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Jill Krementz covers Opening Night of Anna Bolena

The banner for Anna Bolena has been created by artist Glenn Brown. Mr. Brown is a Scottish-born artist who is represented by Gagosian in New York.
The Metropolitan Opera
Opening Night Gala
Anna Bolena New Production Premiere
Monday, September 26, 2011


The Metropolitan Opera opened its season with its eagerly awaited production of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena. I initially wondered if the almost-four-hour opera would be too long. It wasn’t. The only minutes I’m counting are the ones until I can see it again.

Anna Netrebko, the Russian soprano, sang the title role in the operatic melodrama about Henry VIII’s second wife.

Ms. Netrebko was joined by Ekatrerina Gubanova (mezzo-soprano and a fellow Russian), Tamara Mumford (mezzo-soprano), Ildar Abdrazakov (also Russian), and tenor Stephen Costello in title roles.

Marco Armiliato conducted, David McVicar directed, Robert Jones designed the sets, and Jenny Tiramani was responsible for the lavish costumes.

We can thank Peter Gelb, the Met’s general Manager who has, for a long time, wanted to add this splendid opera to the repertory. And the Met can thank Mercedes Bass for underwriting the entire evening.
Posters outside the Met.
Anne Patterson is a set designer. Her installation and direction for The Atlanta's Symphony's Bach's St. Matthew Passion opens in March. Her necklace is by Assya, who is based in London. 60 Minutes' Bob Simon, who I see all the time at the Met. "I have been coming forever. When I was a young boy my father played a 78 rpm record of Carmen for me and I've loved opera ever since."
Outside the Met, Kenneth Stern was selling copies of Giuditta Pasta, A Life on the Lyric Stage, his recently published book.

Giuditta Pasta was a soprano considered among the greatest of opera singers, to whom the 20th-century soprano Maria Callas was compared.
Pasta sang regularly in London, Paris, Milan, and Naples between 1824 and 1837.

The diva created Donizetti's Anna Bolena in Milan (Teatro Carcano)
in 1830.
Wayne Lawson and Albert Imperato. Mr. Lawson is the Executive Literary Editor of Vanity Fair. Mr. Imperato represents Anna Netrebko, Deborah Voigt, and Stephen Costello, "who is our
tenor tonight."
Thomas Campbell and his wife Phoebe. Mr. Campbell is the director of the Metropolitan Museum so it was a night of running from one Met to the other.
Martha Stewart with her 30-year-old nephew Christopher Herbert. Mr. Herbert is an operatic singer. I stood beside him later when we all sang The Star Spangled Banner, and everyone turned to see who he was. Morgan Entrekin and his wife Rachel Cobb. Mr. Entrekin runs Grove/Atlantic. Ms. Cobb is a photojournalist.
Artists Julie Mehretu and Jessica Rankin. They are married and have two sons, age 6 and 1. Julian Lethbridge, a painter who recently showed at Paula Cooper Gallery in NY.
Tom Campbell and artist Francesco Clemente.
Christine Coulson and Sarah Hoover. Ms. Coulson (wearing Commes de Garcons top and Erdem skirt) works with Tom Campbell as his senior advisor. Ms. Hoover (wearing Fendi) is a dealer in sales at Gagosian. Dodie Kazanjian (Vogue Magazine) with her husband Calvin Tomkins, known as Tad. Ms. Kazanjian is the curator of Gallery Met and is currently exhibiting the work of Peter Doig. Mr. Tomkins writes for The New Yorker and at 85 is going strong. He will soon be profiled in the Times by writer Deborah Solomon.
Jessica Rankin, Julie Mehretu, Dodie Kazanjian, Tad Tomkins, Francesco Clemente, Tom and Phoebe Campbell, Julian Lethbridge, Cindy Sherman, and Judith Goldman.
Cindy Sherman will have a huge show of her work at MoMA in February, 2012. Bob Schear and Tyne Daly. Mr. Schear, a stage manager, was with Gypsy when Tyne played the starring role. She has recently portrayed diva Maria Callas in Terrence McNally's Master Class.
Zac Posen and model Crystal Wren, who is not surprisingly wearing one of his dresses. Crystal Wren and Zac Posen head into the house to take their seats.
Audience seated outside the Met watching telecast on huge screen.
Seth Bannon, an entrepreneur, and Justine Kolata, who is a student at Yale majoring
in Philosophy.
Arthur and Barbara Gelb, proud parents of Peter Gelb, the Met's General Manager. The Gelbs are in the final stages of completing the last volume of their Eugene O'Neill biography.
Barbara Bartlett Sloan. Anthony Roth Constanzo will be singing at the Met on New Year's Eve in The Enchanted Island.
Actress Leelee Sobieski wearing Rodarte shoes.

She will soon be featured in an upcoming TV production called 2-2, about lawyers.

Ms. Sobieski is an American actress who achieved recognition in her mid-teens for her performance in the 1998 film Deep Impact. She received an Emmy nomination for the 1999 TV movie Joan of Arc.
The evening began with the audience singing The Star Spangled Banner, and then the lights dimmed.
INTERMISSION ON THE GRAND TIER
Oscar de la Renta, who designed many of the beautiful gowns worn by the opening
night guests.
Barry Diller, not wearing Oscar, but looking great.
Dr. Henry Kissinger, John Richardson, and Nancy Kissinger.
Oscar de la Renta and Barry Diller. Mercedes Bass, who underwrote the entire evening. She is wearing Oscar.
Diana Picasso. Bob Colacello, who has taken a leave from Vanity Fair to write Volume Two of his biography of Nancy and Ronald Reagan.
MoMA and P.S. 1 curator
Klaus Biesenbach.
Barbara Walters.
Grace and Angela Chao with Jim Bryer and Lally Weymouth.
Peter Brown. Dr. Herbert Pardes, who heads NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.
Judith Corrento wearing Dior. Ms. Corrento is the Managing Director of the Met's Board. Bill Harrison, retired from JP Morgan, and Joe Ackermann, Chairman of Deutsche Bank. Mr. Ackermann added "I'm also artistic director of the Met, but they've never asked me for artistic advice."
Cecile Zilkha. Ezra Zilkha.
A view of the opening night guests during the intermission. They are standing outside the boxes of the grand tier drinking champagne and eating smoked salmon hors d'oeuvres.
Sid Bass. Terence Kooyker, who trades commodities, and Kate Leitch, who is a structural engineer. Ms. Leitch is wearing Vera Wang.
Peggy Siegal and Joy Philbin. Elizabeth Polisi and Met board member,
Howard Solomon.
Julia Koch (as in David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center) and Sotheby's Jamie Niven. Joseph Polisi, who is head of Juilliard.
Joseph Volpe, former General Manager of
the Met.
Dr. Kissinger with Adrienne Arsht, a board member and treasurer of The Kennedy Center. Ms. Arsht is wearing a white strapless Elie Saab dress with YSL purple belt.
Peter Martins, who runs New York City Ballet which recently premiered Paul McCartney's major orchestral work Ocean's Kingdom, with Jean and Joseph Volpe.
Poet "Sandy" McLatchey, who did the excellent English titles for Anna Bolena, and his partner, graphic designer Chip Kidd. And soon the gongs were ringing and it was time to head back to our seats. Sy Newhouse returning to his seat after intermission.
After a breathtakingly beautiful second act, the curtain came down on Anna Bolena and it was time for the thunderous clapping and "Bravos."
Stephen Costello
as Lord Percy.
Ildar Abdrazakov as Henry VIII, King of England. Ekatrerina Gubanova as
Giovanna Seymour.
Anna Netrebko and Maestro Marco Armiliato.
The creative team is beckoned on stage.
Ildar Abdrazakov, Anna Netrebko, Jenny Tiramani (costume designer), Donald Palumbo (chorus master), and Paule Constable (lighting designer).
On to the gala dinner ...
After the big red curtain came down, invited guests made their way to a gala dinner passing through Gallery Met. That's Tad Tomkins viewing Peter Doig's paintings.
Artists Julian Lethbridge and Francesco Clemente
Peter Doig's exhibition, Siegfried + Poster Project, is in conjunction with upcoming
Ring cycle.
Tom Campbell gets to view an exhibit not at his
own museum.
Into the gala dinner ...
For the dinner we entered what looked like the Court of King Henry VIII.
One of the banners hanging from above. Andre Bishop, Artistic Director of Lincoln
Center Theater.
Sarah Billinghurst, Met's Assistant Manager. Bryn Terfel, the Welsh bass-baritone who opened last year's season in Wagner's
Das Rheingold.
Bryn Terfel with Paula Kerger, President & CEO of PBS Television.
Ronald Wilford, who hired Peter Gelb back in the days when Peter was at Columbia Artists Management. Mary Beth Rosenthal, who is an education advocate. "My husband grew up with
Peter Gelb."
Andrew Rosenthal who writes for The New York Times. Jacqueline Desmarais and her escort, The Honourable Serge Joyal, who in is in Canada's Senate. Ms. Desmarais also lives in Canada and is a generous donor. Sapphires happen to be her birthstone.
Peter Gelb and his wife, conductor Keri-Lynn Wilson,
are looking happy because Ann Ziff is announcing that the evening has made $5.3 million for the Met, thanks to Mercedes Bass who has underwritten the evening.
Met Chairman Anne Ziff.
The event planners. Geoffrey Bradfield and Margo Langenberg.
Maestro Marco Armiliato, Tenor Stephen Costello, Director David McVicar, and Assistant Director, Andrew George.
Director David McVicar. Anna Bolena is the first in a trilogy of works based on the lives of Tudor-era queens that Mr. McVicar will direct at the Met over the next few seasons (the other two are Maria Stuarda and
Roberto Devereux).
Maestro Marco Armiliato with Kevin Kennedy, who identified himself as "just a broken down investment banker."
Tamara and Nathan Mumford. Ms. Mumford is a mezzo-soprano and sang Smeaton in Anna Bolena. Anna Netrebko makes her way into the gala dinner on the arm of her proud husband,
Erwin Schrott.
Laura Michalchyshyn and Niv Fichman. Ms. Michalchyshyn serves as President and General Manager of Planet Green and FitTV at Discovery Communications. Niv Fichman is a Canadian film producer and director whose film, The Red Shoes, is a classic. Mariusz Kwiecień will sing Don Giovanni at the Met in three weeks. Mr. Kwiecień, born in Kraków, Poland, is an operatic baritone who has sung leading roles in the major opera houses of Europe.
The gorgeous Anna Netrebko.
Arthur Gelb chatting with Veronika Arkhangel. When Ms. Arkhangel was in college, she used to work for Arthur. Now she works in the rehearsal department at the Met.
Sara Wilford is a Professor of psychology at Sarah Lawrence College. Ms. Wilford's stepfather, Jock Whitney, hired me to work for The New York Herald Tribune in 1964 as a Staff Photographer. Deborah Voigt, who will sing in the Met's Siegfried on October 27th.
Peter Gelb welcomes guests.

"Usually we don't behead our singers until they're well off stage. But tonight Anna Netrebko lost her head for a very good cause in an artistic triumph and all of us lost our heads over
her performance."
The centerpieces for Henry VIII's court dinner.
Flutes and flowers.
Peter Gelb thanks Erana Stennett from Bloomberg for all their help. Marie and Michael Elms. Mr. Elms is with Rolex, big donors for the evening.
Anna Netrebko with her husband, Erwin Schrott.

Mr. Scrott is an acclaimed bass-baritone who is well-known for his performances in the title role of Mozart's Don Giovanni. He and his wife performed this opera together when the Met toured Japan
in 2006.

He told me that his wife is responsible for the gorgeous golden tips on his hair.
James Naples, House Manager. Shannon Preston, one of the event planners for the evening who was especially helpful to me. Ms. Shannon is wearing Kay Unger.
Dr. Jenny Cho and Dr. Anthony Jahn, house physicians.
Christine Baranski and her 24-year-old daughter Lily Cowles. Ms. Cowles had just received her Master's in visual anthropology at Oxford University.
Lily Cowles.

"I borrowed these vintage YSL earrings from my mother, who has an endless supply of fabulous jewelry."
Archie Panjabi and Christine Baranski, who star in my favorite series, The Good Wife. The new season has just started and now airs on Sunday nights. And no, Ms. Panjabi wasn't wearing her trademark black boots. Katherine Farley and her husband, Jerry Speyer. Ms. Farley is in her second year as Chairman of
Lincoln Center.
Peter Gelb, Jacqueline Desmarais, and Mercedes Bass.
Guillermo Martinez and Keri-Lynn Wilson. Robert Jones, the set designer of
Anna Bolena.
Mr. Jones was making his debut with the Met.
Erwin Schrott and Robert Jones.
Sid Bass and Mr. Jones.
Bass sandwich with Bryn Terfel as the peanut butter. Mrs. Bass's emeralds, which "did not come with the dress."
Katherine McAllen (purple dress), Myfe Moore (sequined top), and Mary Harper are three Texans who have a "Girls Night Out" every year when they fly to NYC for the Met's Opening Night. Ms. McAllen and Ms. Harper are sisters; Ms. Moore is their mother. They are big donors.
Sage and Keith Miller. They are expecting a baby girl on November 7th. Keith Miller has been with the Met for six season. This evening Mr. Miller sang the role of Anna's brother, Lord Rochefort.

I could tell the 37-year-old was a bass the minute he told me his name. "My voice cracked when I was in 5th grade."
Jenny Tiramani (making her Met debut) designed the sumptuous costumes for the Met's production of Anna Bolena.

I loved everything: the brocades, velvets, silks, white ruffled cuffs, head-dresses, colorful tights, and the bright garnet ring worn by Henry VIII on his wedding finger--on top of one of his bright yellow gloves.

It was like watching the recreation of a Flemish painting.
Ann Ziff has recently opened a jewelry store called Tamsen Z at 783 Madison Avenue between 66th and 67th Street. She is wearing a turquoise dress with appliques designed by the Polish designer, Kuczynska. Mrs. Ziff's earrings are diamonds set in rose gold, and they will be on sale in her store by the time you read this.
The two stars of the evening, Anna Netrebko and Peter Gelb. Bravos to them both! A guest took home a few beautiful roses from the spectacular centerpieces.
Keri-Lynn Wilson, Mercedes Bass, and Peter Gelb at the end of a triumphant evening.
At the evening's end, Mercedes Bass grabbed a program for a souvenir. It was 1:30 AM and she said to me: "Oh I wish the evening did not have to end so early."
Text and photographs © by Jill Krementz: all rights reserved.




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