My week in New York

Have you been to a concert somewhere in the world recently? Share your thoughts with us about the performance, the more details the better!

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josé echenique
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My week in New York

Post by josé echenique » Tue Nov 15, 2011 8:29 pm

Hello dear friends,

I´m just back from a great week in New York. My cousin Bertha who works in the cultural department of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City asked me to join her for the opening of the Diego Rivera exhibition at the MoMA, and since there was the opportunity of seeing Don Giovanni and Nabucco at the MET, I of course couldn´t refuse.
The Diego Rivera exhibition was important because it reunited for the first time 3 of 4 portable murals that Diego Rivera painted expressly for the MoMA in 1931, the second artist ever to be granted a personal exhibition in that great museum (the first was Matisse).
The oficial inauguration on monday was quite an event, with the presence of Margarita Zavala, Mexico´s First Lady, David Rockefeller, Diego Rivera´s daughter and dozens of ambassadors and politicians.
After the inauguration there was a cocktail in the lobby of the MoMA and later an afterparty in the Americano Hotel in Chelsea. This hotel is owned by Marcos Micha, the guy who also owns 2 of the murals lent to the MoMA for the exhibition.
On tuesday there were more events related to the exhibition, and an excellent dinner at the Leopard des Artistes restaurant. This restaurant is brother to the famous Gattopardo restaurant just in front of the MoMA. The risotto at both restaurants is warmly recommended.
On Wednesday alter Shopping at Bloomingdale´s and Macy´s we went to the Vivian Beaumont Theater in Lincoln Center to see War Horse. This play is probably the hottest ticket in town, and just because my cousin knows ALL the right people we could get 2 excellent tickets within 1 day notice. The play by Michael Morpurgo is sweet and good natured, but what is really extraordinary is the mise-en-scene, especially those Amazing horses. We enjoyed it a lot.
On friday we went to the MET for Don Giovanni. I must say that I didn´t like the sets by Christopher Oram. I have been many times to Seville, and the houses and streets in this production look more like the ride of the Pirates of the Caribbean in Disneyland, than anything I have seen in Spain. The production itself has no major offenses, it´s just that it´s not very interesting, nothing like the finest I have seen, by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle or Sir Peter Hall.
El Burlador was very well sung and acted by Mariusz Kwiecien who recently recovered from a back injury, but you will never have noticed because of his athletic energy. The Donna Anna, Marina Rebeka is a tall and beautiful woman, she looked regal and sang accurately, the problem is that her voice is not very beautiful, especially if you remember that not that long ago truly outstanding Donna Annas like Anna Tomowa-Sintow and Margaret Price were singing the role all over the World. Frittoli as Donna Elvira sang well but seemed disengaged, and cute, perky Mojca Erdmann was just too perky for my taste.
Ramón Vargas sang splendidly don Ottavio´s 2 arias and Luca Pisaroni was an aceptable Leporello. This performance was conducted by Louis Langrée who has some experience in period performance practice, but it didn´t show in his conducting. After the performance we went to Café Fiorello´s for their delicious super-thin prosciutto and arugula pizza. Kwiecien showed up and was greeted with loud applause.
Next morning I was back at the MET for Nabucco. I was looking forward to it since it must be some 15 years since I last saw it live. The performance didn´t disappoint even if the production was hardly the finest I have seen from Elijah Moshinsky.
Best of all was the Nabucco of Zeljko Lucic who next to Lado Ataneli must be the 2 last Verdi baritones worthy of the name. Marianne Cornetti was an exciting Abigaille, with a voice large enough to command the MET, but her acting abilities were rather rudimentary. The Zaccaria, Dmitry Belosselskiy also has a big voice, so one was grateful that all the considerable vocal demands of this opera were met.
After the opera we walked a little and then went to the nearby Boulud Sud Restaurant on West 64th for a truly outstanding meal. Chef Daniel Boulud is a master, and the kitchen in this place is serious business.
I had a marvelous pumpkin cappelletti and the dessert, a Grapefruit Givré was so delicious and inventive that words can´t describe it, it was heaven.
At 8 we were back in Lincoln Center for the New York Philharmonic with Haitink.
He looks good, and is on top form. The Strauss Don Quixote was a treat. Carter Brey characterized well the Quijote and the orchestra gave it all for Haitink.
Beethoven´s Pastoral was typical Haitink. Very similar to his Concertgebouw and London Philharmonic recordings. It was all very enjoyable.
So we fully benefited from everything New York has to offer, and I didn´t even mention the mild weather and the fabulous burger I had at Bobby Flay´s Bar Americain!

lennygoran
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Re: My week in New York

Post by lennygoran » Wed Nov 16, 2011 10:05 am

>So we fully benefited from everything New York has to offer, and I didn´t even mention the mild weather and the fabulous burger I had at Bobby Flay´s Bar Americain!<

Wow, what an incredible week--I'm so jealous! :) I like Rivera's murals and plan to see the show--also we really want to see WarHorse but don't know any one with connections! :) Tonight we see HD style that Don G you spoke about. Regards, Len

josé echenique
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Re: My week in New York

Post by josé echenique » Wed Nov 16, 2011 10:39 am

lennygoran wrote:>So we fully benefited from everything New York has to offer, and I didn´t even mention the mild weather and the fabulous burger I had at Bobby Flay´s Bar Americain!<

Wow, what an incredible week--I'm so jealous! :) I like Rivera's murals and plan to see the show--also we really want to see WarHorse but don't know any one with connections! :) Tonight we see HD style that Don G you spoke about. Regards, Len
We absolutely had a great time Lenny. From what I saw at the box office, it´s possible to get tickets for WarHorse in mid-week, but the weekends are sold out forever. Still, it´s worth the effort, it´s quite simply, a great show.
Let´s see what you think of Don Giovanni. It´s not really bad, but from an opera house like the MET much more was expected.

lennygoran
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Re: My week in New York

Post by lennygoran » Wed Nov 16, 2011 10:48 am

>Let´s see what you think of Don Giovanni. It´s not really bad, but from an opera house like the MET much more was expected.<

Jose I'll let you know--btw we saw that Nabucco when it was originally done--we enjoyed it--these days I sort of settle for anything that's done at least close to traditional style. Regards, Len :)

lennygoran
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Re: My week in New York

Post by lennygoran » Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:24 am

>Let´s see what you think of Don Giovanni. It´s not really bad, but from an opera house like the MET much more was expected.<

Jose now we've seen it--we got more than we expected--an intelligent traditional set that allows Don Giovanni to speak for itself and a very strong cast. This is the first time I was hearing Vargas doing Mozart--what a class act. The other singers were also quite good--Kwiecien was a wonderful Don G. Adding to the pleasure was having the Don G shown clearly not wanting to duel with the Commendatore and then showing remorse for what had happened--I just love it when the Don is not done as a complete monster. Nope for me this Met production was quite successful. Regards, Len

josé echenique
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Re: My week in New York

Post by josé echenique » Thu Nov 17, 2011 8:18 am

It´s true that this don Giovanni is more likable than he is usually portrayed, which is absolutely right, the guy is not evil, just a kid who wants to have fun -no matter what-. Kwiecien may be the finest don Giovanni of our time, his high lyric baritone is just perfect for the part, and he has enough power for the dramatic last scene.
But I still think that the production looks more like New Orleans than Seville :?

Image

lennygoran
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Re: My week in New York

Post by lennygoran » Thu Nov 17, 2011 8:42 am

>But I still think that the production looks more like New Orleans than Seville :? <

We've been to both places--you have a point there! Regards, Len :)

jbuck919
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Re: My week in New York

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:24 pm

José wrote:After the inauguration there was a cocktail in the lobby of the MoMA ...
No doubt a fine sculpture by Claes Oldenburg.

Really, José, you mustn't go to New York again without taking advantage of the restaurants and the cultural life.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

josé echenique
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Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2010 10:01 am

Re: My week in New York

Post by josé echenique » Tue Nov 22, 2011 7:10 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
José wrote:After the inauguration there was a cocktail in the lobby of the MoMA ...
No doubt a fine sculpture by Claes Oldenburg.

Really, José, you mustn't go to New York again without taking advantage of the restaurants and the cultural life.
NY needs 48 hour days. I´m mad I didn´t have time to go to see Sondheim´s Follies and Satyagraha at the MET. Next time :D

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