and the president of the International Friends of Festival Verdi, James E. Miller and executive director Silvia Frieser, announced the program for the coming season (September 22 through October 16th) and the beauty of “seeing Verdi in the land of Verdi, to live where he lived, performed in theaters where he worked, with the sound as he knew it, having the food and wine he knew grown in his own terroir.”

Isack Fadlon, Valeria Delucca, and Fransceso Izzo.

This is the unique proposition of Festival Verdi.  In 2022 the performances include three staged operas La Forza del Destino, Il Trovatore, and Simon Boccanegra each based on a contemporary Spanish play that Verdi admired.  These seminal works were brought to his attention through the talented actress Margherita Barezzi, his then mistress and later his second wife, who spoke fluent Spanish.  This is a unique chance to consider these works side by side.

Ruth Reichl, Federico Pizzarotte, Massimo Bottura, Anna Maria Meo, and Fabrizio Dimachele.

The menu was presented in an emotional speech by Massimo Bottura who took great pains to explain the dishes, their preparation, and what they represented to him – an edible autobiography.  The spectacular hors d’oeuvre and five course meal, made with ingredients of the region and paired with its wines, provided topics of conversation making the room instantly one.  Courses included “Beautiful, Psychedelic Spin Painted Veal” which was a tribute to Damien Hirst and a deconstructed “Crunchy Part of the Lasagna,” a tribute to the chef’s mother.

The evening also offered superb music by soprano Eleonora Buratto performing Verdi’s tragic aria, Morrò, ma prima in grazia from Un Ballo in Maschera followed by Un bel di from Madam Butterfly — the role she is currently performing at The Met. It brought tears to many eyes.

Eleonora Buratto and Anna Maria Meo.

The evening’s guest of honor was conductor Ricardo Frizza who has been thrilling audiences with The Met’s Lucia di Lammermoor. Other guests included Bill Buford and Jessica Green, Francois Payard, Ruth Reichl, Barbara Tober, and Laurent Tourondel.

For more information on Festival Verdi see:

Erccrido Cursi, Irene Asquini, and Cesare Bieller.
L. to r.: Anna Froinini and Silvia Frieser; Fabrizio Dimachele and Giorgia Deparolis.
Fabrizio Dimachele, Barbara Tober, and Massimo Bottura.
Francois Payard, Laurent Tourondel, James Miller, and Monique Olivier.
Giuditta Sarti and Alex Cerioli.
L. to r.: Giuseppe Scotti and Katerina Scotti; Francois Payard and Laurent Tourondel.
Jessica Green and Bill Buford.
Marla Cutler, Eric Young, and James Shah.

The Consul General of Federal Republic of Germany, David Gill, and his pretty wife, Sheila Shrivastava, opened their grand duplex residence at 740 Park for a third salon evening honoring the artist Alexander Polzin. 22 of his bronze sculptures have recently populated the residence.

The evening included an all-Shuman performance as well as a conversation between the Consul General and the artist. Mr. Gill, himself the former German State Secretary and Chief of Staff under Angela Merkel, opened his remarks by decrying the barbarity of the war in the Ukraine, comparing the siege of Mariupol to the European war in 1945.

David Gill (Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany).

Artist Alexander Polzin recounted his childhood years in East Germany, “Much of the life when I was growing up was not so pleasant.  Art was a great escape. I was trained as a stone mason.  But I fell in love with wood. It’s a very special material because it’s alive. Even when it’s cut and in my studio, it asks for respect and care.  I have a dialogue with this material that is very different from stone. Glass is another material I’m interested in. The surface and the strength.  Inspiration is a mystery.  I have a life in my studio that inspires and excites me.”

Alexander Polzin and Anthony W. Marx.
Alexander Polzin’s ‘Fallen Angel’.

Guests included Marina Couloucoundis, Kip Forbes, Nina Gillman (president of LongHouse Reserve),Sylvia Hemmingway,Sophie Aliece Hollis,Ann Dexter Jones, Kristina Allegra Kingston, Michèle Gerber Klein,Margo Morton Langenberg, Deborah Nevins, Heidi and Allen Roberts,Llewellyn Sanchez-Warner, Roberta Downs Sandeman and Arthur A. Houghton, Patrick Schwartz, Jo Ann Secor and Lee Skolnick, Shining Sung, Mr. and Mrs. Simon Van Booy, andPeter Wolfe.

Recent installations by Alexander Polzin include a new large scale bronze work at Ludes Foundation in Germany, a monument to Ezra Pound in England, and a major work on loan to LongHouse Reserve in East Hampton (their season opening — April 30th).

Alexander Polzin, Marina Couloucoundis, Joanna Fisher, and Patrick Schwartz.
L. to r.: Afsaneh Akhtari; Peter Wolf and Sophie Aliece Hollis.
Sheila Shrivastava and Stan Warshawsky.
David Gill, with Heidi and Allen Roberts.
L. to r.: Laura Hoffman and Jason T. Busch; Sylvia Hemingway and  Nina Gillman.
Hao Jiang Tian, Alexander Polzin, and Martha Liao.
Llewellyn Sanchez-Werner, Ann Dexter Jones, and Edward Batista.
L. to r.: David Gill and Margo Langenberg; Edward Batista and Michele Gerber Klein.
Manuela Hölterhoff, Peter Wolf, and Dr. Layla Diba.
Mr. and Mrs. Simon van Booy.
Mrs. Tung, Shining Sung, Jim Roe, Dr. Nassrin Zahedi, and Dr. Bill Tung.
L. to r.: Dr. Nassrin Zahedi and Jim Roe; Sylvia Hemingway and Kristina Allegra Kent.
Zachary Weese, Jonathan Rondinelli, Patrick Schwartz, and Joanna Fisher.

Nearly 300 guests at MorseLife’s 38th Annual Dinner walked into the ballroom at The Breakers and were immediately transported to Rockefeller Center’s 65th floor, without ever leaving Florida. “An Evening at the Rainbow Room,” chaired by Jean Sharf and Bruce Beal took guests to New York City’s iconic bar in its most glamorous heyday and offered an intimate evening with a star-studded line-up of entertainment.

The Ambassador of The Great American Songbook and five-time Grammy nominated recording artist Michael Feinstein was joined by Tony nominated singer, Melissa Errico who were preceded by comedian, Mark Schiff, who had the audience laughing in their seats.

Michael Feinstein and Melissa Errico.

Feinstein took the stage where he charmed the audience signing classics such as “L-O-V-E”, “For Once in my Life”, and “Just One of Those Things”, among others. Feinstein and Errico sang a beautiful duet to “You’re Just in Love”.

MorseLife Health Systems board chairman Stephen Levin welcomed guests and thanked the leadership that helped create the event, including Chairs Jean Sharf and Bruce Beal and Honorary Chairs Sondra and David S. Mack.

Melissa Errico.
Michael Feinstein.

“Through the guidance of the MorseLife Board, Keith Myers and the leadership team he has assembled, we have a very different institution than we used to have,” said Levin. “Every building has been refurbished or remodeled and we have three new buildings – with plans to build more. We recently purchased an additional 10 acres of land for our ever-evolving needs. MorseLife today is much more than a senior living facility. Our programs like NOW for Holocaust Survivors, Parkinson’s and Neurological Sciences and more help make MorseLife a new campus and a new company!”

“As you heard from Stephen, MorseLife is extremely innovative,” said Keith A. Myers, President and CEO of MorseLife Health System. “Our board of directors actively participate and guide our organization. One thing that I love about MorseLife’s family is that you all have big hearts. I am very humbled and forever grateful for everything all of you do for MorseLife.”

L. to r.: Bruce Beal and Jean Sharf; David and Sondra Mack

Myers also thanked Bruce Gendelman, artist and philanthropist for his magnificent sculpture that will soon be a focal point for the new Living Learning Experience on the MorseLife Campus in West Palm Beach. The Bronze twenty six foot tree will be adorned with over 5,000 ceramic butterflies, each one in memory of a child that perished in the Holocaust.

Founded in 1983, MorseLife is an award-winning, nationally recognized leader providing a complete spectrum of innovative and exemplary senior health care services to optimize life and wellness for older adults at every stage. As a charitable, not-for-profit organization, MorseLife’s programs include Short-Term Rehabilitation, Long-Term Care, Independent and Assisted Living, Cannabis-Based Therapies, Home Health Care, Hospice and Palliative Care, Memory Care, Meals-on-Wheels, NOW for Holocaust Survivors, MorseLife Foundation and PACE, which touches the lives of 3,600 seniors each day. MorseLife means More Life.

For more information about MorseLife Health System, how to become a donor and other events this season, email or call 561.242.4661.

L. to r.: Howard and Michele Kessler; Estrellita and Daniel Brodsky
L. to r.: Richard and Susan Friedman; William and Phyllis Mack
L. to r.: Betty and John Levin; Howard and Penny Blumenstein
Michael Feinstein with Jean Sharf and Bruce Beal
L. to r.: John and Diane Sculley; Ed and Pam Pantzer
Michael Feinstein with Sondra and David Mack
L. to r.: Susan Byrd and David Brodksy; Cynthia and Theodore Berenson.
L. to r.: Tom and Leslie Rosin; Terri Sriberg and Don Ephraim
L. to r.: Leslie and Bruce Lane; Bruce Gendelman and Ellen Levy
L. to r.: Marlene and Marty Silver; Keith Myers and Stephen Levin
L. to r.: Barbara and Richard Rothschild; Sharon and Stuart Frankel
L. to r.: Bonnie and Thomas Strauss; Andy and John Stark
L. to r.: Terri Sriberg and Judie Schlager; Nolan and Michael Greenwald.
L. to r.: Robbi and Bruce Toll; Ron Casty and Susan Mendik.

Photographs by Capehart (MorseLife); Sylvain Gaboury/PMC (Verdi).

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