|Me at Storm King, by karigee|
The last two years of this New Yorker's life have been among the busiest of my life. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how one sees being gainfully employed, most of my time has been spent working on some of the most exciting Chapter 11 cases of my professional career as a bankruptcy paralegal. Of course, all work and no play would lead to a very dull SarahB. While I'm seeing less live entertainment, I'm doing my best to make sure it's quality rather than quantity.
Back in April, I went to a party full of like-minded friends. One commented that she thought that I had "given up on Broadway." Not entirely true. I do want to see Broadway plays and musicals, but they better be worthy of my time. That being said, I sometimes will see something I might not see on my own dime if it's a chance to sit next to a great friend. Case in point: I saw Clybourne Park with Kevin Daly (http://www.theatreaficionado.com/) on April 20th and Leap of Faith with Byrne Harrison (http://www.stagebuzz.com/) on April 25th. I didn't love either production, but I definitely loved being with my friends.
April 6th brought me the Bruce Springsteen concert at Madison Square Garden with Kari and Sally. It was so exciting and we danced the entire time! I also found time to see my very first event at the impressive Alice Tully Hall: Anna Caterina Antonacci in recital on April 8th. She was magnificent and she's not in America nearly enough. I had only seen her as Elizabeth to Mariella Devia's Mary in the video of Maria Stuarda, which is one of my all time favorites. On April 10th, I accepted a last minute invitation from Kevin Daly to see The Mikado at Carnegie Hall. Loved it! On April 15th, I caught Frederica von Stade's guild talk and masterclass presented by the Met Opera Guild. She is such fun and even though we only heard snippets of her vocalizing along with her two lovely students, she still has a gorgeous voice and I want to hear her sing a full recital now. My favorite revelation from the talk: she was Ethel Merman's secretary for one day. Can you imagine taking dictation from the Merm?! On April 18th, Noah and I took in the new musical by the Title of Show gang, Now. Here. This. down at the Vineyard. Brilliant collaboration to say the least. They presented a beautiful reminder to live life fully.
The best thing about April was a brief trip to Washington, D.C. to see Noah Himmelstein's direction of the world premier opera Positions 1956 at Urban Arias. The show was not only radiantly beautiful, visually and audibly satisfying, it was thought-provoking and deeply emotional. I found myself laughing and crying and there are still scenes playing in my head. The one act chamber opera features music by Conrad Cummings and lyrics by Michael Korie. The perfect cast was Amedee Moore, Jesse Blumberg and Vale Rideout. The music was reminiscent of so many styles, particularly Handel and Glass. The libretto was funny yet poignant and even triumphant. I have rarely been so engaged and cared so much about characters. I have rarely felt so proud at the achievement of a friend. I've been nothing less than certain about Noah's future success since he was a freshman in college; seeing this production was a confirmation that there is brilliance and true talent in this young man.
May brought some pretty exciting live performance. In what turned out to my last opera of the season, I saw Karita Mattila in The Makropulos Case on May 1st. It was a brilliant production and I adored Karita's performance. On May 6th, I dragged Kari to see Nanci Griffith at City Winery. I hadn't seen Nanci in concert since I lived in Austin and oh boy, did I miss her! I love her new album, "Intersection," and her song "Hell No (I'm not alright)" is brilliant! I was so happy to hear most of my favorites from her considerable songbook. I was back at Alice Tully Hall on May 13th for Christine's Brewer American recital. I'm still reeling over her performance of Alan L. Smith's "Vignettes: Letters from George to Evelyn," a song cycle of WWII letters home. On May 20th, Noah and I took the MetroNorth to Connecticut to catch the regional production of Into the Woods at Westport Playhouse. This was my first time to see this Sondheim musical live, having only previously seen and loved the video starring Bernadette Peters, Chip Zion and Joanna Gleason. I didn't love this fairly humorless production; I was expecting something more magical from director Mark Lamos. I did enjoy the performances though, particularly of the consistent and thoughtful Erik Lieberman as the Baker.
May 24th turned out to be one of my strangest days as a New Yorker: I was hit by a car at the corner of 58th and 6th Avenue. Actually, it was more like being shoved by the small suv and I wasn't hurt other than a mild bruise on my thigh and a scrape on my arm, but I sure was frightened. I don't remember a lot about the incident except that I wasn't jaywalking and I had the supposed protection of the crosswalk light. I thought the driver was playing a game of chicken and I was certainly scurrying to get out of his way. I remember shouting at the top of my voice at the driver, "What's wrong with you!" I had escaped work early and was on my to Carnegie Hall to see the Cleveland Orchestra's concert production of Salome. Not even getting shoved by a car was going to keep me from Carnegie Hall. The production starred Nina Stemme (Salome), Eric Owens (Jochanaan), Rudolf Schasching (Herod), and Jane Henschel (Herodias). The performances were outstanding and the curtain applause for Stemme was roof raising.
Now, the end of June is nigh. June has been good to me: not one but two Presidents of the United States on a Broadway stage, Patti LuPone at the new 54 Below, another Broadway play, another film viewing of Mariella Devia being awesome in an opera, great times spent with friends, and a day trip to Storm King which included a bicycle ride, further allowing me to conquer a fear I had been harboring since I Evil Knieveled over the handlebars of a moped in Hawaii almost 20 years ago.
This summer holds some exciting adventures to come, including Kate Baldwin at Arena Stage and travel abroad with my nephew Cody. I'll try to share these events with you somewhere down the road. In the meantime, I'll just keep pinching myself that this New Yorker's life is real.