Friday, October 4, 2013

30. New York Swings

One of the many things I love about New York City is the "free" entertainment - especially in the parks and on weekends. I say free, but these guys do like a tip !!! - after all giving us pleasure is their living.

From Battery Point at the bottom of Manhattan right up to Washington Heights at the top end of the Island, street music and other performers keep the crowds entertained. And it doesn't end in the streets. In the subways there was always someone hip-hopping or playing a sax - even a men's a'cappella group on one train ... 

Battery Point jazz combo

 Negro Spirituals outside the Met 
Classical pianist - with his mum selling his CDs ... in Washington Square Park 
Sax in Central Park
Merry-go-Round music in Brooklyn
Pianist singing Gershwin etc in Bryant Park
Hillbilly in Washington Square Park
Bad Jokes teller - didn't know any Aussie jokes !!! - so I got my money back
Spontaneous group in Chelsea
 Sax outside the MOMA 
Dancers from New York Dance Company at Battery Point Park
Black Brass Ensemble in Washington Square Park
Full Jazz Combo in Washington Square Park
 Yiddish Group in Washington Square Park  
"Real" hillbillies in Washington Square Park 
Country and Western in Madison Square Park 

Then in my final week I attended the opera at the Metropolitan Opera in the 16 acre Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts. A massive complex catering for theatre, opera, ballet, movie and all degrees of music etc.  
My 'opera' day began at 8.30am when I joined the "standing tickets" queue at the Centre. The ticket box opens at 10am and I am 3rd in line so get pick of sites. $27 for a perfect spot #3 almost in centre of orchestra ( stalls ). Sitting seats in front of me cost $250. So it is a pretty good deal – only thing is you have to stand for the entire performance !!!
The opera was Eugene Onegin – by Peter Tchaikovsky – and starred my all-time favourite singer Anna Netrebko as the love-struck Tatiana, and Mariusz Kwiecien as the “cad” Onegin.

The performance started at 7.30pm - I didn’t really know what to expect with the standing thing, but it is really good in so many ways - there is a velvet padded “lectern” that you can lean on + put your elbows on to watch the performance – also in front of each site ( and seats ) there are individual mini-screens with sub-titles ( opera was in Russian ) – and being right at the back of the theatre, you can move about a bit and stretch the legs etc. – plus you are looking over the heads of the people in front, so the view of the stage was totally 100%.
the interior of the theatre is six stories high
The opera ran for nearly 4 hours – with 2 intermissions – so each intermission I was first out the door and sat myself down on a chair in the foyer lounge to sit out the 20 minutes and rest the feet !!!

This was a thrilling experience and definitely a major highlight of my New York stay ...
One more blog post then I have to say good-bye to NYC and hello to another exciting destination ...