Opera Lafayette Benefit
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It’s a great pleasure to welcome you tonight to the French Residence. I presented my credentials to President Obama only two months ago, and I must say it has been two incredible months. From the skies of Libya to the mountains of Afghanistan, our two countries have never been closer.
As most of you are aware, Opera Lafayette and the French Embassy have a longstanding relationship. Since the time the company was known as the violins of Lafayette, we have been privileged to maintain this kinship through all these years of impressive artistic growth.
I have had the opportunity to read some of Opera Lafayette’s recent press reviews!
I think you are already familiar with them, but I am certain that you will indulge me:
…The New York Times called Opera Lafayette “an adventurous period company” whose performance of Gluck’s Armide was “stylish and flowing” and sung by an “admirable cast”
…The Washington Post agreed, referring to the “grace and ease” of conductor Ryan Brown’s phrasing, and the “vividness” of the orchestra, while Opera News said it was “one of the most musically rewarding evenings yet of New York’s opera season”.
…and your CD recording of Le Déserteur, issued in 2010, was praised by Classica as “filling a glaring oversight by the recording industry”.
Such critical acclaim alone would be impressive — and naturally, I highly approve of your specialty, the French repertoire!
But what I find so noteworthy is the fact that Opera Lafayette is truly dedicated not simply to the performance of opera,
but also to its preservation — especially because the operas in its repertoire are those that are rarely heard elsewhere.
Your other efforts to convert rare operas to the realm of familiarity also deserve notice:
The catalog of Opera Lafayette recordings on Naxos are a permanent testament to its artistic excellence and dedication, allowing a worldwide audience to re-discover these masterpieces.
Opera Lafayette is also investing in the future of Opera through its Young Artists Program, its educational programs in the DC public schools, and its family and community performances.
Last but not least, Opera Lafayette was also invited to give two performances in early February 2011 of Monsigny’s Le Roi et le Fermier at the Opéra Royal de Versailles.
For all of these many accomplishments, allow me to wish Opera Lafayette the very best for future seasons, and to again offer you — and your many supporters — my warmest congratulations.