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Black Tie International:
Grand Celebration at Polish Consulate
 

 

Grand Celebration at Polish Consulate
Marks 90th Anniversary

Stars of the Opera & Concert Stage
 Perform in Holiday Fete

Photos by:  John Wegorzewski

 

Pianist Byron Janis, Maria Cooper Janis, Consul General Kraysztof Kasprzyk
Pianist Byron Janis, Maria Cooper Janis,
Consul General Kraysztof Kasprzyk
 

Nina Kaminska and the Metropolitan Opera star Mariusz Kwiecien

Nina Kaminska and the Metropolitan Opera star Mariusz Kwiecien

 
 

 

Not even a snowstorm of epic proportions would stop some 400 guests from making their way to the magnificent DeLamarr Mansion in Murray Hill home to the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland for a multi tiered celebration hosted by the soon to be departing Krzysztof W. Kasprzyk, Consul General of the Republic of Poland.

 

It was a testament to the respect, admiration and love the Polish and Polish American community has for Kasprzyk, that so many braved the elements to toast this singular man who has done much to foster relations not only with the American community but the Jewish community worldwide.

 

The traditional Polish holiday event celebrated not only the 90th anniversary of the Polish Consulate in New York but the 20th anniversary of the independence of Poland; the 10th anniversary of free voting in the country and the completion of restoration on the Consulate’s home the historic landmark mansion one of the finest examples of Beaux-Arts architecture in the country. Under Kasprzyk’s watchful eye the stately manse has been returned to it early 1900s glory.

Following cocktails in the main salon, guests were treated to a lovely song fest of traditional Polish, English and Latin Christmas carols in the splendor of the music room. Top stars from the world’s greatest opera stages including the Metropolitan Opera and New York City Operas stepped up to the grand piano to sing accompanied by the brilliant pianist Roman Markowicz. The petite blond Polish opera star soprano Małgorzata Kellis perfomed a beautiful ‘”Gesu Bambino” and two Polish hymns Gdy Śliczna Panna and Lulajże Jezuniu Markowicz. American singer mezzo soprano Judith Kellock sang the hauntingly beautiful What Child is This and in Latin “Ave Maria” ; Barbara Revi contributed another Polish carol followed by Met Opera baritone the truly magnificent singer Mariusz Kwiecień.

Early on in his opening remarks, Kasprzyk promised a few surprises and did he deliver when one of the world’s greatest living pianists Byron Janis was introduced and took his seat at the piano to rhapsodize the audience with his Chopin stylings.  Hamptons’ music lovers have been familiar with Janis for years. He and his wife painter Maria Cooper Janis longtime Hamptons residents were among the guiding forces behind the founding of the Music Festival of the Hamptons.

The big treat of the evening was Polish soprano Malgorzata Kellis performing Janis’ original composition “The Warmth of Christmas” with the Maestro himself accompanying her! Thunderous applause followed the very last note of the Christmas classic.

Still more surprises came when the Consul General presented to Maria Cooper Janis  a poster featuring her late father, the legendary actor Gary Cooper, in his famous scene from “High Noon”. Only instead of a gun in his hand he held a ballot and the poster encouraged all Poles to vote. The Consul General gave the Janis’ the original 1999 election poster and they in return gave him the First Day Edition of the U.S. Postal stamp bearing Gary Cooper’s portrait which was just issued by the Post Office last month. A lovely and meaningful exchange on both sides!

 

There were many quiet tears that evening. It was very apparent that Krzysztof Kasprzyk will be much missed by the New York cultural community as he takes off for another diplomatic posting. ‘Til we meet again Krzys, Adieu

 


 

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