By Edward Kliszus
An installment of The Art Bath Artist Salon Series miraculously appeared in my neighborhood in Manhattan at the Blue Building on East 46th Street between Second and Third Avenues. Indeed, the welcoming area quickly filled as smiling onlookers and participants arrived. Moreover, bespoke guests enveloped in sophisticated, party-vibed music funneled to ubiquitous, well-supplied liquid refreshment stations before roaming through the galleries. This was clearly a gathering of luminaries, literati, and sagacious, curious local denizens yearning for celebratory, literary, musical, and artistic experiences. Hence, this event delivered.
The Art Bath Artist Salon Series event formed a multimedia extravaganza. In fact, for context, consider that the medium of Opera serves as the ultimate 19th-century multimedia with its blend of music, visual art, drama, and dance. Sitting in an audience, patrons see and hear stage productions with an orchestra, staging, drama, scenery, costumes, and a coterie of their favorite prima donnas.
Tonight’s Salon program was 21st century-multimedia at its finest, but with the intimacy of the Parisian salons made famous by the likes of Gertrude Stein, Gustave Courbet, and Franz Liszt. That is, in this inviting artistic environment with its stimulating badinage, patrons experienced and marveled at film, sculpture, painting, dance, photography, and music created by world-class artists and performers.
In the first exhibition room, guests viewed the extraordinarily creative sculpture works of Brooklyn artist Marela Zacarías. Then, it wasn’t long before the talented Jahleel Hills et al. performed a feature of percussion pyrotechnics, which was met with great enthusiasm. Next, three splendid movies by Native American painter, filmmaker, and performance artist Kent Monkman were viewed before a brief pause and transition to an adjacent gallery.
The Sunken Garden featured the artwork of Nathan Dilworth with Anteroom artwork by James Whiteside. Accompanied by flamenco guitarist Juan Pedro Jimenez and percussionist Jeremy Smith, Flamenco dancer Nelida Tirado then ascended the stage. The audience was indeed mesmerized by the dance and music’s nearly indescribable emotional intensity and passion. Tirado consequently conveyed many emotions, her duende, from elation to passion, sorrow, and anguish. Viewers were undoubtedly rendered breathless by complex rhythms, fast footwork, dramatic poses, intense posturing, bold singing, formidable guitar, handclaps, and percussive sounds of the cajón.
Delicately Adorned with Flowers
The event continued in The Clearlight Room, beginning with a vocal performance by Tenor Marco Jordao of the New York Metropolitan Opera. At this time, he performed Robert Schumann’s Dichterliebe, Op. 48, accompanied by pianist Bryan Wagorn. All in all, this was not staged as a formal recital with a tuxedo-adorned singer stiffly couched in the piano’s curved side. Rather, the space was delicately adorned with flowers, gentle blue light, and rolling fog.
Pathos through Movement
Jordao strolled gently about the stage, singing as he exquisitely expressed loss, nostalgia, and the pain of unrequited love expressed through Heinrich Heine’s verse and the timelessness of Schumann’s musical musings. As Jordao sang, ballet dancer Jonathan Fahoury likewise performed his interpretation of the music’s pathos through movement. In the final Ich grolle nicht, Jordao thus brought down the house in a poetic, poignant denouement. Here is Heine’s verse:
I bear no grudge, though my heart is breaking,
O love forever lost! I bear no grudge.
However you gleam in diamond splendor,
No ray falls in the night of your heart.
I’ve known that long. For I saw you in my dreams,
And saw the night within your heart,
And saw the serpent gnawing at your heart;
I saw, my love, how pitiful you are.
I bear no grudge.
Grammy Award-winning jazz pianist Arturo O’Farrill came to the stage. Accompanied by his son, percussionist Zachary O’Farrill, and tubaist Marcus Rojas, we were treated to energy and distinctive sounds that were urbane and accessible. The trio performed traditional Latin jazz rhythms and contemporary jazz styles with improvisations characterized by precision and complexity. Rojas’s astounding range of sounds was opulent, sophisticated, and vibrant. The effervescent, inspiring piano work of the incomparable O’Farrill reminded us of why he is internationally admired. Dancers Jessica Ssgambelluri and Frances performed a dazzling interpretive dance to O’Farrill’s Kinetoscope for Tuba, Piano, and Percussion. It was a blazing, brilliant performance!
If all this wasn’t enough, guests were invited to an After Party. Runtime: 3 hours or so.
The next performance is on May 13. See below for ticket information.
ART BATH Artist Salon Series
Elizabeth Yilmaz and Mara Driscoll, Producers
César Abreu, Associate Producer
Jean Driscoll and Peter Calthorpe, Evening Sponsors
Jahleel Hills, Jeremy Hills, and Michael Mendoza, Percussionists
Jonathan Fahoury, Ballet Dancer
Kent Monkman, Cree painter, Filmmaker, and Performance Artist
Nelida Tirado , Flamenco Dancer
Pedro Jiménez, Flamenco Guitar, and Jeremy Smith, Percussion
Jessica Sgambelluri & Frances Lorraine Samson, Modern Dancers
Bryan Wagorn , Pianist
Marco Jordão, Tenor
Arturo O’Farrill, Latin-Jazz Pianist, Arranger, and Director Of The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra (Winner Of The 2023 Grammy Award For Best Latin Jazz Album)
Exhibiting Visual Artists
Lighting: Joe Petrowski
Sound and Lighting Supplier and Advisor: Joel Fitzpatrick
Sound Design: Matt Marenelli
Scenic Consultant: Anna Driftmier
Music Consultant: Bill Dobrow
Stage Manager: Dwayne Brown
DJ: Mike DeMaio
The Blue Building
222 East 46th Street
New York, NY 10017
More information can be found at https://www.artbathnyc.com
Tickets are available at https://artbathnyc.ticketspice.com/art-bath-nyc-spring-2023