In The City: Salzburg Festival Society Gala in New York City

“Since its founding more than 100 years ago, the great American tradition of supporting the arts through private philanthropy has enabled the Salzburg Festival to implement artistic projects and other major initiatives which would have otherwise been impossible,” said Dr. Kristina Hammer, the new president of the Salzburg Festival and keynote speaker at the New York Gala for their American supporters, the Salzburg Festival Society. Dr. Hammer continued, “I thank the board and members of the Salzburg Festival Society for their long-standing generosity and cooperation”

Over 200 guests packed the ballroom of a private club on New York’s upper east side in support of the most important international performing arts festival.

Carole Bailey French with her husband John French III, the evening’s co-chairs, welcomed friends old and new. Their guest of honor was Peter Gelb, the general manager of The Metropolitan Opera.

“The Met and Salzburg [Festival] have a healthy symbiotic relationship,” opined Gelb, “in those months during fall, winter, and spring when the Salzburg Festival is not in session, The Met is there to help fill the gap. My personal history with the Salzburg Festival goes back to the time when it was still being ruled imperiously by Herbert von Karajan. I would like to congratulate its new President Kristina Hammer for her successful inaugural season.”

John French III presented both Kristina Hammer and Peter Gelb with a hand-blown engraved decanter by artisan Simon Pearce, a favorite artisan of Lawrence Rockefeller.

The centerpiece of the evening was a private recital by two Metropolitan Opera stars, soprano Rosa Feola, who made her Salzburg Festival debut in 2019, and tenor Stephen Costello. They regaled guests with excerpts from Rigoletto by Verdi and L’Elisir d’Amore by Donizetti. Pianist Katelan Tran Terrell accompanied on the piano.

Guests included Salzburg Festival Society president Nabil Chartouni and his wife Samantha, as well as board members Isabelle Harnoncourt-Feigen, Marifé Hernandez with Joel Bell, Alexandra Kauka-Hamill, Isabella Ponta, and Sana H. Sabbagh, as well as Afsaneh Akhtari, CeCe Black, Richard and Marian Bott, Noreen and Kenneth Buckfire, Judith-Anne Corrente, Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, Werner Ebm, Judith and Warren Feder, Susan Gutfreund, Sterling Hamill, Rolf Heitmeyer, Bruce Horten, Martin and Evelyn Hutter, Caroline and Max Jahn, Venelin and Veronica Khristov, Peter and Elbrun Kimmelman, Margo Langenberg, So-Chung Shinn Lee, Jay Nordlinger, Louis and Julia Perlman, Leah Pisar, Michelle Rohe, Guillermo and Cecilia Schultz, Bonnie Simon, Elizabeth Stribling and Guy Robinson, Allyson Tang, Nicola Tegoni, Elizabeth Trotta, Barbara Tober, Luz Miriam Toro, Richard and Susan Tutino, Alden Warner and Peter Reed, and Ann Ziff.

The evening’s generous sponsor was Bank of America Private Bank. Rolex was a Gala Benefactor and Global Sponsor of the Salzburg Festival. The Duckhorn Portfolio supplied superb wines.



Tony Bowles is one of the youngest sought journalists in the media world. He focuses on lifestyle, travel, entertainment, food, and more! Based in New York City

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Tony Bowles, Contributing Columnist

Tony Bowles is one of the youngest sought journalists in the media world. He focuses on lifestyle, travel, entertainment, food, and more! Based in New York City