Thursday afternoon I drove in with the car stuffed and groaning with the dining room table and chairs that we bought for Andy in the Warren antique store. I joined Carol and Andy at JTS for the faculty barbecue in the Seminary courtyard. The hamburgers were like Fleer's Double Bubble, quite chewable, but they rolled up into a big wad in your mouth that would have required a Heimlich to swallow, and could have decimated Jewish scholarship in the United States, if, like Monica, anyone had swallowed. The hotdogs were worse still, even camouflaged with gobs of mustard and relish. The chicken wasn't bad, nor were the ribs. The corn was cooked for 4 days. You never know what you can catch from underdone corn. Despite the gourmet food, there was very little in the way of socializing. Just a bunch of hungry Jews pushing each other aside at the buffet tables, stuffing their faces and leaving. But, I am too harsh.
Friday, we went to Barney Greengrass for the whitefish special. Familiarity breeds contempt...even for a whitefish. We drove down to Macy's for some sheets on sale for Newport. I went for a bikeride in Central Park and stopped at the Guggenheim to see the motorcycle show. What a fabulous show! The curvaceous beauty of the Italian Agustas and Moto Guzzis, the craftsmanship and engineering of the BMWs, the imitative genius of the Hondas, Suzukis, Yamahas and Kawasakis, the beef of the Harleys, the tenaciousness of the Indians, the stodginess of the Nortons and Triumphs. I thought that the outstanding bike was an Iver Johnson from 1920. And you could eat off every one of them. Friday evening, we went out for dinner with Andy at Shun Lee Palace. This is an upscale Chinese restaurant near Lincoln Center. High-priced Chinese food with sumptuous surroundings, like a fancy Hong Kong restaurant, wonderful service, and an extensive creative menu. Andy and I split hot and sour soup (good, but I've had better at $1.50 rather than $5.50) and velvet chicken and corn soup (very good). Carol had vegetable spring rolls (good, but we've had better). Andy and I split main dishes of sweetbreads (delicious) and duck with walnuts wrapped in pastry (dry and not hot enough). Carol had vegetable duck pie (dry and not hot enough). Good Alsatian Gewurtztraminer. Disappointing overall. We drove Andy home and left off his furniture.
Saturday, I biked to Lenny's for what are still the world's best bagels. Some lox, chive cheese and tomatoes, and there you have breakfast perfection. Carol went to B'nai Jeshurun, and I went for a ride in the Park. Then on to City Opera. We hung around the plaza in front of Lincoln Center, where there was a craft show (upscale). We spoke for a bit with Stewart Robertson, wo was our conductor a couple of years ago at the BCF. He was conducting that afternoon, as it turned out. What did we talk about? Monica and Bill, what else? There were a matched pair of operas that afternoon. First, Brecht and Weill's The Seven Deadly Sins. Interesting, but a lightweight of an opera. Great staging, lighting, dancing. Then, a staged version of Orff's Carmina Burana. This was one of the most fabulous productions of anything we have ever seen. A seventy-member chorus sat in rows in a large box that moved back and forth on the stage. They were seated throughout, wearing black tights and hoods, so that only their faces showed, like Death in The Seventh Seal. I' ve sung this piece twice, and was amazed that the director, Anne Bogart (formerly at Trinity) was able to find a narrative in the piece. The dancing was wonderful. The baritone was superb. The soprano was great. John Daniecki, who sang in the Stabat Mater at BCF this summer was the tenor, and stole the show with the dying swan aria. He came out as an awkward bride in a white dress, which was torn from him by the male dancers, who beat him up, tore off his wig, leaving a bald, helpless, mournful ugly bird about to be roasted on the spit. The chorus and orchestra were flawless. Stupendous experience. Then we went to see The Governess with Minnie Driver. Interesting movie about a 19th Century Sephardic girl from London who takes a job as a governess on the Isle of Skye. Sexy, complex, without cliches. Beautifully photographed, as it should be, since it's about photography. Worth seeing. Dinner at Pondicherry, right next to the theatre. This is Ismail Merchant's restaurant (Merchant and Ivory). Superb fusion of continental and Indian cuisine. I had an appetizer of grilled shrimp with sauteed arugala and portabella mushrooms. Carol had a salad of mesclun with pea shoots and a wonderful zucchini curried soup with pears. I had grouper in a curry sauce that was splendid. A fine Alsatian Tokay PInot Gris was just right with this food. For dessert, a blood orange sorbet which Carol pronounced the best sorbet she ever had.
Sunday morning, bagels and lox with Andy at his place. We took his old dresser (Gilda--it's your maple dresser with the decal of the cocker spaniel that I always coveted when we were kids, and Yael refused to take it because it was too juvenile, and now, at last, I have it--it's mine! Mine!) and some wicker furniture for Newport. Then back to New York City Opera for a performance of Tosca, the opera that made me fall in love with opera--for the story of how, go to Dr. Sheinin .What a fabulous production! The sets were minimalist and striking. Together with the lighting, they heightened the drama. The soloists were wonderful singers and actors both. Scarpia (Mark Delavan) was menacing and evil. Cavaradossi (Antonio Nagone) had a clear ringing tenor. And Tosca herself was perfection. A young good looking Belgian soprano named Isabelle Kabatu (father Japanese or African?) had a great voice, and acted with flair and bravado, pulling out all the melodramatic stops.
The artistic events of the weekend all had a unifying theme, quite a propos for the weekend: lust and betrayal.