When the Metropolitian Opera was in the planning stage, Marc Chagall was commissioned to design the sets and costumes for a production of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute). Historians call Chagall the “last survivor of the first generation of European modernists.” The architectural team got the idea that the Met Opera’s arched glass façade would be a perfect display case for the lobby walls facing the Lincoln Center plaza and they asked Chagall if could create two original paintings to fit the space. And that’s how his famous murals, The Triumph of Music and The Sources of Music came to be.
There was a glitch. It was 1966 and the Metropolitan Opera House was almost finished; it was time to hang Chagall’s work. Workers who were hanging the paintings got them mixed up and switched their poisitons. In Chagall’s biography, it is written that he said he “yelled as I never have before. My mother, when she gave birth to her children, didn’t yell as much. I could doubtless be heard all over Lincoln Square.” But guess what? After he calmed down, he decided he liked the unintentional placement of them better than his original plan.
Maybe that is because he was as product of misplacement himself. Chagall had been born a Russian-Jew in Moscow, and he moved to France to be a student of the famous post-impressionist school in Paris. With the help of the New York Museum of Modern Art (*MoMA) he was able to escape France after it was occupied by Nazis and flee to New York as a refugee of World War II. He came with his wife by way of a rescue operation that smuggled endangered artists and intellectuals out of Europe by way of forged visas.
Chagal loved Mozart, and once said, “For me, there is nothing on Earth that approaches those two perfections – The Magic Flute and the Bible.” It is said that his paintings in the Met represent the thrill and the terror of the twentieth century and, of course, the destruction of his Jewish heritage. The paintings are chaotic, as was his life.
Just to get a general idea, the yellow panal that is The Sources of Music shows King David in a double profile as he plays a harp surrounded by musicians, animals an angels.
The red panel that is called The Triumph of Music represents a victorious angel blowing a trumpet in the middle of a whirlwind that is sweeping up musicians, an orchestra, dancers and fantasy animals.
The paintings were used for collateral against a loan (of at least $35 million) when the Met Opera needed cash in 2009, when times were hard at evey level in the U.S.A.
If you visit the United Nations building, be sure to notice a stained-glass window called Peace that Chagall created to honor Dag Hammarskjöld, the UN’s secretry general who was killed in an airplane crash in Africa in 1961.
Marc Chagall certainly left his mark on the world. You can find his works all over the world; in public buildings in Paris, Jerusalem and Zurich, just to mention a few, and in just about every museum in the developed world. He is known for his gorgeous colors, his sense of fantasy and his absence of boundaries regarding social status, religious creeds and/or places of origin.. When you look at one of his paintings, look beyond the flowers, green and blue animals, red people, embracing lovers, winged creatures and notice the Christian as well as the Jewish symbols.
Marc Chagall only stayed in the United States for 5 years, and returned to Europe after WWII. At the age of 90, he became the first living artist to be exhibited at the Louvre. You can visit a Chagall museum in Nice, France. He died in France when he was 97 years old.
“When Matisse dies, Chagall will be the only painter who understands what color really is.” — Pablo Picasso
Betsy and I worked together as teachers in an English School many years ago. The need of keeping my English fluent and updated inspired me to have classes with her, so, 3 other teachers and I formed a group for these classes. Betsy’s classes were always fun, full of new, challenging and interesting vocabulary, focusing on what was happening in the world and many times, with suggestions for our own classes. I still keep the material she prepared for us at that time and, surprisingly they are still fitted for my students. The environment where she teaches is so cozy that we believed we were abroad; this also contributed to the charm of the classes. Apart from that, Betsy and I have developed a strong friendship that has been kept alive up to now. I still turn to her whenever I need something and she never lets me down.
A melhor novidade para 2017 será, sem duvida, o BLOG da Betsy. Excelente professora da Língua Inglesa, Betsy tem com seus alunos uma relação de amizade espontânea, acolhendo sugestões de temas atuais, abrindo caminho para que suas aulas sejam proficientemente dinâmicas e divertidas. Para mim, sua aluna e amiga, para todos os seus alunos, tenho certeza, serão de grande valia as consultas que faremos em busca de novos esclarecimentos.
Betsy is a wonderful English teacher! Not only is she a native English speaker, but she is also “antenada” in what’s going on around the globe, enabling all kinds of subjects to be brought to light through very engaging and in-depth discussions, and providing a rich vocabulary, with words and expressions you don’t normally find in your usual English textbooks (and that are only ever mentioned on advanced English classes after years and years of going to the same English school). She is very open-minded and has a great sense of humor, making “convos” interesting and funny. And…Betsy loves cats – she is the best! Love, Carla & Amanda.
I have known Betsy for a long time, and in all these years I have learned so much from her… not just English, but from her vast experience as a teacher and as a person. Being an excellent teacher is not just about knowing your subject perfectly (which is of course the case since English is her first language) but also about loving to learn and to relate to people from all kinds of backgrounds and ages. I had as much fun in her classes as a nerdy Star Wars / Elvis teen fan as I do now as busy working grown up!