City Pulse

By Razi Schwartz

So, in the wake of a few entries that were slightly less culturally stimulating, I bring thee something that should knock your socks off. I’d be a shmuck to ask if anyone’s heard of The Met, because…well…let’s face it…everyone’s heard of The Met. The thing I find more and more shocking is how few people have actually gone and experienced its glory, its grandeur, its…ultra fabulousness, if you will. I’ve only seen a few operas there myself – wish I had a better excuse than the reality of why I haven’t gone more, so we’ll just pretend it was for some truly understandable reason like that I had to constantly perform emergency open heart surgery or that I was saving the world…or something.

Anywho, there are some truly amazing performances going on there this season, and there are still shows left for the end of the year, so I want to make sure y’all get to go, see, experience … and a whole other slew of adjectives that might indicate an amazing happening that would, well, blow your socks off.

So, what do we have? I’ve got four doozies for you to sink your teeth into. I’m going to list all date/time info below, so…don’t be looking for it up here. And now, on to the good stuff…let’s start with…La Boheme! Puccini’s brilliance strikes in this uber-classic – for you non-opera buffs, Puccini is not, like, a little Pucci. Although that would be funny, ’tis not the case. Both are geniuses in his own right – and should we not all observe a moment of silence for both of them and my love for them. If you’re unfamiliar with La Boheme, it’s a love story. There’s a lot of lost love, missing love, found love – love me tender, love me true. If you’re more familiar with neo-classic love stories (neo-classic being from the ’90s onward), think Mimi and Roger in Rent singing “Would you light my candle…” as this film is partly based on this famoso opera. It’s truly a classic that everyone should see, which is why you…shouldn’t miss it. Period.

Next on our schedule of events is…Carmen! Now, what is sexier than Carmen? Um, right, I think not much. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is sexy in a classic way (i.e. Carmen is quite the seductress), but the story plot is slightly askew – basically this beeee-otch is twisted, and we love her for it. Should we all be thankful that all the instances of unrequited love we encounter in our lives (either dolled out or done unto us) does not end as this opera does. No, I’m not going to totally blow the plotline…but I’m telling you this is the stuff juicy dramas are made of! Oh, and … I have to say that unlike La Boheme and its ’90s counterpart, Rent, I do not really recommend the MTV version of Carmen starring Beyonce Knowles. I love me some Beyonce and her bootie, but … I don’t know, I wasn’t jiving on it. The original, however, is stupendous.

And next on my to-see list is An American Tragedy. Yes, that is the name of the opera, an not a commentary about whatever you’d like to insert in that “fill in the blank.” If you’re wondering why you’ve never heard of this opera before, that’s because this season is its world premiere – WORLD PREMIERE, people. We love us some premieres, especially when we get to see it now, and not, like, 30 years down the road. The Met’s info page describes this opera perfectly, so I will quote them and say, this opera is “based on a true story of a [a preacher's son] who was found guilty of murdering the woman who was carrying his baby, while he was simultaneously pursuing another woman of a higher social class, … tasted a little sophistication on his way to death in the electric chair.” People, it’s like a classy version of US Weekly Presents Jerry Springer, and in opera form! I’m telling you, this is going to be gold, and shouldn’t be missed.

El lasto performanco that I’d like to share with you is Die Fledermaus. Think Johann Strauss. Think gorgina waltzes. Think of dreamy 19th century romance while waltzing in ornate ballrooms where your love interest’s name is Alfred…or Adele depending on what you prefer. It’s basically a dream – a costumer’s fantasy – a delicious way to lose yourself in an evening when “escapism” is the word of the day. Lose yourself in the music – it makes me want to go on Ballroom Bootcamp just thinking about it.

When all is said and done, I really really think there’s enough time left in the season to see all four masterpieces, but if you insist on only choosing one…or two…here are the availabilities…

La Boheme: November 22 & 26: 8:00pm November 30: 7:30pm December 3, 6, 9 & 15: 8:00pm

Carmen: November 23 & 29: 8:00pm November 26: 1:30pm (Matinee) December 3 & 10: 1:30pm (Matinee) December 7, 14 & 17: 8:00pm

An American Tragedy: December 2, 8, 12, 16, & 28: 8:00pm December 5 & 21: 7:30pm December 24: 1:30pm (Matinee)

Die Fledermaus: December 19 & 29: 8:00pm January 7: 8:00pm December 22 & 26: 7:30pm January 4: 7:30pm

SPECIAL SHOW: DECEMBER 31 at 7:00pm with surprise guest artists (no we can’t tell you who, that’s why it’s a surprise, shtummy).

Ok, now that I’ve given you all the facts, or the DL as we call it on the street, go buy yo-self some tickets to the opera. Seriously, it’s only a matter of time before they turn Die Fledermaus and An American Tragedy into “teen satiable” versions …. Unless you count Britney Spears as an American Tragedy, then we’re only waiting for Die Fledermaus. “Seriously, I’d be happy with a translation first before a teeny bopper version. I honestly do think it’s good that “those with talent” try to take fine art and culture and make it more “accessible” to the masses – especially if it turns out well and becomes it’s own classic, but…I don’t know what MTV was thinking remaking Carmen. That was a big kerplop in my book.” So, go, run, and let me know what you think of our gorgeous Metropolitan Opera House. Oh, how I love her so.

For more ticket information and to learn move about the Met and their programs, log on to www.metoperafamily.org

Thanksgiving…High Thai Style at 60 Thompson’s Kittichai

Singletons of Manhattan, listen up! Don’t spend this Thursday sitting on your sofa watching tv sit-com marathons and eating takeout. Oh no! Grab a couple pals who are also in danger of spending black Friday with a bloated belly from eating too much junk while laying on their sofa the day before and head to 60 Thompson’s famed Kittichai. You can spice up this day with some good food you’ll really be thankful for. After all, Thanksgiving is about being grateful, being in good company and being surrounded by incredible food!

Chef Ian Charlermkittichai, former executive chef of the Spice Market restaurant in the five-star Four Seasons Bangkok, has created a unique a la carte dinner menu for the special occasion which includes entrees such as grilled prime rib-eye steak on wok-fried bamboo and braised lamb shank with cranberry beans. If a la carte is not your style, a Thanksgiving Prix-Fixe, an exclusive menu, is offered from 4pm to 11pm on Thanksgiving Day. Start the Prix-Fixe with roasted butternut squash-coconut soup with truffle chili paste and smoked cinnamon cream. The first course is followed by duck foie gras an spicy green papaya salad with Asian pear vinaigrette, mussaman turkey osso buco and northern spiced organic turkey breast with Kittichai style traditional trimming. Desserts include sticky palm sugar pudding, hazelnut Ovaltine hot chocolate and jasmine rice wafers.

The only thing better than a delectable, wholesome meal and not having to slave away in the kitchen to cook or clean up would be if that meal is being enjoyed in one of the “Best New Asian Restaurants” (Food and Wine Magazine’s September 2005 issue).

New Yorkers may recognize authentic Thai flavors and dishes they have come to know and love, but Kittichai takes everything to world-class status with imaginative new variations on Thai recipes, cooked with ultra-fresh ingredients. The Thanksgiving menu is sure to do the same. To encourage diners to sample numerous flavors, food is served family style, with an emphasis on refined presentations.

For reservations, please call 212.219.2000. Brunch is available from 11am – 3pm and Dinner is available from 4pm – 11pm on Thanksgiving Day.

Originally published November 2005
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