BAM gala celebrates a classic

BAM gala celebrates a classic
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

What would you do for your 150th birthday?

Opera fans helped BAM celebrate its milestone anniversary on Sunday by attending the gala opening of Jean-Baptiste Lully’s “Atys,” the 18th-century opera directed by Jean-Marie Villegier and conducted by Maestro William Christie.

Theater buffs shelled out big bucks — $1,200 apiece — to slurp champagne and stay glued to the four-hour interpretation of the French tragédie lyrique, kicking off BAM’s 16-month celebration on the same boards where Martha Graham and Rudolph Nureyev once put a deft foot forward, and where Italian tenor Enrico Caruso thundered and roared in “Faust.”

The performance was followed by a dinner, hosted by BAM Chairman Alan Fishman, President Karen Brooks Hopkins and Executive Producer Joseph Melillo, and attended by Christie and the principal performers from the company.

Melillo loved the lofty performance.

“People familiar with French opera are aware that it runs long,” he said. “There was not one cellphone interruption.”