Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Don lives

Polish baritone Mariusz Kwiecień returned to the title role in Mozart’s “Don Giovanni”  a mere two weeks after having surgery on a herniated disc, aggravated during a rehearsal for The Metropolitan Opera’s new production. In an interview during a rebroadcast of “The Met: Live in HD” transmission, seen recently at City Center 15: Cinema de Lux in White Plains and venues worldwide, Kwiecień (KVEE tchen) told host Renée Fleming that he’s been singing the Don – who spends a lot of time exerting himself with the ladies – for nine years.

“Gee,” one City Center attendee whispered to her friend, “no wonder he hurt his back.”
Yes, that’s one of the many treats of experiencing  the “Live in HD” simulcasts: The (mostly senior) audience is almost as delicious as the operas.
For the uninitiated, The Met began simulcasting select productions into venues likes City Center, Regal New Roc Stadium 18 & IMAX in New Rochelle, Fairfield University’s Regina A. Quick Center and The Ridgefield Playhouse in 2006, adding locations worldwide and increasing the number of offerings each year. What might’ve appeared to be counterintuitive – taking audiences away from the opera house itself – turned out to be a stroke of genius on the part of Met General Manager Peter Gelb, the former SONY Classical president (and son of onetime New York Times’ managing editor Arthur Gelb) who started out at The Met as a teen usher and took over the top job four months before launching “Live in HD.” Since then, the series has sold nearly eight million tickets, while the 2011–12 season is being seen on more than 1,500 screens in more than 50 countries across six continents. Not only has “Live in HD” not detracted from The Met audience, it has helped the opera house to thrive at a time when other big cultural institutions are struggling.
It’s not surprising: The Nov. 16 rebroadcast of “Don Giovanni” at City Center alone filled two sold-out theaters, which is typical of the simulcasts. At roughly $20 a ticket, “Live in HD” is infinitely cheaper and more convenient than attending performances at The Met. Although nothing can replace the experience of being there, “Live in HD” has its own pleasures – the visceral thrill of the big screen, intermission interviews with the production principals that take viewers behind the scenes and ushers who hand out program material and cater to the audience’s every whim.
That audience is, again not surprisingly, overwhelming post-AARP, which is both a challenge and a delight. Get there early. This is a tough crowd that likes to stake out the best perches and looks askance at saving seats for latecomers. On the other hand, senior opera-goers – Sadly, is there any other kind these days? – bring sophisticated tastes to viewership. You didn’t have to explain to this group that “Non più andrai” from Wolfgang’s “The Marriage of Figaro” makes a guest appearance in “Don G’s” chilling climactic party scene. The seniors were laughing in recognition before Leporello, the Don’s cowering servant, sang: “I know this tune.”
Best of all, none of the musical and sexual complexity of “Don G” was lost either on the City Center throng or on The Met production, which has been given a Spanish Old Masters look by director Michael Grandage (who did the Broadway “Hamlet” with Jude Law).  The opera was beautifully sung by an A-list cast featuring Marina Rebeka, Barbara Frittoli, Luca Pisarino and Ramón Vargas, with Fabio Luisi, The Met’s new principal conductor, at the podium.
As for the Don himself, Kwiecień brought his impeccable baritone and an Errol Flynn swagger to the part.
Apparently, his back is all better.

Performances of “Don Giovanni” continue in February and March at The Metropolitan Opera with Gerald Finley, so compelling as J. Robert Oppenheimer in John Adams’ “Doctor Atomic,” as the rakish Don. For ticket information, click on to

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

“The Met: Live in HD” continues with these works:

 Dec. 10 – “Faust” – Hunky tenor Jonas Kaufman is the titular antihero with the devil of a problem, bass René Pape is You-Know-Who and soprano Marina Poplavskaya is Marguerite, Faust’s pure love, in this Des McAnuff update. Rebroadcast Jan. 11.
Jan. 4  (rebroadcast) – “Rodelinda” – Soprano Renée Fleming and mezzo Stephanie Blythe have all the Baroque they can Handel in this reprise of the acclaimed Stephen Wadsworth production.
Jan. 21 – “The Enchanted Island” – The Met goes for Baroque in this pastiche that blends Handel’s,  Rameau’s and Vivaldi’s music with the Bard’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “The Tempest.” Rebroadcast Feb. 8
Feb. 11 – “Götterdämmerung” – It’s “Twilight of the Gods” time as The Met concludes its new “Ring” with soprano Deborah Voigt and tenor Jay Hunter Morris as Brünnhilde and Siegfried, Wagner’s ill-fated lovers. Rebroadcast TBA
Feb. 25 – “Ernani” – Soprano Angela Meade, who caused a sensation in Caramoor’s production of Rossini’s “Semiramide,” heads the cast of this early Verdi work, which co-stars Marcello Giordano as her ill-suited lover. Rebroadcast March 14
April 7 – “Manon” – Soprano Anna Netrebko suffers exquisitely (and gets to look fab in a fuchsia gown with jeweled halter straps) as Massenet’s heroine, who loves much but not wisely. Rebroadcast April 25
April 14 – “La Traviata” – Coloratura soprano Natalie Dessay offers her first Met Violetta, perhaps opera’s ultimate consumptive heroine, in this Willy Decker production that owes as much to Hitchcock and Salvador Dalí as it does to Verdi. Rebroadcast May 2
For times and venues, click on to

Monday, December 5, 2011

Holiday Movies

One of the great family traditions around holiday time – right up there with politely avoiding the fruitcake, unraveling the Gordion’s knot of Christmas tree lights and warming yourself by “The Yule Log” on the CW 11 – is popping in a Christmas movie or two. Everyone has his or her favorite. Some of them may even be on this list. But it is our hope here that you might find a new fave to tickle the funny bone, bring a tear to the eye, inspire the mind or warm the heart:

• “Always Remember I Love You” (1990) – This made-for-TV movie is the Holy Grail of holiday films as it is not available either on DVD or Amazon. But if you happen to see it listed on the tube, do not miss it. Stephen Dorff – who recently won acclaim as the disaffected movie star in Sofia Coppola’s “Somewhere” and should’ve had a big career – is extraordinary as a teen who spends one Christmas with the birth parents he was taken from as a baby, without initially revealing to them who he really is. The final revelatory moment is one of the most heartbreaking we’ve ever seen on film. Patty Duke matches Dorff note for emotional note as the birth mother who has never gotten over her loss.

• “The Gathering” (1977) – Another high-quality telefilm, this time about a gruff, self-centered businessman (a superb Ed Asner), with only a few months to live, who enlists his estranged wife (an equally marvelous Maureen Stapleton) in bringing their scattered family together for one last holiday. Like “A Christmas Carol,” it’s a sentimental but timely reminder that it’s never too late for forgiveness and redemption.

• “The Holiday” (2006) – Forget life: “The Holiday” is like a box of chocolates – high in calories, relatively low in nutritional value but oh-so-irresistible. You know a movie is a complete fantasy when the heroines (Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet) have glamorous jobs that make no real demands on them, live in homes right out of Architectural Digest and Cottage Living and have two near-perfect beaus (Jude Law, Jack Black) who are only concerned with their girlfriends’ feelings, plus a twinkly, elderly neighbor who dispenses sage advice (a charming Eli Wallach). Yet what can we say? This picture had us at “Hello.” (Oh, that’s another movie.)

• “Home Alone” (1990) and “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” (1992) – This is a case of an instant classic and a not-bad sequel. The original – about an incorrigible youngster (Where have you gone, Macaulay Culkin?) who discovers his true mettle when he’s left to defend the family home single-handedly against bumbling burglars (a change-of-pace Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern) – is just priceless. But it’s hard to beat the opening of “Home Alone,” part deux, in which our hero’s temper gets the better of him during the school’s Christmas concert.

• “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946) – Remember the year Thirteen/WNET decided to cut the film to fit into its pledge drive and got so many angry letters the station had to apologize and show it uncut and uninterrupted? Thirteen won’t make that mistake again. Quite possibly the most popular holiday movie ever made, with James Stewart heading a first-rate cast in a poignant reminder that no life is insignificant.

• “Miracle on 34th Street” (1947 and 1994) – Another take-your-pick moment. The original, about a department-store Santa (Edmund Gwenn) who just may be the real St. Nick, is a well-loved classic. But the remake, with Richard Attenborough doing the red-suit honors, is a nice contemporary update that nonetheless honors the original.

• “Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol” (1962) – We know what you’re thinking: This is one of the greatest versions of the Dickens’ classic? Really? Really. First and foremost, it contains an absolutely top-notch score by Jule Styne, who wrote the music for “Gypsy” and “Funny Girl,” among other memorable musicals. Indeed, it’s worth the price of the DVD just to hear Belle, young Ebeneezer’s spurned fiancée, sing the poignant “Winter Was Warm.’ (She’s voiced by Connecticut’s own Jane Kean, Trixie on the later “Honeymooners.”) Jack Cassidy is another standout as Bob Cratchit, as is Jim Backus’ irrepressibly myopic Magoo. As he would say, “Magoo, you’ve done it again.”

• “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (1989) – For anyone who’s ever hated the holidays – the cooking and decorating disasters, the disappointing gifts, the dreaded shopping, the disgruntled relatives – this is a movie for you. The chuckles build to a crescendo as the hapless Griswold household, headed by Westchester’s Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo, confront an errant squirrel, an AWOL cat, a randy dog, a conflagration and a S.W.A.T. team. As Aunt Bethany exclaims, “Play Ball!”

• “The Nutcracker” – Another twofer: “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker” (1993) is a film record of the grandfather of all “Nuts,” with Macaulay Culkin (again) as the little Nutcracker Prince transformed by the power of love. This New York City Ballet production is good for kids, though it has many of the challenges you’ll find with dance on film. A better film of “The Nutcracker” is the 1977 version starring Rockland’s Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gelsey Kirkland in a decidedly Freudian interpretation. Save this one for when the kiddies go to bed.

• “White Christmas” (1954) – This Irving Berlin pastiche remains another beloved holiday tradition, and it’s easy to see why. With Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney crooning, Vera-Ellen supplying the toe-tapping and Danny Kaye the yucks, it’s a can’t-miss. Some of the best numbers are set in the pre-Christmas Florida opening. It’s hard not to like “Sisters,” with Crosby and Kaye making like Clooney and Vera-Ellen, and the fabulous sequence to “The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing,” which displays just how talented Kaye and Vera-Ellen were.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The ultimate reality show

An authentic experience.

That is what ArtsWestchester’s CEO Janet T. Langsam told me the arts lover is looking for today, perhaps favoring grassroots workshops over performances at big cultural institutions.

Recently, I had the pleasure – and I might add, the privilege – of such an experience when I attended an ekphrastic poetry workshop orchestrated by Poets and Writers Inc. as well as the Greenburgh’s Arts and Culture Committee in the person of its executive director, writer Sarah Bracey White. For the uninitiated, ekphrastic poetry is poetry based on artwork. (It comes from the Greek words meaning “out” and “speak.”) Among the earliest examples is the description of the shield of Achilles in Homer’s “The Iliad.” But my personal favorite is W.H. Auden’s “Musée des Beaux Arts,” in which Pieter Bruegel’s  “Landscape With the Fall of Icarus” (circa 1558) becomes a metaphor for the peculiar nature of suffering that renders many of us oblivious to it.

Karen Rippstein conducted the workshop, striking just the right balance between gentleness and constructive criticism, which is so important for us writers, a fragile bunch if there ever was one. (Forget life. I think writers are like a box of chocolates, seemingly hard on the outside with that melting, gooey center whenever we have to put our work on the line.)

So it was with some trepidation that I read my poem, inspired by one of the works in Sam Taylor-Wood’s “Crying Men” photographic series. If you’ve been a reader of this blog in the past, you know that I have been obsessed with these photographs, for which Wood, having been diagnosed with cancer, asked male movie stars ranging from Hayden Christensen to Paul Newman to cry on camera. What began as an exercise in how women see men and the relationship between real emotion and artifice deepened – for Wood and the viewer, too – into a meditation on loss and grief, two subjects that have been my companions of late.

Since attending that workshop, I’ve written another poem and a short story. It was as if a creative dam burst.

But then, that’s what an authentic experience can do.

Attached is a link to the “Crying Men” series -- as well as my poem. I hope you enjoy both:

“Thoughts on Sam-Taylor Wood’s ‘Robert Downey Jr.’”

In the photograph, he lies on a bed,

Offered like an odalisque,

An arm tenting his face.

His is a sparse room,

Adorned only by a diffuse light

That betrays nothing.

Is it the dread dawn, the twilight terror –

Those netherworlds of half-remembered anguish?

Or is it just another moment in an ordinary day?

He will not say.

Nor can we read his face,

Though we know it is painted in tears.

Does he weep for himself,

Or for the camera’s eye, the moon to his Endymion?

Does it matter when the tears still flow from the wellspring of the soul?

We marry this scene,

Locate his pain in our own

And marveling, think,

This, then, is grief:

To be framed and naked in our fragility,

To recognize the dawn of despair,

To lie awake, uttering after Hamlet,

“Oh, God. God.”

Visit the Arts and Culture website,, to find out about the rest of the workshops in the year-long series. And enjoy WAG at

Monday, August 29, 2011

A fine bromance

Very often one good story begets another. In "Bodywork," an essay I wrote for the September arts issue of WAGmagazine, I charted the history of the body in art, wondering whether or not the male was truly the primary sex symbol through most of art history and whether women artists view men and women the way male artists do.

Is the history of art the story of the heroic male body
or the objectified female one? In the ripped and rippling
oil painting “Venus and Adonis,” Baroque master
Peter Paul Rubens shows himself to be an
equal opportunity employer.
Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art
In the course of my interviews with Bartholomew F. Bland, director of curatorial affairs at the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, and Helaine Posner, chief curator at Purchase College's Neuberger Museum of Art, other conversational avenues opened up, some of which I'd like to stroll down now. Bart noted that the cultural critic Camille Paglia has said women are less visual than men, which is how she answered art historian Linda Nochlin's famous question "Why are there no great women artists?" (Nochlin said it was because women lacked opportunity and discovery.) But in a sense, both women have a point. Women, neurologically speaking, have greater verbal aptitude than men but less visual-spatial ability. However, there's also no question that women lacked opportunity in the field of art, which has always relied on (male) patronage.

Writing, on the other hand, doesn't. One can always write, under a pseudonym, if you will, and submit work to a publisher who is none the wiser as to the identity of the author. (It's what the Brontës did.) So given women's innate verbal skills and the gender neutrality of publishing, it's not a surprise that women should excel in the literary tradition. And it's in that tradition that they have discovered the equivalent of visual pornography for men. I'm talking about slash, slash fic, slash fiction, fanfiction – call it what you will, but it is fiction about famous men in homoerotic situations written generally by women for women. Just Google any great bromance --Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson – or their current incarnation, Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, or figure-skating frenemies Evan Lysacek and Johnny Weir, or Olympic-swimming BFFs Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, and you will be introduced to a parallel universe in which these characters/individuals fall in love and have intense sexual relationships.

What's surprising to me as a writer and editor is not the specificity of the erotica -- after 30 years as an arts critic, there's very little that would surprise me sexually – but how well-written it is, at least from the standpoint of character, voicing, tone and dialogue. (The authors' sense of place could use some work, however.) How do we know these pieces are written by women instead of men? Well, we don't, even when the author identifies herself as female. It could be a ruse. But what suggests to me that much of this stuff is written by women – or at least has a feminine energy – is the emphasis on relationships. We meet not only the fictional Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps, for example -- who, by the way, end up married, just like the characters at the end of a Jane Austen novel -- but their parents, siblings, coaches and teammates.

Why would women want to imagine men they don't know in these situations? There has long been a tradition of historical fiction, of which slash is a subgenre, plus the Internet offers an intimacy, immediacy and anonymity that foster the artistic freedom, or license, for this kind of writing.

But perhaps it is also a way for women to get in touch with their masculine energy and erotic impulses, just as Paglia said that Emily Brontë did when she channeled Byron to create Heathcliff in "Wuthering Heights."
In any event, there is definitely a female ownership of homoeroticism, be it in Anne Rice's vampire novels or Annie Proulx's short story "Brokeback Mountain," which was made into a movie seen by an audience that was 80-percent female.

And unlike the male authors and audience, female writers and readers of homoerotica do not divorce their subjects from their humanity.

Which goes back to a question I asked in "Bodywork": Do women artists see men and women the way men artists do?

Ah, no.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sam, I am

Westchester Broadway Theatre presents “Seussical, the Musical” through July 31, based on the stories of Dr. Seuss. With music by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, direction by John Fanelli, musical direction by Michele DeAngelis and choreography by Lexie Frare, “Seussical” stars Augie Abatecola of Mount Kisco, as The Cat in the Hat; Christine Gavin of Ossining as Mayzie LaBird; Brian Krinsky of East Stroudsburg, Pa. as Horton the Elephant; Fatye Francis of White Plains as Wickersham; Mackenzie Larrabee of Ridgefield and Sofia Singer of North Salem alternating as Cindy Lou Who; Lauren Lucksavage of North Massapequa as Gertrude McFuzz; and Matt Stout of Dobbs Ferry as  Yertle the Turtle/ General Ghengis Khan Schmidtz.

Performances are Thursdays (matinee and evening), Saturdays (matinees) and Sundays (matinees  and evenings). Tickets, which include a meal, are $75; $67 for senior citizens; $52 for children ages 16 and under and $45 for Friday evenings, which are show only.  

Reservations:  (914)-592-2222,

Friday, June 24, 2011

Butterflies are free

The Greenburgh Nature Center presents its second annual butterfly exhibit June 18 through September 30. Located in the center’s walk-through greenhouse, the exhibit showcases numerous varieties of native butterflies, such as Monarchs, Painted Ladies and Swallowtails, and their importance in nature.

Visitors will also see their life cycle first-hand, from egg and caterpillar stages to chrysalis and butterfly, and learn how diverse adult butterflies are in shape, size and color.  They’re also active, whether flying freely amid the greenery, fluttering from blossom to blossom in search of nourishing nectar, sipping water from a puddle or resting in a shady spot to cool off.

The center strives to increase public consciousness about nature: Part of the exhibit teaches viewers how they can help conserve or restore butterfly habitats. The show is free with museum admission: $7; $6 for senior citizens and students; $5 for children ages 2-12; free for children under age 2.  723-3470,

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Savage Beauty

When I was a student at Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, I took an art history course with Philip Gould, a disciple of the great Asian-art expert Sherman Lee. Gould liked to open a semester with a question that has always stymied museum-goers: What exactly is art?

Ultimately, Gould told us, art is whatever the artist says it is, which is both a fitting answer and a copout. But it has led me to think from time to time about what art includes. One thing art definitely does is to create its own world, its own integrity. The characters in Emily Brontë’s “Wuthering Heights,” for instance, aren’t like most people, at least not like anyone I know. But they sustain a certain logic within their own environment. They are true to themselves, and they say something true about human nature.

I was reminded of this as I drank in “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty,” the knockout tribute to the late fashion designer that creates and sustains a world of macabre theatricality that has been attracting 200,000 visitors a day since it opened at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan May 4. So popular is the show – the  lines stretch from the entrance of the exhibit down the promenade of the 19th Century European paintings and sculpture galleries all the way to the Islamic wing – that The Met has extended its run through Aug. 7 and has established “Met Mondays With McQueen,” in which eager patrons can purchase timed tickets ($50) to see the exhibit between 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on the day that The Met is generally closed. The last time I remember such a phenonmenon was when The Met did its Jackie exhibit in 2001.

“Savage Beauty” is really two shows. One is the exhibit on McQueen’s creations, which meld pleasure and pain, East and West, the theatrical and the everyday, strict construction and the softest, most diaphanous of fabrics. (A Savile Row tailor, McQueen said he learned about softness from Givenchy, where he was once head designer.) The overwhelming impression of ghoulish splendor is supported by the exhibit’s look – smoky, mirrored galleries, dark walls made of textured wood, soft lighting, dolorous baroque music.  It’s “Phantom of the Opera”-tic outrageous, creepy and marvelous. (Most of the time. The video with the Kate Moss hologram, set to the score of “Schindler’s List,” sent my mind reeling back to The Jewish Museum’s idiotic “Mirroring Evil” show, with its Prada death camps and pretend-you-are-Eva Braun installations. Fashion and the Holocaust simply do not mix.)

But that is really the only false note. The  Empire inspirations from McQueen’s “Girl Who Lived In  A Tree Collection” (2008-09) -- with their swaths of fluted white and draped red and gold brocade fabric --are not only stunning, they look wearable. The gold duck-feather coat with its long, cream-colored fluted skirt, part of the “Angels and Demons Collection” he was working on when he died in 2010, is one of several ensembles that evoke Matthew Bourne’s all-male “Swan Lake.” (It also evokes Björk, but then, sometimes the mind does ping like a pinball machine.) And though the tough jacket with the hunky Renaissance St. Sebastian gives off an appropriate homoerotic vibe, the hourglass suits, Lady Gaga jellyfish boots, geisha straitjacket coat, ’60s-style floral-print hot pants and lavender thigh-high boots celebrate woman as muse.

Clearly, lots of people in the packed galleries were there for the fashion. But some were there for the headline value. McQueen committed suicide in Feb. 10, 2011 in his London apartment at age 40. He was succeeded by Sarah Burton, who designed Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge’s triumphant wedding gown. Burton herself was the living star of The Met’s recent Costume Institute gala.

So, then, among the art lovers and fashionistas were the curiosity-seekers, who had to be wondering, Why?
That is the question in this our summer of discontent. Why do brilliantly successful people – all right, we’re talking about men here – self-destruct? McQueen was really coming into his own. The fact that the spot-on Duchess of Cambridge chose the House of McQueen for her wedding dress proves he was the designer of the moment.

So what went wrong? There was talk of drugs, depression and his mother’s death, which seems to have been a catalyst. He was said to be painfully shy. Over lunch at the museum, my friends and I considered a report that he once rode 75 blocks with the engaging actress/fashionista Sarah Jessica Parker – without exchanging a word.

Of course, this leads to explorations of the relationship between madness and creativity, success and unhappiness. In the end, though, what it really comes down to is  the individual’s makeup.
You have to wonder if McQueen had a premonition of what was to come. The last collection he actually presented, “Plato’s Atlantis” (spring 2010), was all about the decomposition of nature. As he observed:
[This collection predicted a future in which] the ice cap would melt . . . the waters would rise and . . . life on earth would have to evolve in order to live beneath the sea once more or perish. Humanity [would] go back to the place from whence it came.”

“Savage Beauty” brings McQueen and us full circle.

Met hours are 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tues-Thurs. and holiday Mon., including July 4; 9:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri. and Sat. While visiting, I recommend the quiet, contemplative pleasures of “Rooms With a View: The Open Window in the 19th Century” (through July 4) and the monochromatic minimalism of “Richard Serra Drawing: A Retrospective” (through Aug. 28), each in its own way a palate-cleansing antidote to the baroque riches of “Savage Beauty.”

Admission is $20;  $15.00 for senior citizens age 65 and over, $10 for students. Children under age 12 accompanied by an adult are admitted free. Express admission may be purchased in advance at For more information, call  (212) 535-7710.

Ahoy, matey!

The  Caramoor International Music Festival sets sail on its  66th annual summer season with Gilbert and Sullivan’s “H.M.S. Pinafore” and a nautically themed gala evening. 

The festivities begin at 6 p.m. with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, followed by a 7 p.m. seated dinner provided by Great Performances. At 8:30 p.m., it’s down to the sea – or in this case, the Venetian Theater – for “Pinafore,” with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s under the baton of Caramoor’s Director of Opera Will Crutchfield, and soprano Georgia Jarman, tenor Robert McPherson, baritone Jorell Williams, mezzo-soprano Vanessa Cariddi, and baritones Scott Bearden and Jason Plourde on deck. “As a piece of theater, ‘Pinafore’ is a cheerful satire on the arrival of modernity, bureaucracy and democratic ideals to the Royal Navy of Queen Victoria's era,” Crutchfield said.  “As a piece of music, it is England's version of "bel canto" comic opera, plain and simple. That fact has been obscured by the long history of specialized Gilbert and Sullivan troupes, outside the operatic mainstream.  With this production, I have the opportunity to realize my long-standing desire to present a version that does full justice to the brilliant music and the operatic vocal writing.”

After the performance, gala attendees are invited to the After Dark party, where they can join the “Pinafore” cast for dessert and dancing with Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks. 

Tickets to the gala are $2,500, $1,250, and $600 and include pre-concert cocktails, dinner and priority seating at the concert and an invitation to the After Dark party.  After Dark-only tickets, which also include the concert, are $250. Suggested attire for the event is “nautical chic”. For gala information and reservations, please contact, or call the Special Events office at (914) 232-1492. 

Tickets for the concert only and for the entire season, which runs through Aug. 10, are available through Caramoor’s Box Office at (914) 232-1252 or at