by Diane Malone
24th Sept 2007

    mary louise parker willem dafoe blythe danner

  jane fonda digonis                                          
   The stars came out on September 24th, when Mary Zimmerman, Tony Award-winning theatrical and opera director, opened the Metropolitan Opera season with a new production of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor.
   This star-studded celebration of opera marks the second opening night season with General Manager Peter Gelb at the helm. The event was broadcasted live on large screens for audiences at Lincoln Center Plaza and Times Square. With a cast that included soprano Natalie Dessay and Marcello Giordiani, with James Levine conducting, the anticipation of thousands of opera goers was high. From the ticket holders to the free to the public live screenings, opera was in the city air for the evening. 

placido domingo caroline digonis

   The gala event attracted an array of celebrities, from first timers to the ones that have attended and supported the Metropolitan Opera for many years. Jane Fonda seemed to be a first since she was quoted “I’m frankly not too big on opera”, while Barbara Walters has attended the Met Opera for several years. Met Opera Patron Mercedes Bass, also a longtime supporter of the Met, was walking the red carpet posing for photographers and enjoying herself along with her husband Sid. Opera legend Marilyn Horne was a pleasant surprise, looking in good health and warmly greeting the crowd before meeting up with her opera colleague Roberta Peters. Someone called to her “didn’t you use to be Marilyn Horne”, at which point the friendly mannered Horne laughed it off and showed her style. On the other hand, John McEnroe tried to tease the awaiting photographers saying “You’re not the real photographers”, at which point he got the return from a photographer saying “Well you’re not a real tennis player”. At that point he existed swiftly into the Met. Jane Fonda tried to dodge the photographers as well and got a stinging “Hanoi Jane” thrown at her from one of them. Barbara Walters enjoyed herself wearing long white opera gloves while Placido Domingo came with his wife Marta and gave several quick interviews. Placido Domingo mentioned that he will be celebrating his 39th year performing with the Met Opera in a few days.

marilyn horne caroline digonis met opera

   Among the attendees were Mary-Louise Parker, Placido Domingo, Willem Dafoe, Blythe Danner, Jane Fonda, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Walter Cronkite, Joanna Simon, Barbara Walters, Bianca Jagger, Cady Huffman, Anna Netrebko, John McEnroe, Patty Smyth, Vera Farmiga, Marilyn Horne, Zac Posen, Deborah Norville, Morley Safer and Georgette Mosbacher.   
   The evening concluded with a post-performance dinner in Damrosch Park, located alongside the Metropolitan Opera House, for a little over 1,000 supporting guests. The intimate party setting, which was tent enclosed, was decorated with white tables, a large lit chandelier moon, fancy centerpieces and elements that mimic the opera’s forest theme. 

        anna netrebko walter cronkite walters digonis

All Photos: (C) Caroline P. Digonis 2007