About Claire

Claire est passionnée d'art depuis toujours. Elle aime tout particulièrement et depuis toujours aussi, raconter à ses proches, avec liberté et imagination, ce qui lui a plu, que ce soit à l'ecrit comme à l'oral. En particulier, Claire est fana de musique, que ce soit classique (opera, concerts au Philharmonic), ou pop. Mais aussi de danse classique et moderne, et d'expos d'art. D'ailleurs, en plus de sa passion pour l'art, Claire chante (chorale) également depuis 15 ans à New York en l'église de Saint Ignace de Loyola, prend des cours de danse, dès qu'elle le peut, et joue aussi régulierement au tennis. Française depuis toujours, New Yorkaise depuis 15 ans, américaine depuis 5 ans, mariee, deux enfants, Claire est depuis 2014 bloggueuse, après avoir fait du fund raising pendant 4 ans pour l'ecole américaine de ses enfants, et avoir été publicitaire en France et aux Etats Unis avant pendant 15 ans (chez BDDP et Leo Burnett à Paris et chez FCB et Grey à New York). Claire is passionate about art and has always been. She especially likes to share whether in writing or in person, with her loved ones, what art triggers for her, as it unleashes her vivid imagination. In particular, Claire is fanatical about music whether classical (opera, concerts at The Philharmonic) or pop. Adores as well dance whether classical or modern, as well as Art exhibits ( Paintings, Photography...). Besides admiring art, Claire also sings (at Saint Ignatius Loyola for the last 15 years), takes dance classes every chance she gets, and plays tennis regularly. Married with 2 children, Claire has become a blogger since 2014, after having led fund raising events for her children's school for the last 4 years, and having led a previous career in advertising for 15 years in Paris (BDDP, Leo Burnett) and in New York (FCB, Grey).

First virtual MET Opera “At-home” Gala: a truly beautiful, moving and joyful, “live”, streamed event…

Saturday April 25th, 2020. First virtual MET Opera “At-home” Gala event, hosted from their respective homes, by Peter Gelb, MET’s General Manager, and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, MET’s Music Director.

Greetings friends, and welcome back. It’s been exactly two months, without a post from me.

And this week, welcome to a similar, yet a bit different, post of mine; which, have had (my weekly posts), to come to a standstill, lately; as all “live” Performance Arts events/shows in New York, (as around the world), have all, had to be abruptly cancelled, since mid March (on March 12th, 2020, for the MET Opera, in New York, to be precise).

And as you know, all these “live” opera events, on stage, for the current 2019-2020 MET Opera season, were first cancelled, for a few weeks; and then, for the remainder of the current season; for our own protection, in light of the extremely serious and severe, still current, global, pandemic, uncharted health crisis, we are all facing, and trying to get through, responsibly and safely.

And like many opera aficionados, there were still a few operas, I was looking forward to attend, in person, this spring, for the remainder of the season, at the MET Opera House: “La Cenerentola” by Rossini, “Werther” by Massenet, “Tosca” by Puccini, “Simon Boccanegra” by Verdi, “Maria Stuarda” by Donizettti, “Manon Lescaut” by Puccini, and “Kàťa Kabanovà” by Janàček.

Yet, quickly, unbelievably, and fortunately for us all, the MET Opera, like many other Performance Arts institutions, around the world, came up, in a mere few weeks, with a wonderful “first”, an “in-home” virtual Gala idea; to keep its “House”, its singers, musicians and staff, connected to its worldwide audience; during these unusual and challenging times.

And last Saturday afternoon, across eight time zones, an exciting, unusual, highly personal, warm, fun, joyful, of top notch quality; in a nutshell, an incredibly entertaining, four hour plus, virtual Gala event, was wonderfully co-hosted, for the very first time, by the MET Opera’s impressive General Manager, Peter Gelb, and the amazing, uniquely talented, warm and brilliant maestro, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, MET’s Music Director; an extraordinary virtual “first”, which I would like to comment on, as it was truly, a beautiful, moving and uplifting experience, and brought many of us, myself included, welcomed unbridled joy, pent-up emotional release, and wonderful relaxation.

All that!

Yay!

So thank you to the MET Opera, and to its wonderful artists!

Like many, I am incredibly grateful, for this unexpected virtual, streamed “In-home”, Gala event, which felt like a gift, and which I shared with many of my close friends, at the time!

Yay!

Therefore, to thank the MET Opera, for orchestrating this unusual, and exceptional, virtual “At-home” Gala event, which streamed live, on Saturday April 25th, and to thank the MET Opera also, for sharing and rebroadcasting, online, this entire exceptional virtual event, until Sunday April 26th evening, with its audience, I wanted to highlight a few performances (twenty five) which truly impressed me, by huge opera stars; (only a few, will be the actual “At-home” performances; others, will be past performances from the actual singers often, and sometimes, from other artists, and all, found online), and for fun, I have also added another “bonus” aria/singer, they could have also, each sang, (in my opinion), why not?

Yay!

It’s a bit long, but so fun!

Enjoy!

Finally, and before doing so, I also wanted to mention, that, while the MET Opera House, is still currently “closed” to all “live” performances on stage, The MET, is also, offering as well, every evening, (and has, for the last few weeks), free streaming, of past filmed MET Opera “HD On Demand” performances, for those of you interested, and there are many, who will, or who already do, enjoy this “cinematic” option; allowing their audience to enjoy a great variety of the opera repertoire.

Yay!

Let’s now start to comment on this wonderful virtual “in-home” MET Gala!

1) The very first aria from the Gala, that impressed me, was the very first one, and also one of my favorites, because it is by Mozart, whom like many, I absolutely adore, and this “canzonetta”, from “Don Giovanni”, sang by the great Peter Mattei, a wonderful Swedish baritone singer, is absolutely ravishing, harmonious, sweet and seductive, just awesome!

Plus, we had two added terrific surprises, the incredibly beautiful view on a lake, seen from Mattei’s Swedish home, which set the stage for a warm, beautiful, serene, yet joyful event; and Mattei’s wonderfully charming neighborly accordion accompaniment, which added to the bucolic atmosphere:

Yay!

How about that?

Let’s listen to him in another context:

Isn’t it lovely?

Enjoy!:

And for Mattei’s bonus aria, there is a lot to choose from, and some of my favorites, include Wagner’s “Tannhäuser” or Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin”; yet, I will choose, a lighthearted aria from “Il Barbiere di Siviglia”.

Enjoy!:

Isn’t it also wonderfully joyful?

2) The second “in-home” MET Gala performance, that impressed me most, was, by Roberto Alagna, the wonderful French tenor and Aleksandra Kursak, the talented Polish soprano (plus, in real life, married to each other), and their performance, one of the wonderful duets of the afternoon/evening (and filled with loads of hilarious moments, and funny props), which even, if it was a little long, because the aria is long, was wonderfully funny and entertaining. It comes as no surprise, considering that it is from Donizetti’s “L’Elisir d’amore”. Plus, the music is absolutely charming, filled with pockets of romance, even if Adina and Nemorino, spend a lot of time bickering; yet, they fall in love, so it is just lovely, and below, sang by the two of them, last Saturday:

Enjoy!:

For the bonus aria, I remembered that Alagna and Kursak (who sang the role of Micaela), actually sang together, recently, “Carmen” by Bizet, and Alagna sings particularly well, this “Flower” aria by Don José, which I have always adored.

Enjoy!:

Isn’t it just beautiful?

And for Kursak, I chose an aria from Verdi’s “La Traviata”, incredibly beautiful as well.

Enjoy!:

Isn’t it heartbreaking? I love “La Traviata”, it is so gorgeous, from beginning to end.

3) The third performance from the “in-home” MET Gala which impressed me, was, by the Georgian mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili, the iconic Saint-Saens aria from “Samson et Dalila”, sung below, by another beautiful singer:

Enjoy!:

Isn’t it gorgeous?

For Anita’s bonus, there is a lot to choose from, especially Verdi’s “Aida” and Cilea’s “Adriana Lecouvreur”, in which she depicts incredibly well, highly jealous “princesses”; but had there been a bonus, I would have loved to hear from Anita, as it is part of her repertoire, one of the most beautiful and saddest arias by Puccini, which isn’t as well known, as it should be, from “Suor Angelica”. Here, I found a Montserrat Caballé version, which Anita reminds me of, vocally speaking.

How about that?

Enjoy!:

4) The fourth performance from the “in-home” MET Gala which impressed me, was, by American tenor, Michael Fabiano, from Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin”, below, sung by another talented artist:

Enjoy!:

Isn’t this, so beautiful?

For Fabiano’s “bonus” aria, I have chosen from Puccini’s “La Bohème”, one of my favorite arias:

Enjoy!:

Another awesome dramatic duet, isn’t it?

5) The fifth performance from the “in-home” MET Gala which impressed me, was, by American soprano, Renée Fleming, from Verdi’s “Otello”, here by Renée herself, a few years ago, and last Saturday afternoon, her delivery was even more moving and sublime, than it is, in this beautiful excerpt; and certainly, the aria I loved the most, from the Gala’s afternoon/evening, unsurprisingly; as it is one of Verdi’s most ravishing opera, and sung by Renée, one of the most talented sopranos ever, in my opinion, it is a real treat.

How lucky are we?

Enjoy!:

Isn’t it just heartbreaking, this simple and beautiful prayer?

And for a bonus aria from Fleming, it is difficult to choose, as I love so many works of hers, in particular Catalani’s “La Wally”, or Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly”, “Turandot”, “Gianni Schicchi”, “La Rondine” or “Tosca”, as well as Bellini’s “Norma”, or Dvorak’s “Rusalka”, but as I have to choose, I will go with “Tosca” and its epic aria, celebrating art and love:

Enjoy!:

So gorgeous!

6) The sixth performance from the “in-home” MET Gala which impressed me, was, by the MET Opera orchestra, the intermezzo from Mascagni’s “Cavalliera Rusticana”, and below, you will get to hear, what we heard/listened to, on Saturday.

So gorgeous as well:

Isn’t it awesome?

7) The seventh performance from the “in-home” MET Gala which impressed me, was, by the MET Opera orchestra, and the amazing American mezzo- soprano, Joyce Di Donato, from Handel’s “Serse”, my second favorite performance of the Gala last Saturday, and below, as well, you will get to hear, what we heard on Saturday, a solemn and beautiful aria chosen also, to honor the memory of esteemed, MET viola musician, Vincent Lionti.

So beautiful:

And as a bonus aria, it is also difficult to choose, as Di Donato sings so well, and so much, from Handel’s “Agrippina”, to Strauss’ “Der Rosenkavalier”, to Mascagni’s “Ave Maria”, to Rossini’s “Il Barbiere di Siviglia”, to name a few; and I think, I will choose yet another one, a famous aria, from Handel’s “Rinaldo”:

Enjoy!:

Isn’t it incredibly beautiful?

8)The eighth performance from the “in-home” MET Gala which impressed me, and my third favorite performance of the Gala last Saturday, was, by American soprano, Erin Morley, who both, sang and accompanied herself, on the piano brilliantly; and chose a delightful aria, from Donizetti’s “La fille du régiment”, below, sung by herself on Saturday, a fun, beautiful and hilarious aria, so typical of Donizetti’s sensibilities:

Enjoy!:

And the bonus aria I have chosen, for Morley, is from one of my favorite operas; from Offenbach’s “Les Contes d’Hoffman”, the incredibly awesome mechanical “doll” aria:

Enjoy!:

9) The ninth performance from the “in-home” MET Gala which impressed me, was, by German baritone, Michael Volle, who sang a beautiful aria from Wagner’s “Tannhäuser”, below, sung by another talented artist:

Enjoy!:

Isn’t it just incredibly beautiful? I love all of “Tannhäuser” of course!

And for the bonus aria for Volle, I could have chosen from some of Wagner’s”Ring” operas, or his “Meistersinger”, yet, I chose Mozart, in a beautiful duet, from his “Magic flute”:

Enjoy!:

Isn’t it great?

10) The tenth performance from the “in-home” MET Gala which impressed me, was, by South African soprano, Elza van den Heever, who sang, even though the Skype connection wasn’t great, a beautiful Afrikaans aria, about being homesick, by Le Roux Marais, “Heimwee”, below, sung by another talented artist:

Enjoy!:

Isn’t it gorgeous?

The bonus aria for Elza, is from Donizetti’s “Maria Stuarda”, a terrific finale between two queens (Mary and Elizabeth): oh boy!

Enjoy!:

11) The eleventh performance from the “in-home” MET Gala which impressed me, was, by American tenor, Mathew Polenzani, singing an anonymous folk song/tune, “Danny boy”, below, also sung by Matthew himself, a few years ago, and last Saturday afternoon, his delivery was also incredibly moving, as much as it is in this excerpt; a real treat.

Enjoy!:

The bonus aria I chose for Polenzani, is one of my favorite arias for tenors, of course in French, and by genius Bizet, below, is an awesomely gorgeous aria, from “Les Pêcheurs de perles”:

Enjoy!:

Isn’t it just awesome ?

12) The twelfth performance from the “in-home” MET Gala which impressed me, was, by Latvian Mezzo soprano, Elīna Garanča, singing Bizet’s “Carmen”, below, also sung by Elīna herself, a few years ago, and last Saturday afternoon, her delivery was equally fun, joyful, and cheeky; a real treat.

Enjoy!:

And for Elīna’s bonus aria, it is hard to choose, because she is so incredibly talented as well, and terrific in lots of works, including in Berlioz’s “La Damnation de Faust” which I just saw recently, at the MET, as well as in “Der Rosenkavalier” by Strauss; yet, I would have loved a virtual duet for her and Anna Netrebko, from Offenbach’s “Les Contes d’Hoffman”, a stunning “barcarolle”, like no other, that she and Netrebko sang incredibly well together, a few years back.

Enjoy!:

Told you, it may be my favorite duet from the opera repertoire.

13) The thirteenth performance from the “in-home” MET Gala which impressed me, was, by the MET Concertmaster, David Chan, and on the piano, MET Music Director, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, from Massenet’s “Thaïs”, a beautiful meditation, and below, you will get to hear, what we heard/listened to, on Saturday; it is just sublime, and my forth favorite piece of the Gala.

Enjoy!:

Told you!

14) The fourteenth performance from the “in-home” MET Gala which impressed me, was, by South African soprano, Golda Schultz, who sang a beautiful aria from Puccini’s “La Rondine”, below, sung by another talented artist:

Quite an aria isn’t it?

For Schultz bonus aria, I chose one, which impressed me, like many, this season, from the MET Opera season Opening, of course, Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess”, and its most famous aria:

Enjoy!

15) The fifteenth performance from the “in-home” MET Gala which impressed me, was, by American countertenor, Anthony Roth Costanzo, who sang a beautiful aria from Handel’s “Amadigi di Gaula”, here sung by another talented artist:

Enjoy:!

So peaceful and beautiful.

And as for Constanzo’s bonus aria, of course, it has to be about his incredible recent performance, this season, in Glass’ “Akhnaten”:

Enjoy!:

Let’s first, watch the incredibly visually arresting trailer:

And now, let’s listen to a few seconds of rehearsal:

Enjoy!:

So unique and original!

16) The sixteenth performance from the “in-home” MET Gala which impressed me, was, by Bulgarian soprano, Sonya Yoncheva, who sang a beautiful aria from Dvorak’s “Rusalka”, below, sung stunningly by herself, last Saturday.

Enjoy!:

And for her bonus aria, I chose for Yoncheva, a beautiful aria, a prayer for peace, one of my favorite’s from Bellini’s “Norma”:

Enjoy!:

Isn’t it glorious?

17) The seventeenth performance from the “in-home” MET Gala which impressed me, was, by the MET Opera chorus and orchestra, who sang a beautiful iconic aria from Verdi’s “Nabucco”, and which is also the actual “in- home” Gala performance, and awesome.

Enjoy!:

18) The eighteenth performance from the “in-home” MET Gala which impressed me, was, by American soprano, Nadine Sierra, who sang a beautiful “Mimi”‘ aria, one of my favorites, from Puccini’s’ “La Bohème”, below, sung by another talented artist:

Enjoy!:

Isn’t it beautiful, just gorgeous!

And for a bonus by Sierra, I was thinking of Verdi’s “Rigoletto” in which she was an amazing Gilda, yet, I love this duet from Delibes’ “Lakmé”, she sang a while ago, with soulful Anita:

Enjoy!:

Isn’t it beautiful, like a small bunch of Lily in the valley, given on May 1st?

19) The nineteenth performance from the “in-home” MET Gala which impressed me, was, by the German soprano, Diana Damrau, and husband French bass-baritone Nicolas Testé, who sang a beautiful aria from Mozart’s “Don Giovanni”, below sung by another pair of talented artists:

Enjoy!:

And as a bonus aria, for Diana Damrau, there is a lot to choose from as well, but I must say, I especially enjoy her rendition of Mozart’s Queen of the night, from “The Magic Flute”.

Enjoy!:

Isn’t it amazing?

And let’s now listen to Testé, also in Mozart’s “Magic Flute”:

Enjoy!:

20) The twentieth performance from the “in-home” MET Gala which impressed me, was, by American tenor, Lawrence Brownlee, who sang a beautiful aria, from Bellini’s’ “I Puritani”, below, sung below, by himself as well, last Saturday:

Enjoy!:

And for a bonus aria for Brownlee, I love his rendition of Donizetti’s “Una furtiva lagrima” from “L’elisir d’amore”:

Enjoy!:

21) The twenty first performance from the “in-home” MET Gala which impressed me, was, by German bass, Günther Groissböck, who sang a beautiful aria, from Strauss’ “Die Schweigsame Frau”, below, sung by another talented artist:

Enjoy!:

So beautiful.

And the bonus aria for Groissböck, I chose, is also from Strauss, as the awful Baron Ochs, in “Der Rosenkavalier”.

Enjoy!:

22) The twenty second performance from the “in-home” MET Gala which impressed me, was, by American mezzo-soprano, Isabel Leonard, who sang a beautiful aria, from Bernstein ”Somewhere”, below, sung with great talent by herself, a capella, last Saturday.

Enjoy!:

And the bonus aria for Leonard, I chose, is also from Rossini, as the wonderful Angelina, in “La Cenerentola”, (as Cinderella), an incredibly demanding bel canto aria, which I was supposed to go and see, at the MET Opera house, on March 12th, the day the MET cancelled its shows for a month. Oh boy!

Enjoy!:

23) The twenty third performance from the “in-home” MET Gala which impressed me, was, by American mezzo-soprano, Lisette Oropesa, who sang a beautiful aria, from Meyerbeer’s “Robert le diable” which below, was sung by her, last Saturday:

Enjoy!:

And the bonus aria for Oropesa, I chose, is also from Massenet’s “Manon”, another incredibly demanding aria.

Enjoy!:

24) The twenty fourth performance from the “in-home” MET Gala which impressed me, was, by American tenor, Stephen Costello, who sang a beautiful aria, from Gounod’s “Faust” which below, is sung by him, accompanied by his wife, Yoon Kwon Costello, on the violin last Saturday:

Enjoy!

And for Costello’s bonus aria, I also chose a beautiful aria from Gounod’s “Roméo et Juliette”.

Enjoy!:

Isn’t it awesome?

25) The twenty fifth, and last performance of the day, from the “in-home” MET Gala which particularly impressed me, was, by Mexican tenor, Javier Camanero, who sang a beautiful aria, from Bellini’s’ “Il Pirata” which below, is also sung by him, in another venue.

Enjoy!:

Isn’t it just wonderfully alive!

And for Camanera’s bonus aria, I chose a great tenor aria from Donizetti’s “La fille du régiment”, an incredibly technical aria for tenor, which Camanera delivers better than anyone!

Aren’t all of these performances, just wonderful friends?

I truly hope you enjoyed these, as much as I did, sharing these with you!

Until next time.

Yippee!

Soft…

Fluttering…

Sunny…

Joyful…

Happy…

Loving…

Eternal butterflies 😊