Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Musical Week in New York in Three Acts




Sunday in the Park with George at the Hudson Theater. This photo from The New York Times.
Before the sad event described in my previous post, TD and I had a wonderful week in New York when we attended three delightful musical events within seven days.
One: First up was the Broadway production of Sunday in the Park with George at the Hudson Theater, which was a joy. This musical by genius Stephen Sondheim is about Impressionist painter George Seurat and how he produced his pointillist masterpiece painting Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, which can now be found at the Art Institute of Chicago. What a pleasure it would be to see this painting in person –



When I met TD...that would be 32 years ago...he took me promptly to see Sunday in the Park on Broadway with Bernadette Peters and Mandy Patinkin, and I thought it was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. This new production (which has now completed its run) featured movie star Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford.
Here is the charming cast collecting money for Equity Fights AIDS after the show –



Jake Gyllenhaal is a wonderful actor, and he brought the rough personality of Seurat alive. And I was particularly taken with Annaleigh Ashford who I thought was sexier and more lively than Bernadette Peters. The show is really about the commitment to creating art and the price it can take on one's personal life. It's breathtaking visually and the music is gorgeous. This is not a new notion, but in creating a show about making art, Stephen Sondheim himself produced a masterpiece.

Two: Later that weekend, we headed up to East 128th Street in Harlem to a gala at the Music and Mentoring House hosted by acclaimed opera soprano Laura Flanigan. Laura lives in the oldest nineteenth-century wood frame house in Harlem and it's a beauty –



In the house, Laura offers educational programs for singers, mentoring for artists, professional introductions, and a place for artists to train for auditions. At the fundraising gala on a bright spring day, guests sat in the living room as student artists performed to a piano accompanist while sun streamed in through the tall windows of the old house. Laura also offers Saturday Soirees in her garden where guests can meet and hear the students.
Afterwards we all walked to a nearby Italian restaurant in Harlem called Barawine for food, wine and more music. On the way, our friend Philip pointed out the gigantic home where actor Neil Patrick Harris and his husband and children live. As if on cue, Neil Patrick Harris passed us on the sidewalk with a big smile.
At the restaurant, as we ate pasta and salad and sipped red wine, Laura Flanigan herself sang some songs by Rufus Wainwright –



Outside, the sun cast its last rays on Harlem's beautiful brownstone row houses. It really was a lovely Sunday afternoon.

Three: The following week we were invited to a gala for the Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown which is one of our favorite destinations upstate. This annual gala in New York City raises money for the Glimmerglass Festival Young Artists and Summer Internship Programs. Like Lauren Flanigan's Music and Mentoring House, this program helps young artists in opera get to the next stage in their careers. This summer, the 110 Glimmerglass apprenticeships will offer emerging artists, craftspeople, production and artistic personnel valuable working experience and guidance.
The event, which we have attended before, is held at the gorgeous Edwardian-style Metropolitan Club on Fifth Avenue, which was completed in 1894. After cocktails in the Grand Hall –


guests progressed into the red and gold gilded salon room to hear performances by some of the young talents who will be singing in Cooperstown this summer
The Festival's dynamic Artistic and General Director Francesca  Zambello welcomed the crowd –


(Karli Cadel/The Glimmerglass Festival)
Charismatic director and choreographer Paige Hernandez performed a bit of her Stomping Ground, a Glimmerglass-commissioned hip-hopera that will have its world premier at this summer's Festival –



(Karli Cadel/The Glimmerglass Festival)
Youth Opera Artists Richard Pittsinger and the Sparklers - that is Emma Hullar, Catie LeCours and Aria Maholchic - sang some of Wilde Tales, which weaves together fairy tales by Oscar Wilde and will have its debut in the barn theater at Glimmerglass this summer – 


(Karli Cadel/The Glimmerglass Festival)
It's a great treat to sit in the intimate salon and listen to the artists sing. Several more performances promised an exciting season ahead. If you are near Cooperstown this summer, check out Glimmerglass!

2 comments:

Dean Farris said...

Fabulous! What NYC is all about!

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