Sunset Soirées, Artist Talks, and Musical Salons

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A gala dinner during Opera Lafayette's three-day Baroque Music Festival, The Era of Marie Antoinette, Rediscovered, at El Museo del Barrio.

The Untermyer Gardens Conservancy recently held its annual Sunset Soirée in the Walled Garden at Untermyer Gardens in Yonkers, overlooking the Hudson River. The gala was co-chaired by Ann Carmel, Jenny du Pont, and Meg Walker and superbly catered by Peter Kelly and X2O. The honorees were Kristen and Robert DeLaMater, two longtime friends of the garden who have been active for many years with various charitable organizations and institutions enhancing life in the Hudson Valley.

L. to r.: Barbara Israel; Peter Boodell.

The Soirée is the Conservancy’s major fundraising event of the year, and proceeds support its efforts to maintain the splendor of Untermyer Gardens, which is open free to the public and enjoyed by more than 100,000 visitors a year. During the Conservancy’s first ten years, eight distinct garden areas were restored. Over the next decade, seven more garden areas—some wholly new—will be developed.

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Robert and Kristen DeLaMater.
L. to r.: Ann Carmel and Timothy Tilghman; Stephen Byrns and Jenny du Pont.
Charlotte Treifus, Marjan Ghara, Ali Granmayeh, and Lloyd Zuckerberg.
Nortrud Spero, Paul Mazilli, and Sharon Pickett.
L. to r.: Diana Boodell and Jeni Ardizzone-West; Stephen Lash, Betsy Pinover Schiff, and Ann Carmel.
12.Mavis Cain, Iris Dudman, and Tony Mayer.
Ruth Montgomery, Susan Butterick, and Crystal Barnes.
L. to r.: Virginia Chambers Keim; Jim Cavanaugh and Wilson Kimball.
Bill Gannett and Anna Carlson.
L. to r.: Kathryn Holden and Linda Holden-Bryant; Anthony Smith and Mary Riley Smith.
Daniel Wolk and Jason Carmel.
L. to r.: Susan Babcock; Alison and Ellis Cousens.
Eliza Annunziato and Raissa Fitzgerald.
Clarel Antoine, Thomas Lollar, Cesar Reyes, Stephen Byrns, and Deborah Antoine.

Conversations with artists and thinkers have a long history at LongHouse Reserve — its founder Jack Lenor Larsen was a great conversationalist — and a new series entitled LongHouse Talks continues this tradition. Over the 2022 season, Director Carrie Rebora Barratt leads conversations with artists, architects, designers, dancers, musicians and other thought partners in living with art in all of its forms.

Alexander Polzin with his sculpture Parthenope

Artist Bjorn Amelan discussed his sumi ink pictograph pictures which hung like tapestries in the LongHouse Pavilion, some of which were painted at LongHouse. As Creative Director of New York Live Arts, Bjorn’s shapes often reference bodies in motion, suggestive of archaic writing, seemingly both real and symbolic. His partner, Bill T. Jones, pointed out how “Bjorn’s pictographs are so often phallic” and joined in a lively q + a.

Award winning architect Lee Skolnick told stories about The House That Jack Built recalling more than a decade of conversations on Jack’s intention to open his house to the public. What he called “A house that fulfills LongHouse’s mission of living with art in all of its forms.”

German sculptor Alexander Polzin presented a chamber concert as well as a discussion of his sculpture Parthenope, an enigmatic bronze tree trunk with a secret gold-plated interior, an homage to the siren, on loan to LongHouse for the next two years. Well known in Europe as a director and designer of major opera productions, he presented the chamber concert as part of his program featuring the American quartet, Hammermusik, who premiered new music by Greek composer Konstantia Gourzi, who flew in especially for the occasion.

Carrie Barratt and Lee Skolnick
Bjorn Amelan and Bill T. Jones.

Still to come this season are Talks with Michele Oka Doner on July 9, Glenn Adamson on July 10, Cheng Tsung Feng on July 13, Moko Fukuyama, Edwina von Gal, Marren Hassinger, Fitzhugh Karol, and Llewellyn Sanchez-Werner on August 5. Macari Vineyards is the presenting sponsor for LongHouse Talks.

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Alexander Polzin, Joanna Fisher, Jonathan Rondinelli, and Zachary Weese.
L. to r.: Barbara Luisi and Konstantia Gourzi; Wendy Ormond and Ina Lee Selden.
Liliandra Vivolo, Sherri Donghia, and Nina Donghia.
Stephen Doyle, Gael Towey, and Nina Gillman.
Wendy Moonan and Duncan Darrow.
Hammermusik Quartet.
Eoin Andersen, Aurelien Fort, David Cunliffe, John MacFarlane, Barbara Luisi, Owen Talbett, Joanna Fisher, Konstantia Gourzi, and Alexander Polzin

Opera Lafayette presented a three-day Baroque Music Festival, The Era of Marie Antoinette, Rediscovered at El Museo del Barrio, June 7 – 9. The Festival opened with a fully staged production of André Grétry’s Silvain. The French pastoral story was reconfigured to illustrate the battles for land rights in America’s Southwest, directed by Mexican filmmaker Tania Hernandez Velasco and starring Puerto Rican soprano Camille Ortiz.

The second night offered The Musical Salon of Marie Antoinette featuring works by Gluck, Chevalier de Saint Georges, Hinner and more. A gala dinner at a private club followed the performance chaired by Nizam Kettaneh and Marifé Hernandez with a benefit committee boasting Annelyse and Freddy Allen, Tony Bechara, Catia Chaplin, Francis Dubois, Ishtar Méjanes, Lisette Prince, Barbara Tober, and Margo and Anthony Viscusi. Emily Rafferty was honored with Opera Lafayette Leadership in the Arts Award.

Nizam Kettaneh and Marife Hernandez.
Ryan Brown and Julia Doe. The beauty of this music cannot be contested and its relevance underscored by Artistic Director Ryan Brown’s intelligent productions.

In their third and final evening, Concert Spirituel Aux CaraïbesPedro Memelsdorff, a musician scholar whose research focuses on 18th century music in French Caribbean colonies, led a program highlighting the complicated dynamics between imperial France and the peoples of the Caribbean.

An integral part of the festival, Opera Lafayette created a commemorative book with essays by participating scholars and performers including Callum Blackmore, Julia Doe, Laurent Dubois, Rebecca Geoffrey-Schwinden, Kaiama Glover, Judith Miller, Maria Mondragon-Valdez, Tania Hernández Velasco, Sylvia Rodríguez, and Caroline Weber.

Jacob Ashworth, Sandrine Chatron, Nicholas Phan, and Sophia Burgos. 

Opera Lafayette’s Festival featured a superb roster of international singers and musicians including Jacob Ashworth, Nathan Berg, Charles Brink, Sophia Burgos, Teresa Castillo, Sandrine  Chatron, Sishel Claverie, Samantha Louis-Jean, Jehú Otero, Nicholas Phan, Zack Powell, Victor Sicard, Théotime Langlois de Swarte, Jonathan Woody, and The Opera Lafayette Orchestra.

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

Caroline and Max Jahn.
Charles Holmes, Carole French, and John French.
Emily Rafferty, Barbara Tober, and Layla Diba.
Joel Bell and April Gow.
Kitty Ockenden, Joel Bell, and Emily Rafferty.
Stephanie Bernheim and Dr. Ralph Wharton.
Theodocia Austen and Parker Jayne.
Tony Bechara.

Photographs by John Jacono (Untermyer Gardens); Richard Lewin (Longhouse).

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