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Saturday, October 25, 2003

Paris-October 2003

Part One
First of all, I have a great concern for American Airlines: there were lots of empty seats; after dinner I found a middle row of 3 empty seats; I stretched out and slept until they served breakfast an hour before landing. It was cold and rainy only on the day I arrived; then the weather turned delightfully comfortable and sunny every day! And, of course, it would not be Paris if there were no manifestations, but at least there were no transportation strikes as there were during my visit in May. I was stopped for security/ticket check in the Métro only twice this time.

Marlene Dietrich Exhibition
at the Musée Galliera, which is part of the Musée de la Mode, located at 10, ave Pierre 1er de Serbie in the 16th. Métro:Iena The exhibit consists of over 160 items of fabulous clothing and accessories that Marlene wore on stage, screen and in private life, on loan from the Berlin Film Institute. They included lots of interesting history and anecdotes. I can't get over how well preserved the outfits were, especially the couture designs, not to mention several couturiers' bills over 50M ff! That was a lot of centimes for the war years. Marlene was quite a gal!

We saw La Bohème at the Opéra Bastille. It was a glorious experience.....the acoustics are truly amazing...The
venue is spectacular as are the staging, costumes, the performers. The orchestra and the chorus are outstanding. I felt so privileged to be in attendance.

We went to the all-Balanchine program at the Palais Garnier: The Crystal Palace (renamed Symphony in C) to the music of Bizet was exquisite; The Prodigal Son to the music of Prokofiev was dramatic and poignant; The Four Temperaments (Melancholy, Sanguine/Optimistic, Apathy, Anger) to the music of Paul Hindemith for Orchestra with piano solos was absolutely beautiful. The piano solos had me enthralled. Again, the Orchestre de l'Opéra National de Paris is breathtaking. We had terrific seats, orchestra, 6th row center; bien sûr, we dressed accordingly!

The Orchestra with piano solos was absolutely beautiful. The piano solos had me enthralled. Again, the Orchestre de l’Opéra National de Paris is breathtaking. We had terrific seats, orchestra, 6th row center; bien sûr, we dressed accordingly!



Opera Garnier
                                  

Botticelli, from Lorenzo Il Magnifico to Savonarole Exhibition at the Musée de Luxembourg in the Jardins Luxembourg - It was a disappointing exhibition for me: it was a small exhibition; it was crowded and stuffy; it lacked major works such as La Nascita di Venere and La Primavera; at 9 € plus 4.50 € for the audio guide this event did not excite me.

Gauguin-Tahiti at the Grand Palais: This exhibition is coming to the MFA in Boston in February, and since I am a member I will wait until then to see it.

Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940) at the Grand Palais also - I regret that I missed this exhibition; however, there is only so much time and I had promised myself that this would be a leisurely trip. I admit that I found time to go “shopping” twice; I even tried on a few exquisite dresses/gowns and dreamed of a drop-dead entrance in one of those heavenly creations at the next gala at home, but, alas, that was only a dream! The prices!!!!!!!!!!

And after having just read Nicolas Gage’s Greek Fire, the story of Maria Callas and Aristotle Onassis, I explored the area of Maria’s apartment at 36 Av Georges Mandel in the 16th arrondissement and Ari’s very nearby at 88 Av Foch.

And, of course, the new lighting at the Eiffel Tower is a must. At exactly on the hour, for 10 minutes, each hour, until 1:00 AM (2:00 in summer) the entire tower is alight with twinkling lights. No, it is more like the sparklers we had as children to celebrate the 4th of July. It is a sparkling, enchanting sight to behold.

We went out to Versailles to see Les Grandes Eaux Musicales, the fountain water display set to music, Sundays only, at the Versailles Chateau. Unfortunately, as of October 1st, the French consider it the winter season; therefore, there were no water displays from the sculptures/fountains in the gardens. Interestingly enough, October is not considered off-season as far as hotel rates!!!

Piaf, La Môme de Paris-(the little girl/darling of Paris) an exhibition on Edith Piaf at the Hôtel de Ville - This was a truly wonderful, clever, interesting, exciting tribute to Piaf and free admission; yes, free. I have at least one of her CD’s and several of her recordings on compilation disks of French chansons.

There is so, so much more to see and do. Paris is not only the City of Light but also the city of music and art. And let us not forget the French cuisine!

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