Saturday, July 18, 2009


Bob invited me to go to Caramoor to see the Donizetti opera "L'Elisir d'Amore" (The Elixir of Love).

"Caramoor" the name reminds me of some Sir Walter Scott made up romantic pastiche and it kind of was all that. The kind of place you would want to go to outside of New York City.

It was my first venture out after this cold and it was indeed an elixir. It felt like being kidnapped to the country - on a luxury coach from grand Grand Central- to some verdant hideout up the Hudson River Valley outside Katonah, New York. (The East is so cute with its Indian, er, Native American names. I could name my daughter after this place!) I remarked to Bob that I didn't realize NYC was so UN green until we got out of it and saw all these trees.

In an effort to compare everything to home this place is a former estate now used for the arts and gardens and weddings sort of like Filoli. Or Huntington. Very beautiful.

I wish we had more time to explore, but we did have time to sit at a picnic table in the woods and enjoy a Bob-created gastrofeast. It was excellent as per usual. I even got leftovers.

And in this faraway land of makebelieve, we continued to run into people we knew including the classical music critic Alex Ross from The New Yorker. I asked him if he was going to write something on this and he said he was. Ha! I scooped him. (But not well, he is a good writer!) On the bus on the way up I asked Bob if he knew my friend Pat and he didn't and there was Pat up at Caramoor! Small bloody world. New York continues to get smaller and smaller for me. Who knew!?

The opera was superb. It is held at this Venetian style theatre there under a tent and one could see fireflies swirling around. Just magical. The opera is about a boy and a girl and a magical love potion. I was just a boy and a bottle myself, but I got the idea. The voices were strong and pleasant to my uneducated opera sensibility and it was shear pleasure to be there to listen to it all. I could feel the music in my body as Bob remarked he could as well.

Home James on the coach and back to the Big A as if coming out of a dream experiment in a lab. But my mind was not erased. I remember it all and it was wonderful.

Bob's friend the General Director explains the season and the place.

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