In the David H. Koch Theater at New York’s Lincoln Center Thursday night, audience members craned and swiveled to catch a glimpse of Paul McCartney sitting in the first ring.
For a few moments, everyone of a certain age was young again, women and men.
The occasion was the world premiere of “Ocean’s Kingdom.” Paul McCartney wrote the cinematic music and libretto (his first for a ballet) and New York City Ballet’s Peter Martins choreographed. Daughter Stella McCartney designed the costumes.
In attendance: Stanley Druckenmiller, John Paulson, Steve Schwarzman, Philip Falcone, Dick Cashin, as well as Steve Buscemi, Ed Norton, Naomi Watts and Sarah Jessica Parker.
Before Princess Honorata and Prince Stone began their romance in an underwater world inhabited by mohawked warriors and rainbow-colored nymphs, there were a few more moments of McCartney adulation.
New York City Ballet’s music director, Faycal Karoui emerged from the pit with his players to introduce the score, playing excerpts.
Then Martins appeared in front of the stage’s gold curtain for a champagne toast (a tradition started by George Balanchine, he said). He put a British twist on it for McCartney, holding out a tea cup and saucer. From behind the curtain an arm appeared with a teapot to fill it up.
Finally, the time had come to dive into the “Ocean’s Kingdom,” where things never got too dark.
Lords in Zoot Suits
Three drunken lords in zoot suits amiably stumbled across the stage to clownish trombones.
Even when Honorata went to prison, her cell glowed white, with bars easily broken by her prince. Yes, the story had a happy ending.
Paul McCartney came to the stage for bows, attired in a slim-fitting suit with chestnut hair down to his ears. From the back of the hall, it was easy to time-travel to the Beatles days. He looked great. He waved.
Then everyone headed into a tent behind the theater for a pasta supper to be worked off on the dance floor.
“This is a very nice night,” said Paulson, president and co-fund manager of Paulson & Co.
“We loved it,” concurred Wilbur Ross, chairman and chief executive of WL Ross & Co. “The staging, the costumes, the way the story builds.”
The event raised $4 million for New York City Ballet.
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)