Two weeks after I got home from enjoying the sunny and beautiful west coast, I set out to visit the ever so exciting east coast! I absolutely love New York, and will take any opportunity that comes my way to visit this one of a kind city. This time the opportunity presented itself as a broadway and opera tour with Michael Ballam.
Our very first stop on the tour was sitting in on Michael Ballam's opera auditions, he runs the opera festival in Logan every summer, and gets talent from all over the nation. It was so interesting to sit in on a few of the auditions, and have Michael explain what he was looking for, and what he thought of each of the performers. We had the rest of the afternoon free, so my dad and I took a stroll through central park.
This is an art installation that was in our hotel. I loved it.
Our first night in the city was spent at the spectacular Lincoln Center to see the opera, The Marriage of Figaro! It was such a wonderful experience to be able to not only see inside this exquisite building, but to see a Metropolitan Opera performance!
This was the amazing set. Richard Eyer made this production unique by changing the setting from 1786, the year Mozart wrote this opera, to the 1930s. The main difference this setting change made was in the costumes, while I didn't think it took too much away from the opera, it would have been fun to see the costume design if it was set in the time of Mozart with big bustled dresses and white powered wigs.
Thank goodness for the translators on each seat, or else it would have been a long 3 and a half hours! I did take Italian in college, but I don't speak it well enough to translate 3.5 hours of opera.
The next day started with a private concert from Michael Ballam himself! He did a fascinating history of musical theater. Then we all walked over to the Broadway Theatere to see a matinee showing of Cinderella, staring Keke Palmer.
This production was fun and magical, lighthearted and entertaining. It wasn't the Disney version of the story, so the music was all different, I have to admit I think I like the music from the Disney film better, is that a crime..?
That night we got dinner at Nizza, an AMAZING Italian Pizza place right next to Times Square. We choose this restaurant because it is gluten free friendly. They brought me out my own basket of gluten free bread that was so delicious. They have an extensive GF menu, which features their famous soccas, chickpea pancakes cooked in a brick oven, basically a GF pizza crust. I ordered a margarita socca and it was so amazing, I think I liked it better then traditional Italian pizza crusts.
We made a reservation online in the afternoon so we were seated the minute we got to the restaurant, we got a table that was inside but right next to the open patio, so we got the best of both worlds. I loved our dinner here and would love to dine at Nizza again!
Then we walked over to the BEAUTIFUL Amsterdam theater to see Aladdin! This broadway hit just opened a few weeks ago and I could not wait to see it! This production is the Disney version so it had all the songs we love plus a few extras. Words seriously can not describe this performance, it is outstanding in every way. The cast, the costumes, the set design, the music, everything about this production is magnificent. Every single costume is covered in Swarovski crystal, so the audience is dazzled by the glitz and glimmer the entire time. The genie in this production has several award nominations for his performance, and they are well deserved. I could go on and on about this play, if you ever get the chance to go see it, I would highly recommend it.
(I never brought my SLR with me anywhere with me on this trip, so all the photos in this post are photos from my phone...)
When we got out of the theater, we found ourselves in the middle of one of those famous east coast torrential downpours. We set out to walk back to our hotel and within seconds we were soaking wet from head to toe. Once we gave up trying to stay dry in anyway, it was rather hilarious.
The next day started at the World Trade Center Museum. The last time I was here, the memorial fountains had been built, but the museum still wasn't open. To see pictures from that visit click HERE.
Lunch today was another positive adventure in GF eating in the big city! I got this pizza and oh. my. goodness. it was unbelievably delicious, I'm really sad I am not able to get this back home. Then my mom got me a GF Sprinkles cupcake! It was my first ever Sprinkles experience, and while it was pretty good I still think a couple local places in Utah are better..
After lunch we bid farewell to the big city and drove out to the gorgeous Hudson River Valley. On our long drive, Michael had a Q and A session with us and answered all our questions about his life, his career and the opera world, it so interesting to hear about his story. We ended our journey at the Culinary Institute of America for a tour and dinner. Our tour guide was one of the culinary students and it was fascinating to hear what it's like to attend this institute and to see the beautiful campus.
The next day we went to the Mohonk Mountain House to stroll the grounds and have dinner in their victorian dining room. I had visited this wonderful estate just last year, so I took most of the pictures then, to see them click HERE.
And that was the end of our fun little get away to NYC!