Opera Lafayette 2023 Gala Kick Off

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Taking in the evening's performance.

Last Tuesday night Maria Eugenia Maury and William A. Haseltine welcomed friends at their art-filled Upper East Side residence for a chamber concert by Opera Lafayette and to announce plans for a May 9th Gala chaired by the indomitable Barbara Tober.

Guests were treated to excerpts from the 18th century opera comique, La Servante Maitresse by Pergolesi, with soprano Hannah De Priest and pianist Aya Hamada, led by conductor Patrick Dupre Quigley which Opera Lafayette had performed before at the Kennedy Center.

Aya Hamada.
Hannah De Priest.

William Haseltine and Barbara Tober warmly welcomed 60 guests including Opera Lafayette’s co-chairmen, Dr. Nizam Peter Kettaneh and Afsaneh Akhtari, Yanna Avis, Peter Bacanovic, Edgar Batista, Tony Bechara, Ludmila and J. Truman Bidwell, Joan Hardy Clark, Wendy Diamond, Jill Esterman, Mark Fichandler, Maria and Kenneth Fishel, Carole and John French III, Boo Grace,  Susan Gutfreund, Margaret and Gregory Hedberg, Sharon King Hoge, Urban Karlsson and Juan Montoya, Michele Gerber Klein,  Jeanne Lawrence, Helen and William Little, Merri Moken, Princess Caroline Murat and Antoine Turzi, Marc Rosen, Sana Sabbagh, Dr. and Mrs. Thomas P. Sculco, and Shining Sung.

William A. Haseltine, Barbara Tober, and Maria Eugenia Maury.

The Opera Lafayette May 9th gala will present two short opéra-ballets: Pierre de La Garde’s Léandre et Héro, originally performed by Madame de Pompadour herself, and the world premiere of Jean-Phillipe Rameau’s Io with costumes by Machine Dazzle (a protégé of Mrs. Tober). The renowned soprano, Emmanuelle de Negri, and, in his American debut, tenor Maxime Melnik, will perform in the title roles. Their performance at El Museo del Barrio is followed by dinner next-door at The Museum of the City of New York with a royal guest from France, Princess Chantal d’Orléans. This evening kicks off a joyous three-day celebration of French baroque music.

Opera Lafayette is the pre-eminent American interpreter and producer of period-instrument opera from the 17th through the 19th centuries and an international leader in this repertoire. Based on meticulous research and the creation of modern performing editions, the company’s compelling performances and recordings of rediscovered gems and historical masterpieces highlight the works’ original appeal and introduce a new generation to their contemporary relevance. Opera Lafayette is the only opera company to perform full seasons in both Washington, DC and New York City. For more information visit www.operalafayette.org.

Camila Arria-Maury.
J. Truman Bidwell and Ludmila Bidwell.
Joan Hardy Clark and Susan Gutfreund.
L. to r.: Cynthia Sculco, with William and Helen Little; Dr. Nizam Peter Kettaneh and Cynthia Hornblower.
Lisa Mion, Patrick Quigley, and Cynthia Hornblower.
Marc Rosen, Barbara Tober, Jamie Saakzitne, and Boo Grace.
Merri Moken, Cynthia Sculco, Jill Esterman, and Lisa Mion.
L. to r.: Kathy Roeder and Mark Fichandler; Patrick Quigley and Barbara Tober.
Nada Abduela, Nassir Al-Nasser, Susan Gutfreund, and Ryan Brown.
Peter Bacanovic, William A. Haseltine, and Jill Esterman.
Sana Sabbagh, Antoine Turzi, and Princess Caroline Murat.
L. to r.: Edgar Batista and Michele Gerber Klein; Cynthia Sculco and John French.
Shining Sung, Karen Burke, Sana Sabbagh, and Nassrin Iromloo Zahedi.
L. to r.: Sharon Hoge and Margaret Hedberg; Maria Eugenia Maury and Yanna Avis.
Maria Eugenia Maury, Susan Gutfreund, and Jeanne Lawrence.
L. to r.: Michele Gerber Klein and Eric Simpson; Ryan Brown and Wendy Diamond.
Afsaneh Akhtari, Edgar Batista, and Yanna Avis.
Tony Bechara, Yvonne Beri, and William A. Haseltine.

Photographs by Jared Siskin/Patrick McMullan

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