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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilla--Rome

Celebrity Series of Boston 

Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilla--Rome

Sir Antonio Pappano  music director 

Martha Argerich         piano
             "the reigning high priestess of the piano"

Symphony Hall
Sunday, October 22, 2017

Verdi                 'Sinfonia' to Aida
Prokofiev          Piano Concerto No. 3
encore: Maestro Pappano joined Argerich in a four-hands rendition of "Laideronnette, Empress of the Pagodas" from Ravel's "Mother Goose"


Respighi           "Fontane di Roma"

Respighi           "I Pini di Roma"

encores: Sibelius's "Valse Triste"
               Rossini's   "William Tell Overture


Jeremy Eichler for the Boston Globe        

Jonathan Blumhofer for The Arts Fuse

Ken Ross for MASSLIVE.COM states that Martha Argerich remains the greatest living pianist!

Photo/Robert Torres

Following the performance Celebrity Series feted us to an elegant reception and a seated sumptuous dinner in the Higginson Room. The charismatic Sir Antonio Pappano joined us and mingled with the guests, participating in our lively discussions and posing for photographs with us. Legendary and elusive pianist Martha Argerich declined our invitation.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Cruise LA--Hawaii--LA-2017

Los Angeles to Hawaii to Los Angeles

May 23--June 10, 2017

May 23 Los Angeles Marriott Airport

May 24--June 9 Crystal Serenity

June 10--Los Angeles Marriott Airport

Sailing into Honolulu Harbor


Jean-Michel Cousteau--guest lecturer

Mary-Crystal Serenity Dining room

Camille Williams, Susan Allen, Nicola, our waiter from Serbia

Ensenada, Mexico

Mary--Dining Room

Chief Electrical Engineer--John Rivers
Roberta Miller, Sandy Hoffman, Josh Miller, Mary,
Camille Williams, Susan Allen, Marty Hoffman

absent from photo--Sue Taylor, Tom Taylor

Monday, April 10, 2017

Shine! On the Harbor Gala-April 8, 2017

Shine! On the Harbor Gala

Celebrity Series of Boston Gala
April 8, 2017

The Loft at the Innovation and Design Building

A glittering evening on the harbor that shined a light on all that Celebrity Series brings to Boston 

Co-Chairs: Stephanie L Brown
                     Susan Thonis 

Shine! Paddle Bid
After Party

Shine! On The Harbor Gala video

Monday, March 13, 2017

Cancun--February 27-March 8, 2017

Cancun, Mexico

February 27--March 8, 2017

JW Marriott Resort & Spa....Mary
CasaMagna Marriott Cancun....Linda

Lagoons, pools, white sand beach that stretched for miles, turquoise/aqua ocean with roaring waves

Flamenco dancing exhibition in the lobby lounge of the CasaMagna

Argentine tango exhibition in the La Capilla restaurant in CasaMagna

Argentine Tango video from performance at La Capilla

Gustino Restaurant in the JW Marriott--an upscale restaurant with exquisite service and ambiance

Sedona Grill in the JW Marriott--one night Mexican Buffet Night with entertainment by a trio

La Capilla in the CasaMagna Hotel--(Argentine restaurant) I had the best filet mignon I have ever had.

Dessert at the La Capilla

Sasi Thai restaurant contiguous to the CasaMagna

Mikado...Japanese restaurant contiguous to the CasaMagna

The twin Marriott hotels offered complimentary golf cart transportation to/from the hotels.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Budapest Festival Orchestra-February 12, 2017

Celebrity Series of Boston presents

Budapest Festival Orchestra

Symphony Hall 

 February 12, 2017

Iván Fischer            conductor

Richard Goode      piano

Beethoven      Symphony No. 1 in C Major, Opus 21
Beethoven      Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Opus 58

Beethoven       Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Opus 67

Maestro Fischer invited 36 students from New England Conservatory to perform with the orchestra for the final movement. What an amazing opportunity for these very talented students!

Many of us braved the blizzard conditions to attend this performance. We were well rewarded with a glorious, rich experience!

The Café at Symphony Hall was very busy before the performance and during intermission. We enjoyed the euphoria of attending the concert despite hazardous weather conditions.

Jeffrey Gantz for the Boston Globe-Click

Aaron Keebaugh writes for Boston Classical Review-Click

Matthew Heck writes for the The Boston Musical Intelligencer-Click 

Budapest Festival Orchestra International Tour-Click

NY Times Michael Cooper reviews 2 performances at Lincoln Center. He also writes that Maestro Fischer has become known as a voice of tolerance and inclusion. He has taken his orchestra to play in abandoned synagogoues in Hungarian towns whose Jewish populations were killed off in WWII. Click  

Friday, November 18, 2016

Boston Symphony Orchestra-November 15, 2016

Boston Symphony Orchestra
Andris Nelsons--conductor
Hélène Grimaud--piano

November 15, 2016

Timo Andres  "Everything Happens So Much" (world premiere commissioned by the BSO)

Brahms  Piano Concerto No.2 in B-Flat, Opus 83                                                       

Hélène Grimaud acknowledges the enthusiastic applause of the audience returning to the stage numerous times.

The extensive cello solo in the concerto by Martha Babcock received thunderous applause from an appreciative audience.

Brahms     Symphony No. 3 in F, Opus 90

Andris Nelsons in action

Aaron Keebaugh for the Boston Classical Review-Click

Zoë Madonna for the Boston Globe-Click

Monday, November 14, 2016

Celebrity Series-Berliner Philharmoniker-11-11.16

Celebrity Series of Boston

Berliner Philhamoniker-November 11, 2016

Sir Simon Rattle--conductor

Boston Symphony Hall

Annual Dress Circle Reception and Dinner


Pierre Boulez              Éclat

Gustav Mahler           Symphony 7

WBUR: Berlin In Boston: Simon Rattle brings one of the world's greatest orchestras for a rare visit-Click 

Boston Classical Review--Aaron Keebaugh--Click

Glitter, mercury as Sir Simon Rattle leads Berlin Philharmonic--Matthew Guerrieri review for Boston Globe--Click

The Boston Musical Intelligencer--John Ehrlich--Click
The Bosston Musical Intelligencer--Jeffrey Gantz--Click

Friday, November 11, 2016

BSO, Nelsons, Grimaud-November 8, 2016

Boston Symphony Orchestra

November 8, 2016

Andris Nelsons      conductor

Hélène Grimaud   piano

Eric Nathan    "the space of a door" (world premiere; BSO commission)  

Brahms--Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, Opus 15    

Nelsons and Grimaud--Winslow Townson/photo

Nelsons and Grimaud--after a thrilling performance

Brahms--Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Opus 68

Nelsons and the BSO

Aaron Keebaugh writes a brilliant review for Boston Classical Review- "A premiere and a persuasive start to Brahms cycle": Click

Zoë Madonna writes for Boston Globe: BSO offers poignant election-night respite: Click

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

An American in Paris-October 30, 2016

An American in Paris
Wang Theatre Oct. 25-Nov. 6, 2016 

Music and Lyrics--George and Ira Gershwin
Book--Craig Lucas

Garen Scribner and Sara Esty

Although the story/plot is rather trite, the music (Gershwin), orchestrations (Tony Award for Bill Elliot), sets, lots of dancing (Much of it is ballet.) are magnificent!

Sara Esty...female lead

Cast after the performance on Sunday, October 31


Our euphoria continued at dinner at Fleming's on Stuart Street, a short walk from the Wang. 

Don Aucoin's review for the Boston Globe--Click

Jeremy D. Goodwin review for WBUR states that the musical "Puts on the Ritz with a glittering production at the Wang--Click

Broadway World Review (BWW)--Click

An interview with Bill Elliott, the Tony award winner for the orchestrations of the new musical: Click

"Directing 'An American in Paris' kept Wheeldon on his toes" according to Christopher Wallenberg--Click  

Sunday, October 02, 2016

BSO and Der Rosenkavalier-9/29/2016

Boston Symphony Orchestra 
Andris Nelsons   Music Director

Concert performance 
Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier
September 29 and 30, 2016

Renée Fleming  Soprano (Marschallin)  
Susan Graham   Mezzo-Soprano (Octavian) 
Franz Hawlata  Bass (Baron Ochs) 
Erin Morley       Soprano (Sophie)  

  Renée Fleming, Susan Graham and conductor Andris Nelsons on stage

Renée Fleming, Franz Hawlata, Susan Graham and conductor Andris Nelsons

I attended the Thursday, September 29, performance. It was magnificent and the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Andris Nelsons was outstanding. The music was glorious.

                                                                               Interview with Renée Fleming on performing in concert with the BSO...Click here:

David Allen review for NY Times...Click here

Aaron Keebaugh for Boston Classical Review....Click here:

Zoë Madonna for the Boston Globe...Click here:

John Ehrlich for the Boston Musical Intelligencer states that Rosenkavalier shimmers...Click here:

Monday, May 09, 2016

Celebrity Series of Boston Gala-May 7, 2016

Celebrity Series of Boston Annual Black-Tie Gala

May 7, 2016, at The Castle at Park Plaza

Shine! Gala!

Like a jewel, Celebrity Series shines brightly as a cultural asset to Boston.
On Saturday May 7, 2016, Celebrity Series held its SHINE! Gala, a glittering evening conceived and designed by Rafanelli Events at the Castle at Park Plaza. About 250 guests attended this black-tie event full of dramatic surprises.

Jessica Lang Dance

6:30     Cocktails
7:45     Performance by Jessica Lang Dance
8:15     Dinner
9:30     After-Party with dancing
Shine! Gala
May 7, 2016 •  The Castle at Park Plaza
    Like a jewel, Celebrity Series shines brightly as a cultural asset to Boston.
On Saturday May 7, 2016, Celebrity Series held its SHINE! Gala, a glittering evening conceived and designed by Rafanelli Events at the Castle at Park Plaza. About 250 guests attended this black-tie event full of dramatic surprises.
- See more at:
Shine! Gala
May 7, 2016 •  The Castle at Park Plaza
    Like a jewel, Celebrity Series shines brightly as a cultural asset to Boston.
On Saturday May 7, 2016, Celebrity Series held its SHINE! Gala, a glittering evening conceived and designed by Rafanelli Events at the Castle at Park Plaza. About 250 guests attended this black-tie event full of dramatic surprises.
- See more at:

Monday, May 02, 2016

Swan Lake-April 29, 2016

Swan Lake

Music      Tchaikovsky

Boston Ballet-April 29, 2016-opening night

Boston Opera House 

Artistic Director   Mikko Nissinen 
Conductor             Jonathon McPhee

Odette/Odile         Misa Kuranaga
Prince Siegfried    Gonzalo Garcia*
Von Rothbart        Lasha Khozashvili

World Premiere-adaptation and additional choreography by Mikko Nissinen after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov
      Boston Ballet October 19. 2014

Original Premiere   
      Imperial Ballet, Maryinsky Theatre  January 15, 1895

Boston Ballet dedicates these performances of Swan Lake to the memory of former Artistic Director Violette Verdy, a legendary and beloved star of the dance world. 

*Gonzalo Garcia--guest artist-principal dancer with New York City Ballet 

Mary Schwalm photos/Boston Globe

Broadway World article--Click here:

Interview with Misa Kuranaga--Click here:

Boston Globe review by Karen Campbell--Click here:

The Kirov Ballet
Odette/Odile    Yulia Makhalina 
Prince Siegfried  Igor Zelensky

This production includes the familiar happy ending in the final act where Siegfried fights and ultimately defeats the evil magician von Rothbart and at  dawn is reunited with Odette.


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Paris--April 2016

Paris--April 2016

Philharmonie de Paris located in the 19ème

Inside the Grande Salle--Philharmonie de Paris

Monday, April 11--Philharmonie de Paris

 Only a few days before I was to leave for Paris a single ticket became available for a performance by Hélène Grimaud. I had only seconds to make the purchase. It is highly unusual for me to attend a performance on the day of arrival after an overnight flight. Little did I realize that I was going to have the experience of a life time: 

Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia 

Sir Antonio Pappano, direction
Hélène Grimaud, piano

Giacchino Rossini 
   Ouverture de La Cenerentola
Ludwig van Beethoven 
   Concerto pour piano No. 4

Camille Saint-Saëns
   Symphonie No. 3 Avec orgue [with organ]
   Daniele Rossi, organ 

Tuesday, April 12--Philharmonie de Paris

London Symphony Orchestra

Sir Simon Rattle, direction
Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano

Olivier Messiaen
  Couleurs de la Cité céleste


Anton Bruckner
  Symphonie No. 8  


Wednesday, April 13--Opéra Bastille

Roméo et Juliette  (Ballet de L'Opéra) after Shakespeare's play
Music--Sergei Prokofiev

Choreography--Rudolf Noureev
    Ballet created for the Paris Opera Ballet, first performed        October 19, 1984

In 1977 Rudolf Nureyev created a new version of Romeo and Juliet for the London Festival Ballet, today's English National Ballet. He performed the lead role of Romeo, with British ballerina Patricia Ruanne creating the role of Juliet. As a partnership, they toured the production internationally. It continues to be a popular ballet in the English National Ballet repertoire. 

Orchestra de l'Opéra national de Paris
Simon Hewett--Direction Musicale/Conductor

Roméo          Mathias Heymann
Juliette         Léonore Baulac

Place de Bastille

William Shakespeare's most performed play, along with Hamlet, was not adapted until the 20th century into a ballet. Sergei Prokofiev first had the idea of composing a score which was choreographed by Leonid Lavrosky in 1935. His magnificent Romeo & Juliette would go on to inspire numerous other versions, including that of Kenneth MacMillan, first performed in 1965 with Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn in the leading roles.

Rudolf Nureyev's version was added to the Paris Opera Ballet repertoire in 1984. His version uses much of the ballet he had premiered in London in 1977. He scrupulously followed Sergei Prokofiev's score, which is faithful to Shakespeare's play, expanding the role of Romeo, whom he described as a "young boy who becomes a man", opposite a passionate Juliette, who also finds herself tragically entering adulthood.

With Ezio Frigerio's sumptuous Italian-Renaissance-inspired sets and costumes, Nureyev succeeded in recreating the sophistication and sensuousness of the Elizabethan drama, but also all its cruelty.

Friday, April 15--Théâtre des Champs-Elysées 

Philharmonia Orchestra
Vladimir Ashkenazy---direction
Boris Berezvsky---piano

All Rachmaninov program

Vocalise op. 34
Piano Concerto No. 1 pour piano et orchestre en fa dièse (F sharp) mineur


Symphony No. 2 en mí (E) mineur op. 27

In this very concert hall in the autumn of 2010, the Philharmonia and Vladimir Ashkenazy performed a Rachmaninov cycle over three evenings, offering a thoughtful selection of works retracing the career of this composer who was the heir to the great tradition of the Russian school but also a visionary of the nascent musical forms of the 20th century. As a young man, pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy spent a long time exploring the twists and turns of this protean body of work. Now as a conductor, he continues to devote himself to Rachmaninov in the concert hall and on CD.

Ashkenazy has produced a wonderful recording of the complete Rachmaninov symphonies and piano concerti with the Concertgebouw. [I could not find these recordings on youtube.]

Vladimir Ashkenazy performs Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 1--London Symphony Orchestra, André Previn, conductor


I was surprised to see a gigantic Ferris wheel in the Place de la Concorde. The French call it Le Grand Rue.