• 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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Ukrainian at the Ukraine Institute

While I was returning from the Museum of Natural History on the crosstown bus, I noticed that the Ukraine Institute was hosting an exhibit of contemporary Ukrainian artists, among whom was a painter called Sergei Belik.

Christine’s family name is Bilyk but, translations from Cyrillic characters vary, and I wondered  whether there could be any relationship. We visited the Institute after we returned from Atlantic City and Christine had an opportunity to speak Ukrainian with several people but she gathered very little information about the artists.

However, the exhibition was well worth the visit. In addition to the contemporary work it included  some “Socialist Realism” works from  the Soviet Period which I found interesting since I had last seen the like in Moscow some forty years earlier! Click on the pictures for detail





. . . .

The Ukrainian Institute occupies one of the Fifth Avenue Mansions which is now has Landmark status. It retains much of its original craftsmanship including this magnificent carved oak staircase:




One of the ladies' powder rooms

One of the ladies’ powder rooms

Captivating portrait

Captivating portrait




Beautiful bronze of the Ukrainian poet, Taras Shevchenko

Beautiful bronze of the Ukrainian poet, Taras Shevchenko.  The artist was Alexander Archipenko

Finally, here is one of the collection of “Socialist Realism” works:

This heroic work pictures Krushov welcoming astronaut, Gagarin upon hid return from space

This heroic work pictures  Nikita Khrushchev welcoming astronaut, Yuri Gagarin upon his return from space



2 Responses

  1. Great stuff, thought the Ukranians would be in the east village:) If it ever gets warmer, I’m saving a bottle of wine.

  2. Be happy to share it with you, Stanley.

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