The Importance of Being

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Yea, it's hot. Photo: JH.

Very warm for Wednesday and Tuesday and Monday. The town is back after the long weekend although it does seem as if it’s a little quieter. The summer crowds at the resorts are now crowded. The weatherman forecasts more of the same through next week. 

That doesn’t mean it can’t change of course. I could go for a heavy rain for two or three hours, washing the streets and sidewalks, watering the wild life and trees and flowers. I’m being idealistic of course but anything’s possible from Mother Nature.

Meanwhile, back in Paris just a month ago, before the approaching madness of the Olympic Games, there was the always interesting Dinner on Stage gala at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. This was a supremely elegant affair — as you would naturally expect in Paris — that ended in significant news.

That being the theater’s general director Michel Franck who spoke – in a very moving speech – inducting his successor next season, Baptiste Charroing: “Thank you to all those who make the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées the jewel it is today. Thank you for their trust and support. And for their loyalty and their dedication.” 

The moment, the evening, was magical, as you know that only Paris can be where patrons were surrounded by prestigious artists. The entertainment included a duet by mezzo-soprano Catherine Trottmann and countertenor Philippe Jaroussky. The menu was created by Yannick Alléno, the three Michelin star chef of Pavillon Ledoyen.

H.H. Prince and Princess Joachim Murat.

The evening also boasted a surprise birthday salute to H.H. Prince Joachim Murat. Among the guests from the U.S. were philanthropists Anne and Steve Deli, Marifé Hernández and Joel Bell, Judith Pisar, Daniele and Philip Ruskin. 

Also announced was the formation of the theater’s new International Circle, co-chaired by Marifé Hernández in New York and Jean-Marc Daillance in Paris. 

“This is to make sure the world outside of Paris discovers the magic of the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées,” Mme. Hernández explained, adding, “in the not-too-distant future, our International Circle will welcome you to this historic French theater where you will meet Parisians who will invite you into their homes which adds a unique personal touch to the Cultural Experience. All of the sudden, you will be part of the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées family.”

Also joining the International Circle as Founding Committee Members were Ariane Batterberry, Ketty Maisonrouge, Veronique Bich, and Stéphane Dalyac. International Circle Members will receive special preferred tickets to the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, as well as opportunities to meet incredible and significant artists performing with the theater in both in Paris and across the globe. 

“This is the most prestigious and intimate theater in Paris” continued Mme. Hernández, “Artists choose to perform there often because of the warmth of the environment, and a stage design where all the seats are close to the stage.  It is this proximity, combined with remarkable leadership, that make it unique.”

Joel Bell et Marifé Hernandez ©Olivier Borde.jpg
Joel Bell and Marifé Hernandez.

“We are furthering that relationship, by offering a chance to become close to the directors, conductors, singers, musicians, and dancers — some of the most famous talents in the world today, who populate this historic theater.” 

“It is always the greatest pleasure to stand in front of the art deco façade of the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées,” offered Jean-Marc Daillance added. “Where else can you find a fully staged Swan Lake, as well as the Vienna Philharmonic playing all of Beethoven’s Symphonies, and a concert by Anna Netrebko all sharing the same stage?”

Opened in 1913, the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées is one of the Jewels of Paris. At no. 15 avenue Montaigne (situated near avenue des Champs-Élysées) it is a landmark with a remarkable range. From its very first season it made its mark, presenting important artists including Claude Debussy, Camille Saint-Saëns, Anna Pavlova and Ballets Russes.

To learn more:

Anne and Michel Franck
Anne and Michel Franck.
Dominique Mine and Marie-Laure Mine.
Dominique Mine and Marie-Laure Mine.
L. to r.: Martine Lelouch and Marie Ambaus; Judith Pisar.
Philip and Danièle RUSKIN © Vincent Pontet (50)
Philip and Danièle Ruskin.
Raymond Soubie and Danielle Deruy; Stéphane Rolland.
L. to r.: Raymond Soubie and Danielle Deruy; Stéphane Rolland.
Steve and Anne Deli © Vincent Pontet (38)
Steve and Anne Deli.
L. to r.: Pierre Alain de Malleray and Sarah de Malleray, Président Fondation du Théâtre des Champs-Elysees; Roselyne Bachelot, ancienne Ministre de la Culture.
Teresa Dziurda, Julia Neugebauer, Cécile Devillers, Carla Bertozzi, and Clémentine Kruse.
Teresa Dziurda, Julia Neugebauer, Cécile Devillers, Carla Bertozzi, and Clémentine Kruse.

Meanwhile, just last week on Wednesday here in New York, Designer Marc Rosen hosted a cocktail party at his Fifth Avenue residence, along with Vin Cipolla, President and CEO of Historic New England for Tripp Evans’ new book The Importance of Being Furnished.

And just outside Mr. Rosen’s apartment overlooking Central Park, it was one of those recent summer days, very early evening, with temps still up into the 90s.

Marc Rosen, Candace Bushnell, Vin Cipolla
Marc Rosen, Candace Bushnell, and Vin Cipolla.

It was a good sized crowd in spite of the warm weather, with friends enjoying the champagne and the canapes while listening to pianist Richard Jenkins playing standards from the American songbook on Marc’s Steinway (which was a gift to Arlene and Marc from Van Cliburn who frequently visited and sat down at the keyboard).

Once everyone was seated (about thirty guests), Mr. Evans was introduced; and he gave an excellent, if brief, but thorough explanation of how American interior decoration progressed and why, sharing the book’s development of American interior design. He chose to show it through the stories of four historic houses, and how each of the men who were pivotal in transforming their homes into a theatrical stage.

Richard Jenkins.
Richard Jenkins.

Fascinating. Guests each received a signed copy. I’m not much for decorating although it often fascinates because it is the creative aspect of personality. You enter someone’s “home” and you get another look into that personality. 

Maybe. And maybe not nowadays when everything major is white on white or beige on smage. Or grey or black (and quack quack quack). This has become a common visual over the past couple of decades. Although well on our way before.  Zzzzzz …

Jackie Weld Drake and Bill Beadleston.

Your house is like your closet, what you wear, how you wear it, how you’re perceived; because it’s all natural in terms of choice.  Even if you didn’t choose but let a decorator do it all, it’s still a reflection of you.

The houses in Mr. Evans beautifully published book were reflections of the last half of the 19th, and very early 20th century American décor sensibilities. But the book shows you the personalities who made the choices, artful in many ways and au current back in the days when the electric light, the telephone, the auto had just entered the modern world, changing everything and only the beginning of changing continuing.

Guests included; Candace Bushnell, Juliana Terian, Kathy Sloane, Yanna Avis, Peter Bacanovic, Cornelia Bregman, Michele Gerber Klein, Fern Tailer, Flis Blum, Susan Gutfreund, Maureen Lippe, Jackie Drake, Billy Beadleston, Dudley Stevens, Jonathan Marder, Margo Langenberg, Victoria Lamas (daughter of Lorenzo Lamas and Marc’s granddaughter), Luca Saffer, Aeros Wang, Roberta and Arthur Houghton, Terence Mack, and Mai Hallingby.

Juliana Terian, Roberta Houghton, Cornelia Sharpe Bregman
Juliana Terian, Roberta Houghton, and Cornelia Sharpe Bregman.
Victoria Lamas (daughter of Lorenzo Lamas, and grand daughter of Marc Rosen) and Luca Saffer; Fern Tailer and Flis Blum
L. to r.: Victoria Lamas and Luca Saffer; Fern Tailer and Flis Blum.
Vin Cipolla, R. Tripp Evans, Marc Rosen
Vin Cipolla, R. Tripp Evans, and Marc Rosen.
Arthur Houghton, Susan Goodfriend, Margo Langenberg
Arthur Houghton, Susan Gutfreund, and Margo Langenberg.
Vin Cipolla and Deborah Allinson
Vin Cipolla and Deborah Allinson.
Michelle Gerber Klein, Terence Mack
Michelle Gerber Klein and Terence Mack.
Liam McNeill, Dudley Stevens
Liam McNeill and Dudley Stevens.
Kathy Sloane, Mai Hallingby, and Margo Langenberg.
Aeros, Juliana Terian, Maureen Lippe, Marc Rosen
Aeros Wang, Juliana Terian, Maureen Lippe, and Marc Rosen.
Marc Rosen, Yanna Avis
Marc Rosen and Yanna Avis.

Catching up with the Calendar Out East where philanthropists and event Co-Chairs Patricia and Roger Silverstein hosted a kick-off party in honor of the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation’s 4th Annual Hamptons Garden Gala at their elegant home in Water Mill.

Friends and supporters of the Foundation came together to celebrate the launch of the summer campaign in support of the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation (DRIF) at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

This particular evening perfectly blended the finest aspects of a beautiful gala with the intimacy of a convivial dinner party. It began with a lively cocktail reception; a delicious, seated dinner; unique silent and live auctions; exciting entertainment; dancing under the stars; and more. It was an unforgettable night full of fun, inspiration, and progress toward a cure for diabetes. 

Among the notable attendees were Brian Packin, Carrie Packin, Jean Shafiroff, Noreen Donovan, James Byrnes, Maximillian Eicke, Irina Eicke, Lauren Smart, Geoff Smart, Elena Ulansky, Nitin Gambhir, Lauren Summa, Rebecca Seawright, Joe and Yoly Light.

Patricia and Roger Silverstein.
Patricia and Roger Silverstein.
Carrie Packin with family; Jean Shafiroff.
L. to r.: Carrie and Brian Packin with family; Jean Shafiroff.
L. to r.: Patricia Silverstein, Roger Silverstein, and Lauren Summa; Maximilian Eicke and Irina Kro Eicke.
Louise Braverman, Rebecca Seawright.
Louise Braverman and Rebecca Seawright.
L. to r.: Nitin Gambhir and Elena Ulansky; Lauren and Geoff Smart.
L. to r.: Anna Kazanchyan and friend; Noreen Donovan with James Byrnes.

Photographs by ©Olivier Borde & Vincent Pontet (Théâtre des Champs-Élysées); Rob Rich/ (Marc Rosen); VITAL Photo NYC (Diabetes Research Institute).

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