Scene Last Night: Fred Iseman, White Nights Toast Anna Karenina

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Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Valery Gergiev, artistic director and general director of the Mariinsky Theatre, toasting with Elit vodka.

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Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Valery Gergiev, artistic director and general director of the Mariinsky Theatre, toasting with Elit vodka. Close

Valery Gergiev, artistic director and general director of the Mariinsky Theatre, toasting with Elit vodka.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Diana Vishneva, principal dancer with the Mariinsky Ballet and American Ballet Theatre. Close

Diana Vishneva, principal dancer with the Mariinsky Ballet and American Ballet Theatre.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Charlotte Day-Reiss, a student, and Frederick Iseman, chairman and CEO, CI Capital Partners. Close

Charlotte Day-Reiss, a student, and Frederick Iseman, chairman and CEO, CI Capital Partners.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Yuri Smekalov, who danced the part of Vronsky in "Anna Karenina," and his wife, Vlada Smekalova. Close

Yuri Smekalov, who danced the part of Vronsky in "Anna Karenina," and his wife, Vlada Smekalova.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Randall Jones, a magazine publisher, and Selwa "Lucky" Roosevelt, a board member of the White Nights Foundation. Close

Randall Jones, a magazine publisher, and Selwa "Lucky" Roosevelt, a board member of the White Nights Foundation.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Marilyn Perry, a painter, and Donald Kendall, chairman, White Nights Foundation. Close

Marilyn Perry, a painter, and Donald Kendall, chairman, White Nights Foundation.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Mortimer Zuckerman, chairman and CEO, Boston Properties Inc., and Frances Townsend, former homeland security advisor to President George W. Bush. Close

Mortimer Zuckerman, chairman and CEO, Boston Properties Inc., and Frances Townsend, former homeland security advisor... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Robert Blocher, dean of the Yale School of Music. Close

Robert Blocher, dean of the Yale School of Music.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Patricia Field, stylist, and Charlotte Kemp Muhl, a model and actress. Close

Patricia Field, stylist, and Charlotte Kemp Muhl, a model and actress.

After Anna Karenina committed suicide by train at the Metropolitan Opera, Frederick Iseman took to a smaller stage at New York’s Mandarin Oriental.

The Mariinsky Ballet, back in town after a strange hiatus of 11 years, drew a sold-out house with lots of sad-eyed folks standing outside looking for a ticket to Alexei Ratmansky’s production of “Anna Karenina.”

Afterwards, special (and remarkably heat-resistant) patrons revived themselves with chilled pea soup at the Mandarin a few blocks away.

Iseman, the chairman and CEO of CI Capital Partners LLC, hosted the dinner, which benefited the White Nights Foundation, the U.S. fund-raising arm of St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre.

A dance and opera buff (he paid for “The Nose” last season at the Met), Iseman was the foundation’s 2011 gala chairman.

“One of the most interesting things is to go backstage during a performance, and also to watch rehearsals,” Iseman said. “You feel like nothing after you’ve seen that.”

The Kirov

Later, the guests heard from Valery Gergiev, the Mariinsky’s globetrotting insomniac and leader, who conducted the score by Rodion Shchedrin, a popular composer of Russia’s darker days, when the ballet was still named after the mass- murdering Kirov.

Everyone seemed to adore the fancy settings by Mikael Melbye, which included a rail car on a turntable stage and an enthusiastic fog machine.

Diana Vishneva danced Anna Karenina with an unexpected stage lover: Yuri Smekalov replaced Konstantin Zverev as Vronsky.

For the party, Vishneva exchanged her death-scene blue frock for a long white cotton dress with gray ribbons and painted flowers.

Selwa “Lucky” Roosevelt, a former U.S. chief of protocol and an early supporter of Gergiev, called the performance “mesmerizing.” The director of “Black Swan,” Darren Aronofsky, said the dancing was “bold.”

Other guests included Mortimer Zuckerman, chairman and chief executive officer of Boston Properties Inc. (BXP), and Lally Weymouth, senior associate editor at the Washington Post.

The White Nights Foundation raises $1 million to $2 million annually to support the Mariinsky Theatre and Gergiev’s tours of the U.S., said Peter Anthony Lusk, a retired investment banker and treasurer of the foundation. Last night’s dinner raised $450,000.

The Mariinsky Ballet will give seven more performances this week at the Metropolitan Opera House as part of the Lincoln Center Festival

(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 in New York at agordon01@bloomberg.net or on Twitter at @amandagordon.

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

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