A red carpet, endless Champagne and Hollywood stars: the opening night of the Metropolitan Opera on Monday was more like a movie premiere than the musty event it once seemed. Jane Fonda, David Schwimmer, Bianca Jagger, and Mary-Louise Parker all showed up, as did Mayor Michael Bloomberg, artists Chuck Close and Cindy Sherman,designer Zac Posen, and co-hosts Anthony Minghella and Vera Farmiga. Of course, society types also came in abundance to see the new production of “Lucia di Lammermoor,” among them Marie-Josee Kravis, Nancy Kissinger, and Gala Chairman Mercedes Bass.
The colliding worlds are all part of general manager Peter Gelb’s master plan to drag the venerable institution into the 21st century, and he armed himself for the battle by retaining the movie screenings queen Peggy Siegel and the society party planner David Monn.
The new approach seems to be working: “I’m here because of Peter Gelb,” attested Jagger, who arrived with Calvin Klein as her date. “I didn’t come to the Met for many years because I was not happy with the way it was being run. I will come more now.”
Nearby, at the Bryant Park grill, The Museum of the City of New York held its annual “New York After Dark Party.” Debbie Bancroft, Olivia Palermo, and Jennifer Creel munched on goat cheese ravioli, a silent auction took place for a long weekend in Paradise Island, and nearly everyone complained about the traffic being caused by this week’s U.N assembly. “It’s a good time to stay home,” said Nina Griscom.