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    October 8 Went to BAM, for the first time since Ethel died, to hear a wonderful modern opera composed and written by Matthew Aucoin called “Crossing”. It is based on Walt Whitman’s experience and the libretto is largely taken from his poetry.

    The story is multi-themed, as modern plays tend to be; the first is a harrowing anti war depiction of the suffering wounded seen through Whitman’s eyes when he volunteered as a nurse during the American civil war; the second is Slavery and its effect upon a run-away slave who fights on the Union side; the third is treachery portrayed by a guilt-laden deserter who spies for the South. And forth, inevitably these days, is the (entirely fictional) homosexual one.

    The powerful music fits the story perfectly and the voices of the lead singers and the chorus is magnificent; Rod Gilfry, bass-baritone, sings the part of Walt Whitman, Alexander Lewis plays John Wormley, the deserter, and Davone Tines, whose baritone reminded me, distinctly, of the sound of the legendary Paul Robeson.  Both Christine and I were extremely moved by the work. We newly discovered Walt Whitman’s poetry, too.

    October 20. Thanks to the invitation of our friend Francia, who is a member, we went to the Diller-Quaile School of Music to listen to a chamber concert given by the Diller-Quaile String Quartet. The program was comprised of Haydn and Debussy quartets; played magnificently by very experienced and talented musicians in an intimate. and perfectly designed, music space. Chatting with the musicians after the concert added to a first class evening.

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NY Day – Cardinal Egan and Bryn Terfel

The Church of St.Vincent Ferrer was the setting for “a Musical Celebration” presented by the Richard Tucker Foundation. From the pulpit, Cardinal Egan introduced a programme sung by members of the Metropolitan Opera headed by Bryn Terfel together with the church’s own choir. The singing was accompanied by pianist, Howard Watkins and the mighty church organ. (See widget).  Courtesy forbad picture-taking of the performers, but here is an impression of the magnificent setting with its back-drop of the Great East window:

The Great East Window

Cardinal Egan at the pulpit

Cardinal Egan with Richard Tucker's son, Barry

In the park last week, I saw this little lad practicing in one of the adult ball fields:

The agony of a short-distance pitcher!

Alfresco dining on third Avenue

 

Upper East Side. Third Avenue

Just another great view from my balcony:

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8 Responses

  1. Love the view from your balcony!

  2. Valerie. It’s a great city, isn’t it!

  3. Did you catch the names of the two selections not listed on the program? One was a bel canto mezzo aria and the other a tenor/baritone duet. Was the latter from the Pearl Fisher?
    Thanks for the info.

    • yfish,hi!. My memory is very uncertain these days but the Terfel/Valenti duet was certainly from Bizet’s Pearl Fishers. The substituted aria I know very well but I cannot place it in its opera–I had the feeling that it was from Mozart’s “Cosi Fan Tutte”, but I’m probably way off.

  4. Fire Man. Very many thanks. I spent a whole evening wracking my memory to no avail.

  5. Okay, since I seemed to have reached some people who attended the performance, what did you think about the acoustics and the success of the church as a locale for concerts? To me it seemed that each performer slid sharp when he/she reached for the full powered high notes. It is possible that with the echos they could not hear themselves. Or was it me and the fact that I was near the entrance door?

    • It took me a little while to collect my thoughts, but here they are: I went to the concert mainly because Terfel was singing and for the chance to see him at close range. I didn’t go with the expectation of great performances–these unrehearsed affairs rarely are–also, I do not have such a highly developed critical taste. I immersed myself in the magnificent surroundings and enjoyed Terfel’s voice and the evening in general.
      But you are right, there were some discordances–at least one of the performances was downright pedestrian almost to the point of boring. And it was a mistake for Mimi and Rodolfo to wander off as if they were going off stage–the nearer they got to the church wall the more their voices echoed and became distorted–ruining the effect of fading into the distance! As for the accoustics, these vast structures are ideal for the great organ. The last Richard Tucker Celebration I attended was in the Temple Emmanuel and I seem to remember that my immpressions were much the same.

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