• Upcoming trips

    13-23 January, 2018 Cruise out of New York around the Caribbean on the Norwegian Gem. Note : this trip has been cancelled altogether because of the damage caused by the hurricanes to the Caribbean islands.

    October 31st - 11 November. Caribbean cruise to break up the winter. Note: The itinerary has not yet been determined owing to the havoc wreaked by the hurricanes.
  • theatre and Concerrts

    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.

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An afternoon at The Cloisters Museum and Martyn Green remembered

The trip to The Cloisters Museum at Fort Tryon Park is a daunting one and a half hour’s ride on the number 4 bus. It stops at every block on the way. It has been 35 years or more since I drove the children  from Westchester to visit the museum and I had no idea that the very northern part of Manhattan is so densely populated.

Incidentally, it was about 45 years ago that I was in the same area to see Martyn Green of D’Oyly Carte fame, the greatest Lord High Executioner of all time, give a performance at one of the University theatres.  By this time, he had lost his leg in a freak elevator accident, but, wearing a prosthetic, he gave a brave, and naturally subdued, rendering of the role which, in his Sadlers’ Wells performances, would have brought the house down. I had seen him take at least ten curtain calls!

Even more daunting, was  the steep flights of steps  leading up to the reception area from the lower entrance (where the bus drops you off). Fortunately, a very courteous guard showed me to a cobbled ramp which curved fairly gently upwards to the front entrance.  I really had not allowed myself enough time to give the medieval artworks their due so I took a few pictures and determined to return to the museum shortly to view them at greater length. I see that I should have paid more attention to captions of the artworks I photographed.

All is calm . . . . . .

Detail of the carved columns supporting the middle-age structure

Wonderful monument to the medieval architects and craftsmen!

Peaceful colonades of pinkish marble

Gothic Chapel

. . . . . some of the long-term occupiers . . . . . .

detail . . . .

Dramatic religious 3-d portraits . . . . . .

Oddly observed proportions by the ancient artist

Carved wood enclosure. I'm not sure what it's original purpose was.

Beautiful carved stone gateway

. . . detail of the relief panel next to the gateway.

Fireplace surrounded by wonderful medieval tapestries


Three stylish ladies of the era . . . . . . .

. . . . . . this one knows exactly what you are thinking, young man!

Alabaster group?

The largest Chapel

Design for a scary flick?

View of the George Washington bridge as you depart from the Cloister Terrace


2 Responses

  1. Wonderful pictures, Ben. Inspires me to make the trip myself although I think the A train or a switch to the IRT at 59th Street will get me there in less time. Good to see you and Ethel looking so well per Skype.

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