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THE MET OPERA OPENING NIGHT GALA 2017

James Andrew at the MET Opera opening gala

James Andrew at the MET Opera opening gala


One of our favorite events of the Fall season is the opening night gala at the Metropolitan Opera. It’s a festive and elegant affair with a good deal of glamor. People for the most part do make an effort to dress for the occasion – men are generally dressed in a version of black tie that can extend to more than just a classic tuxedo. Ladies tend to go all out, and this year’s opening gala was no exception with many glorious gowns and dresses gracing the event.

Scott McBee

Scott McBee

This being said, I still don’t understand why the MET Opera allows people access wearing shorts, t-shirts, sneakers, etc. It’s easy enough to procure a tie or a button down shirt at the very least. Honestly I feel it is so sloppy and disrespectful to all of the people who put their whole lives into these opera performances, not to mention all of those in attendance who do make an effort to make themselves presentable. #bringbackthedresscode

Regardless, it was still a beautiful evening. The opera season commenced with Bellini’s Norma and a powerhouse soprano, Sondra Radvanovsky, playing the druid priestess whose battle with love and betrayal ends with the ultimate sacrifice on a funeral pyre (a truly stunning culmination to the performance). Sets were a bit dull and dreary, but the vocals were so on point, they more than made up for it.

Scott McBee and I ended our evening with a magnificent dinner at Charles Masson’s masterpiece, Majorelle, with its sublime cuisine and ravishing Michael Smith designed interiors. It was an absolute dream.

Details from our lovely opera evening

Details from our lovely opera evening

For the opening night gala I wore a Tom Ford iridescent aqua/turquoise silk dinner jacket, ruffled white shirt, wool tuxedo pants, and black patent leather opera pumps. I wore a Le Noeud Papillion “Majestic” black bow tie and cummerbund, silk hose from Paul Stuart, Cartier Tank Divan, a rock crystal and black onyx and diamond evening set by Seaman Schepps, and my fragrance for such an elegant affair was Creed Millesime Imperial. Our very own Scott McBee wore Tom Ford head to toe.

FAREWELL PORTUGAL SINTRA AND THE TIVOLI PALACIO DE SETEAIS

james Andrew at the Tivoli Palacio de Seteais

james Andrew at the Tivoli Palacio de Seteais

Our final installment from our journey Portugaise finds me still reeling from the beauty of it all. And as always, we are thrilled to hear such wonderful feedback! I sense we will be returning to Portugal in the very near future.

We simply did not want to leave Tivoli Palacio de Seteais (our home in Sintra) yet with so much left to see during our remaining day, McBee and I managed to tear ourselves away after a hearty breakfast.

There are two more not-to-be-missed palaces in Sintra: The Palacio Nacional de Sintra located and the Palacio da Pena.

The former is located in the heart of the old town, and was a residence of Portuguese royalty until 1910. Its marvelous mix of Moorish architectural styles, amazing azulejos, painted ceilings, and fabulous furnishings make the Palacio Nacional de Sintra a true delight to behold.

Palacio Nacional de Sintra

Palacio Nacional de Sintra

Swan Hall at the Palacio Nacional de Sintra

Swan Hall at the Palacio Nacional de Sintra

Swan Hall at the Palacio Nacional de Sintra

Swan Hall at the Palacio Nacional de Sintra

The latter, Palacio da Pena, was used as the royal summer residence up until 1910. Perched on the highest peaks of Sintra and realized in a dizzying conflation of architectural styles, it is one of the finest examples of Portuguese Romanticism, and as would be expected, it is replete with enchanted park grounds. A fog rolled in towards the end of our visit there, creating the most pictorially perfect ending to our visit. Just a five minute walk from there, we had a lovely Portuguese luncheon at Tacho Real, and later to celebrate our last night in Sintra, we dined at the divinely elegant Tivoli Palacio de Seteais.

Palacio da Pena, Sintra

Palacio da Pena, Sintra

Palacio da Pena, Sintra

Palacio da Pena, Sintra

Gardens at Palacio da Pena, Sintra

Gardens at Palacio da Pena, Sintra

Palacio da Pena, Sintra

Palacio da Pena, Sintra

Palacio da Pena, Sintra

Palacio da Pena, Sintra

Palacio da Pena, Sintra

Palacio da Pena, Sintra

Taking time to bask in the beauty of our palatial room at the Tivoli Palacio de Seteais (top), I’m sporting a Tom Ford wool/cashmere suit in an ivory, charcoal and claret check, black and white striped cotton shirt and black and saddle leather loafers, Seaman Schepps black pearl cuff links, vintage Rolex, Charvet Paris black silk pocket square, red wool socks from Barney’s NY, and my fragrance is Creed Windsor. I’ve also applied a touch of Tom Ford Bronzing Gel to provide a healthy glow.

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SINTRA AND THE HOTEL TIVOLI PALACIO DE SETEAIS

James Andrew at Tivoli Palacio de Setais

James Andrew at Tivoli Palacio de Setais

After a fabulous breakfast at the Pestana Palacio de Freixo in Porto, we boarded an express train back to Lisbon. There we were collected at the train station and brought to Sintra for the last leg our sublime journey.

With its lush micro-climate, enchanting wildlife, and fairyland architecture, the town of Sintra is an absolute dream, and thankfully we had a good three days to explore! Of the Sintra hotels, Tivoli Palacio de Seteais is a stand out. This neo-classical masterpiece dates to the late 1700’s and was purchased by the Dutch consol, Daniel Gildemeester. In 1800 it was sold to the 5th Marquis of Marialva who added the second matching pavilion and the triumphal arch in honor of the Prince Regent and future King Joao VI. It became a hotel in the early part of the 20th Century. With its superb location and spectacular views, the Palacio de Seteais was certainly a splendid place to spend our remaining days in Portugal, and the perfect base of operation from which to explore the rest of Sintra.

Quite nearby — actually just a quick walk from the hotel — is the must-see, Quinta de Regaleira. Built in the early 1900’s, it was the esoteric fantasy retreat of eccentric millionaire, Antonio Augusto Carvalho Monteiro. The Italian set-designer and architect Luigi Manini was enlisted to create the magical gardens and palace and it is imbued throughout with historical, mystical, and even occult symbolism. To say that it is a visual feast is an understatement.

Gardens at Quinta da Regaleira

Gardens at Quinta da Regaleira

Quinta da Regaleira

Quinta da Regaleira

Redering - Quinta da Regaleira

Rendering – Quinta da Regaleira

Interior, Quinta da Regaleira

Interior, Quinta da Regaleira

Quinta da Regaleira

Quinta da Regaleira

James Andrew at Quinta da Regaleira

James Andrew at Quinta da Regaleira

For a day of touring, I’m sporting a Tom Ford charcoal wool silk tweed jacket, grey cotton cashmere corduroy pant, grey and charcoal checked cotton shirt, a Ralph Lauren black and ivory dot print silk scarf and red alligator belt with sterling buckle, Seaman Schepps black pearl cuff links, Tom Ford era Gucci black suede loafers, Turnbull and Asser grey and black dot print silk pocket square, vintage Rolex, my fragrance is Tom Ford London, and I’m using a bit of Tom Ford Bronzing Gel for a healthy glow.

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