Tag Archives: Carnegie Hall

New York City Blog — Dec. 14 – Dec. 17

Standing in line, hoping we’d get in, we got the last two seats in MOMA’s Theater 3 for Big Deal on Madonna Street. Its Italian title is I Soliti Ignoti (The Usual Suspects ). It was directed by Mario Monicelli and had a stellar cast: Vittorio Gassman, Marcello Mastrioanni, Toto, (the beloved Neopolitan wise guy of Italian movies), Renato Salvatori, Claudia Cardinale. And, of course, post-war Rome. The movie dates from 1958 and shows the urban poor scrabbling to survive in gritty Rome. Italy had an awful war: a maelstrom of individual bravery, stoicism, ridicule, suffering, fleeing. and famine. In I Soliti Ignoti there’s a scene in which the inept thieves gobble food they’ve discovered in the house they’re burglarizing. It reminded me of Sophia Lorne eating ravinously in the 1960 masterpiece, Two Women set in the time of World War 2.

Pouring out of a packed, usually quiet restaurant, on Thursday night we went to Carnegie Hall. The NYC buzz was in high gear. Joyce DiDonato, the mezzo soprano, presented In War and Peace: Harmony through Music. As we entered the Hall, we saw Ms. DiDonato sitting stationary on the stage, so still that I thought she was a statue. In addition to her singing there was interpretive dancing by Manuel Palazzo. As light designs shimmered across the stage, Ms. DiDonato, representing War and Peace, sang sections, from among others, Handel and Purcell. Her question to the enthusiastic audience was, In the midst of chaos, how do you find peace?

Joyce DiDonato: In War & Peace:Harmony Through Music






Graphic Lessons: Recent widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man, deals with the only witness to the stabbing, a troubled nine year old, befriends a lying seventeen year old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.

New York City Blog May 10-16

I went to an afternoon concert at Carnegie Hall expecting to hear mezzo-soprano, Sarah Craft Nelson. What a surprise to open the program and discover I was about to hear the Bob Jones University Singers. Why not? Eventually, Sarah Nelson Craft appeared under the aegis of the Masterworks Festival Chorus and New York City Chamber Orchestra. Her lustrous voice soared and glided in Vivaldi’s Gloria.
Later in the day a friend and I indulged in Minetta Tavern’s marrow bones and the bartender’s traditional Tom Collins. Like Sardi’s the Minetta Tavern’s walls are covered with caricatures of well know and unknown and forgotten celebrities.


Minetta Tavern Celebrity
Minetta Tavern Celebrity

A Columbia alumnus and I went to the Cosmopolitan Club’s Library for a Columbia sponsored talk on George Eliot’s Middlemarch. The participants fell over themselves musing about women’s rights in nineteenth century England. Have you noticed how Middlemarch has become one of those books you MUST like? The Cosmopolitan’s library is a dream. It’s filled with books: fiction, non-fiction, weighty dictionaries, picture books. There are comfy chairs to flop in and read or daydream or gaze out the eighth floor windows at Manhattan.


Cosmopolitan Club Library
Cosmopolitan Club Library

A late afternoon CMS Spanish Dances concert at Alice Tully Hall rounded off a busy week. A Boccherini string quintet followed by Paganini’s Terzetto Concertante featured the fabulous classical guitarist, Jason Vieaux. After the intermission, Alessio Bax, the pianist and Benjamin Beilman, the violinist roared through several pieces by Falla and then topped their performance with Ravel’s Sonata for Violin and Piano. Both performers are determined and exciting. I had given up a performance at Carnegie Hall to see Bax and was not disappointed.

About time: the Vatican finally recognized the State of Palestine.

New York City Blog April 5 — April 11

Judson Memorial Church was packed on Easter Sunday. The clergy conducted the service, the choir sang with gusto and the cooks arranged the parishioners’ gifts of food – ham anyone?- A few brave women revived the Easter bonnet tradition.We were asked to write on a strip of ribbon what we treasured most and then hang the ribbon on the line pictured in the photo. Buddhism + United Church of Christ?

Easter at Judson
Easter at Judson

Eugène Green”s Sapienza was showing at Film Forum. The photography is wonderful.It’s a thoughtful, formal whirlwind tour of Borromini’s architecture. How do you determine your love of a place? One of my ways is its architecture.

A delicious dinner at Molyvos preceded a Carnegie Hall evening with Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock. Do these musicians walk on water? The multiage audience thought so. We were seated in the central balcony which is five stairways north. We were surrounded by fans who were utterly silent during the music and gloriously rowdy when applauding. Did you see The Red Shoes? There’s a scene in the Covent Garden peanut gallery showing the passion of the poor, young, talented students. I thought of that at Carnegie Hall. As much as I admire Hancock’s and Corea’s work, the real stars were the audience.
On Friday, I spent a civilized two hours in the Frick’s Music Room. Clinton Luckett, ABC’s ballet master, stood ramrod straight and explained in a too soft voice the convoluted origins of the Don Quixote ballet. Excerpts from the ballet were performed by ABC artists. It was so precious we could have been encased in a Fabergé egg.