Best of 2012 by Mary Kovoor

Blog Dec 2012 Blog Dec 2012.

Lists, lists, lists! Magazines, radio stations and websites love to list their “best of” and “worst of” at the end of the year. It’s fun to see the top ten when it pertains to something relevant and interesting to us. Then there are those of us who tire of the lists. If you fall under this category, I recommend a blog I recently came across entitled “Top 10 Steps to a Top 10 List.” When confronted with a plethora of lists, can you possibly extract the events and places that meant most to you in 2012? What would be on your list?

I cannot help but smile as I attempt to list the highlights of 2012 here at Caramoor. So many performances and images come to mind… here are my standouts:

New York to Paris, Paris to Paradise. This musical tale of two cities allowed our Schwab Vocal Rising Stars to celebrate spring through the works of French and American composers. Gershwin, Bernstein, Weil, Poulenc and several others were performed on a beautiful March Sunday in the Music Room. The music all but transported me to France, where I spent several months as an exchange student many years ago.

Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Opening night of the Summer Music Festival. What a magical night! Conductor Roberto Abbado led the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and violin virtuoso Gil Shaham made a special appearance in Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto. Narrator Bebe Neuwirth lent her voice as narrator in this spectacular opening performance.

American Roots Music Festival. The month of June ended on an exciting note with our day-long outdoor extravaganza. I thoroughly enjoyed the folk, blues, gospel, and “steamboat soul” that have influenced so many American performers. The evening performance by Hot Tuna Acoustic rocked the Venetian Theater!

Opera. Rossini’s Ciro in Babilonia and Bellini’s I Capuleti ed i Montecchi showcased some of the most talented modern opera singers in the world. Celebrated contralto Ewa Podles returned to Caramoor in the role of Ciro, while Eglise Gutierrez and Kate Aldrich played Giulietta and Romeo, respectively. Opera aficionados on both days enjoyed several hours of pre-opera events, culminating in spectacular late-night performances in the Venetian Theater. (Ciro was my first outdoor opera – a great experience for me!)

Jazz Festival. Summer was in full swing by late July, and our Jazz Festival did not disappoint. Despite heavy rain, I danced in the aisles when Dee Dee Bridgewater performed, and the weekend closed with Pat Metheny bringing down the house on a beautiful summer Sunday. I can still picture his visual special effects, and the enraptured looks throughout the audience.

Dancing at Dusk. I was lucky enough to attend all of the D@D concerts. The energy of the kids and families on the lawns brought back wistful memories of when my own children were younger, but the upbeat music kept me from getting teary-eyed.

These are just a few of the many fabulous events that took place over the past year. So many others come to mind (string quartets, Renaissance days, mentoring programs and Free Arts Day, to name a few) but alas, my list would be miles long! What did you enjoy most at Caramoor in 2012? I’d love to know!

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