Scene Last Night: Feinberg, Flowers Toast New Year at Met Gala

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Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

The cast of the Metropolitan Opera's new production of "La Traviata" arrives to the gala supper following the performance. From left to right, Matthew Polenzani (Alfredo Germont); Marina Poplavskaya (Violetta Valéry) and Andrzej Dobber (Giorgio Germont).

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Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

The cast of the Metropolitan Opera's new production of "La Traviata" arrives to the gala supper following the performance. From left to right, Matthew Polenzani (Alfredo Germont); Marina Poplavskaya (Violetta Valéry) and Andrzej Dobber (Giorgio Germont). Close

The cast of the Metropolitan Opera's new production of "La Traviata" arrives to the gala supper following the... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Soprano Marina Poplavskaya celebrated after her performance in Verdi's 'La Traviata' at the Metropolitan Opera. Poplavskaya also performs this season in Verdi's 'Don Carlo.' Close

Soprano Marina Poplavskaya celebrated after her performance in Verdi's 'La Traviata' at the Metropolitan Opera.... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Benjamin Millepied and Natalie Portman at the Metropolitan Opera for the new production of "La Traviata." Portman recently announced that she is pregnant and engaged to Millepied, who coached her on her dancing in the film 'The Black Swan.' Close

Benjamin Millepied and Natalie Portman at the Metropolitan Opera for the new production of "La Traviata." Portman... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Katherine G. Farley, chairman of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and her husband Jerry I. Speyer, the chairman of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, attend the Metropolitan Opera's New Year's Eve gala. Speyer is chairman and co-CEO, of the real estate investment management firm Tishman Speyer. Close

Katherine G. Farley, chairman of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and her husband Jerry I. Speyer, the... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

The president of the New York Public Library, Paul LeClerc, with his wife, the executive director of the Nash Family Foundation, Judith Ginsberg, at the Metropolitan Opera gala. LeClerc, who is retiring from the library in six months, is planning to write a dual biography of Louis XV and the king's lover Madame de Pompadour. Close

The president of the New York Public Library, Paul LeClerc, with his wife, the executive director of the Nash Family... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Philanthropist Adrienne Arsht at the New Year's Eve gala at the Metropolitan Opera, which she chaired. Arsht passed out chocolate bark at her two tables during dessert. Close

Philanthropist Adrienne Arsht at the New Year's Eve gala at the Metropolitan Opera, which she chaired. Arsht passed... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Actor and writer Eric Bogosian arrives at the Metropolitan Opera to see 'La Traviata.' His New Year's resolution is to work on a book about Armenia and improve his poker game. Close

Actor and writer Eric Bogosian arrives at the Metropolitan Opera to see 'La Traviata.' His New Year's resolution is... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

J. Christopher Flowers, Anne Gray, and Mary and Sal Ranieri at the Metropolitan Opera's New Year's Eve Gala. Flowers, the founder of the private equity firm J.C. Flowers & Co., said his New Year's resolution is to "make as much money as possible." Close

J. Christopher Flowers, Anne Gray, and Mary and Sal Ranieri at the Metropolitan Opera's New Year's Eve Gala. Flowers,... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Barbara Tober, the chairman emerita of the Museum of Art & Design, and Donald Tober, the chairman of Sugar Foods Corporation, dance to the music of the Peter Duchin Orchestra at the Metropolitan Opera's New Year's Eve gala. The band played romantic tunes as well as a cover of 'American Pie.' Close

Barbara Tober, the chairman emerita of the Museum of Art & Design, and Donald Tober, the chairman of Sugar Foods... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Karen and Kevin Kennedy at the gala for the new production of "La Traviata" at the Metropolitan Opera. Kevin Kennedy, a member of the Met Opera board, helped underwrite the production. Close

Karen and Kevin Kennedy at the gala for the new production of "La Traviata" at the Metropolitan Opera. Kevin Kennedy,... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Howard Solomon, chairman and chief executive of Forest Laboratories Inc., with his grandson Calvin Solomon and Talicia Martins, at the gala supper following the opening of "La Traviata" at the Metropolitan Opera. Calvin Solomon, who is 12 years old, said he has been to the opera at least seven times. Close

Howard Solomon, chairman and chief executive of Forest Laboratories Inc., with his grandson Calvin Solomon and... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Director Willy Decker, soprano Marina Poplavskaya, and Met Opera general manager Peter Gelb take their seats at the gala supper following the Met Opera debut of Decker's production of "La Traviata." The production features Poplavskaya as Violetta. Close

Director Willy Decker, soprano Marina Poplavskaya, and Met Opera general manager Peter Gelb take their seats at the... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Retired U.S. Army Colonel Scot Miller, Met Opera board member Daniel Terry Jr., Mary Terry, and Daniel Terry Sr. during intermission at "La Traviata," on opening night at the Metropolitan Opera. "The girl's voice is so high and even," said Mary Terry of Marina Poplavskaya's Violetta. Close

Retired U.S. Army Colonel Scot Miller, Met Opera board member Daniel Terry Jr., Mary Terry, and Daniel Terry Sr.... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Tyne Daly, Peter Duchin, and Stephen Wadsworth during intermission of the Metropolitan Opera's new production of "La Traviata." Wadsworth is set to direct Daly in Terrence McNally's 'Master Class,' opening on Broadway in June. Close

Tyne Daly, Peter Duchin, and Stephen Wadsworth during intermission of the Metropolitan Opera's new production of "La... Read More

J. Christopher Flowers shared his New Year’s resolution at the Metropolitan Opera’s gala performance of Verdi’s “La Traviata.”

“Make as much money as possible. Just kidding. I’m here for the glamour and the drama,” said the founder of the private-equity firm J.C. Flowers & Co.

The edgy new production starring Russian diva Marina Poplavskaya as the afflicted party girl attracted a full house, including Kenneth R. Feinberg, the president of the Washington National Opera who is also in charge of BP Plc’s $20 billion compensation fund.

Tickets to the performance and dinner cost $2,000 to $5,000.

Trailing in shortly before 7 p.m., were Natalie Portman, star of the ballet horror movie Black Swan,” who arrived in slush boots accompanied by her co-star and fiance, Benjamin Millepied.

The melting snow made shoe choice difficult all around, though some women managed high red stilettos in a gesture to the preferred color of the production by director Willy Decker and designer Wolfgang Gussmann.

Decker dispenses with the 19th-century tassles and acres of sets featured in the Met’s last production of “La Traviata” by Franco Zeffirelli.

Perfect for the evening, it comes with a ready-made New Year’s wink-wink: a giant tilted clock. The very clear message (not just for Violetta): Time is always running out.

She Was Dead

By 9:45, she was dead after raving touchingly at sobbing tenor Matthew Polenzani and baritone Andrzej Dobber, his regretful father.

When the curtain descended, some 400 guests gathered on the Grand Tier for the dinner hosted by philanthropist Adrienne Arsht, which raised $900,000. The tables came with noise makers and masks.

“Celebrating the arts is the best way possible to ring in the New Year,” said Arsht.

One of her guests, Tyne Daly, who is playing a famed Violetta of the past, Maria Callas, in a New York staging of “Master Class” this spring, said she liked the sparseness of the staging. “I thought it allowed us to hear the music again. It’s something you think you know, but tonight I heard it in a new way and it was beautiful.”

Poplavskaya arrived to cheers and just in time for the first course of chestnut soup, followed by roasted loin of veal served with wild mushrooms and crushed Yukon potatoes.

A burst of fireworks on the balcony overlooking Lincoln Center announced a new year of fundraising. Guests left with a Letts calendar.

(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

To contact the writer on this story: Amanda Gordon at alougord@gmail.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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