“My sincere apologies,” Elton John said of the first course.
This year’s Metropolitan Opera opening gala seemed more like a SAG conference, with stars such as Jane Fonda, David Schwimmer and Mary-Louise Parker in attendance. The unexpected operaphiles happily sat through a three-and-a-half-hour performance of the updated Lucia di Lammermoor, as did gala chairman Mercedes Bass, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Cindy Sherman and cohosts Anthony Minghella and Vera Farmiga. Bianca Jagger was pleased with the modernization that has begun under new general manager Peter Gelb. “I didn’t come to the Met for many years because I was not happy with the way it was being run,” she said. “I will come more now.”
Logistics went a bit awry the next night at the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s Enduring Vision gala at the Waldorf-Astoria, as President George W. Bush had just checked in to the hotel after speaking at the United Nations.
“We went down his red carpet,” said Sharon Osbourne. “There was all this military with shiny badges. I thought, Oh, this is posh.”
Fortunately she and husband Ozzy finally made it to the correct area of the hotel, where they were honored for their contributions to the EJAF in front of a crowd including Uma Thurman and beau Arki Busson. Elton John even belted out his hit “Levon” in tribute to Thurman’s son of the same name.
Not everything was smooth sailing from there, however. “I’d like to announce that the first course is on its way to the Food and Drug Administration to figure out what it was,” John said to the crowd in reference to the gelatinous tomato and mozzarella starter. “My sincere apologies. That qualifies as the worst thing I’ve ever eaten at one of these events.”