So last night I attended The Puccini Foundations "Opera Night" at an Italian Club called Columbus Foundation Club in Manhattan. I went into the evening thinking I was going to drink some fine wine, have a few laughs with my dads boss, and see a full opera but I have to say the night was very different than I thought it was going to be.
We got there and this is what we saw.... I couldn't believe my eyes how beautiful the place was...This is the room the reception was in...
This is the Italia-themed restaurant that is downstairs in the club. It is VERY exclusive to have dinner there. I was lucky enough to be able to go down there at the end and have a drink.
Lastly, this is the GORGEOUS room we had dinner in. You can't see it too well in this picture BUT the carvings on the wall are all very unique, and quite impeccable.
There were three young singers performing selections from Verdi's La Traviata. I have to admit, though I know alot of the music, I had never really studied the story before and after last night it is most definitely in my reading list. We heard several selections from the first two acts of La Traviata, then had a lovely meal. After eating, we watched the third act on a DVD from the 70's starring Placido Domingo and Teresa Strada. After the DVD was over we heard the final duet between the lovers then went onto the dessert course. Though it was not a full opera (as I expected) it was a very incredible night. The mood was just right, the company was splendid, and the food and entertainment was pretty divine. I really ought to write a "Thank you" letter to the club and the founder of the Puccini foundation, Licia Albanese.
Licia Albanese was born on July 22, 1913 (For those of you who are calculating that in your head right now, she is almost 97 years old. She performed at The Metropolitan Opera for over a quarter of her life and she has performed the role of Violetta more times than ANYONE in the entire opera world. I just discovered her yesterday, and I cannot stop listening to her on youtube....
That is her from back in the day .. Even though she is almost 97 years old I encountered first hand yesterday that she still knew every single note, rhythm, and line from "La Traviata". As the young singers performed, it didn't matter if it was Violetta, Alfredo or Giorgio singing you heard the still beautiful Licia Albanese singing along like she was performing herself. It brought tears to my eyes, and joy to my heart to see that music, and opera was still living inside this woman every moment of her 96 year old life. I truly want to be like her one day.
Off Topic but Lady Gaga's father is a member of the club in addition to Licia.
Its pretty amazing how talent congregates in the same place now isn't it? Lady Gaga could be the "Licia" of pop music 70 years down the line...we'll just have to see.
Well until next time. I'm home again, studying large amounts of World Music for my Midterm that is in less than two weeks now. Wish me Luck.