Wednesday, December 26, 2012

On the second day of Christmas

We went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see the Neapolitan Christmas Tree. 

Then saw the Roentgens exbibit called Extravagant Inventions (photos not allowed!) A wonderful show, I only wish my father could have seen it, since he made quite a bit of beautiful furniture when I was growing up. He would have loved all the intricate hidden compartments. Not to be missed. 

The Victorian staircase by the Gift Shop, which I think is quite beautiful. I really like the colors and parcel gilt used to restore it.

The flowers in the lobby, which are wonderfully grand in their huge vases, the Winter berries lending a festive air.

Perseus holding Medusa's head: one of my favorite statues by Canova. It's fun to stand and watch everyone gawk and take pictures at this ten-foot wonder with divine proportions. Ever heard of the term Aesthetic Arrest? He's got it. 

The Greek and Roman Gallery. I've said it before, but I can't get enough of this part of the museum. And the funny thing is: I was standing in the gallery, taking a picture, and heard a man say as he passed by: "I have to get out of here! All this classicism is giving me a headache!" To each his own.

Mr. Husband and I then went out into the snow, jumped into a cab, and wound our way across Central Park, passing by the Natural History Museum with its huge dinosaur topiaries twinkling with lights, making tea when we got home. The Italian Chocolate-Almond Torte from Christmas dinner was still yummy after having been wrapped tight overnight.  A perfect gift on a Winter's day.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day Berries

No. It's not upstate New York, but rather, Central Park Lake.  I took a walk before preparing dinner, and was surprised to see two separate couples having wedding pictures taken, mink wraps and red hats in evidence. I really should have snapped their picture, but, well- that would have been cheeky, would it not? 

When I got home, I realized I'd taken a picture of the cranberry sauce I made yesterday. What's in the pot? Fresh cranberries, an apple, a handful each of dried cranberries and currants, a touch of brown sugar, a stick of cinnamon, and the juice and zest of an orange. Sometimes I also put in a pear, but there wasn't one on hand, unfortunately. 

So there you have it: a very berry post.

Wishing you a glorious Christmas! 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

It's Christmas Eve here in Manhattan. Mr. Husband and I both have Christmas Eve services at which we will make music. That means being ready for Christmas by the time we leave the apartment in the early evening. The cranberry sauce is made, as is the Italian Chocolate-Almond Torte - the latter readied as we listened to Lessons & Carols from Kings College in England in the morning. No goose this year, but rather, a steamed turkey via a fantastic recipe from Jacque Pépin courtesy of the NYTimes. It made its debut at Thanksgiving, and being so well-recieved, demanded a repeat performance. Incredibly moist, quick even, there was no burning butter filling the air - a huge thing in a small apartment with a 20 inch oven! I'll make the pancetta & sage stuffing muffins in the morning. 

I love this time of year even though it kicks up stuff, as I know it does for many other people; memories and music, expectations, long-desired dreams and disappointments combine in a potent wassail. When it all goes to my head, I remind myself to take a deep breath, and look into the heart. Isn't that what it's all about? 

Wishing you Wonderful Holidays and a Very Merry Christmas!

Photo taken two years ago on Columbus Avenue- a few blocks away near ABC Studios - on the way home from Lincoln Center. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Cloisters

I took my good friend Steve to The Cloisters this past August, not having visited the museum for quite a while. The funny thing is: I used to live right below this wonderful museum when I first lived in New York, now twenty-five years ago. I would go there at least twice a month, sitting in the inner court yard in the Winter, which was closed off to the elements with plexiglas panels, the orange trees from the garden in full bloom, filling the space with fragrance. 

It is like no other place in Manhattan. While there, you feel yourself transported to another time. Not to be missed.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Walking Home

I love living in New York City. Really.  I do. I get to teach wonderful singers here, since the City is the capital of culture in many respects, both nationally and internationally. I'm still singing myself, after two decades at the opera at Lincoln Center, currently at a church on the Upper East Side - right across the Park from where I live. Of course, this affords me with the opportunity of walking past the Metropolitan Museum of Art on my way home. Do I go in? Up bet. Wouldn't miss it for anything.

Just walking into the lobby makes my spirits soar. It's a grand space, one that was filled with art when it first opened a century ago. 

The architecture is Victorian, over the top, and somewhat 'thick'.  But I love it.  And the art? We're really spoiled rotten since the Metropolitan has an incredible collection.

What most people don't realize is that the Metropolitan has a suggested admission. I tell my classical students this frequently. "Go to the Met," I say. "Look at the paintings by Rembrandt and observed the rich chiaroscuro coloring. That's what your voice should sound like! And it's cheap. Plunk down a few bucks and no one will blink an eye! Really. Go! You have no excuses!" They do. And come back amazed that seeing great art doesn't have to cost them an arm and a leg. (The current suggested admission is something like $22 bucks now.) They also get a visual idea of what it means to make beautiful tone.

The eye goes up when you are standing in the lobby. It does that too when you exit and walk through Central Park. You see the buildings of the West Side and aim your way home, winding through the paths. 

Looking towards Central Park West.

The path leads down to Central Park lake, where I snapped the view looking towards Central Park South, and the huge new apartment building which is being completed there. A few more steps and I was home.