The Salzburg Festival Society Gala

Yvonna Russell
5 min readNov 24, 2022
Richard Tutino, Kristina Hammer, Carole French, John French

Operagoer’s rejoice the Salzburg Festival Society held une soirée intime on Monday, November 21, 2022 at a historic private club on the upper Eastside of Manhattan. The Salzburg Festival Society Gala heralded the return of the season for The Salzburg Festival recognized as a major destination by the world’s foremost musical directors and artists of international performing arts festival.

John French, Peter Gelb, Isabelle Harnoncourt-Feigen, Allyson Tang

The black tie affair of course began with cocktails and hors d’ouerves in the drawing room. The glamorous American friends and patrons of the Salzburg Festival Society were happy to be together again.

Isabelle Harnoncourt-Feigen, Joseph Bartning, Isabella Ebm, Werner Ebm

Salzburg Festival Society president Nabil Chartouni and his wife Samantha, as well as board members Isabelle Harnoncourt-Feigen, Marifé Hernandez, Joel Bell, Alexandra Kauka-Hamill, Isabella Ponta, and Sana H. Sabbagh, as well as Committee hosts Carole Bailey French,Noreen and Ken Buckfire, Barbara Tober and Ann Ziff orchestrated the evening of opera and a candlelight supper.

Anca Rusu, Max Jahn, Caroline Jahn

Carole Bailey French with her husband John French III, the evening’s co-chairs warmly greeted friends old and new Afsaneh Akhtari, CeCe Black, Richard and Marian Bott, Noreen and Kenneth Buckfire, Judith-Anne Corrente, Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, Werner Ebm, Judith and Warren Feder, Susan Gutfreund, Sterling Hamill, Rolf Heitmeyer, Bruce Horten, Martin and Evelyn Hutter, Caroline and Max Jahn, Venelin and Veronica Khristov, Peter and Elbrun Kimmelman, Margo Langenberg, So-Chung Shinn Lee, Jay Nordlinger, Louis and Julia Perlman, Leah Pisar, Michelle Rohe, Guillermo and Cecilia Schultz, Bonnie Simon, Elizabeth Stribling and Guy Robinson, Allyson Tang, Nicola Tegoni, Elizabeth Trotta, Barbara Tober, Luz Miriam Toro, Richard and Susan Tutino, Alden Warner and Peter Reed, and Ann Ziff.

Barbara Tober, Marc Rosen, CeCe Black

Before dinner John French III and the Board of Directors honored guest of honor general manager of The Metropolitan Opera. Peter Gelb and Salzburg Festival’s new President Dr. Kristina Hammer and Artistic Director Markus Hinterhäuser.

Elbrun Kimmelman, Margo Langenberg

“Since its founding more than 100 years ago, the great American tradition of supporting the arts through private philanthropy has enabled the Salzburg Festival to implement artistic projects and other major initiatives which would have otherwise been impossible,” said Dr. Kristina Hammer, the new president of the Salzburg Festival and keynote speaker at the New York Gala for their American supporters, the Salzburg Festival Society. Dr. Hammer continued, “I thank the board and members of the Salzburg Festival Society for their long-standing generosity and cooperation”

Christina Murphy, John Murphy

John French III presented both Kristina Hammer and Peter Gelb with an exquisite hand-blown engraved crystal decanter by artisan Simon Pearce, a favorite of Laurance Rockefeller.

Alexander Marschik, Elizabeth Stribling, Guy Robinson, Marifé Hernandez, Guillaume Kientz

“The Met and Salzburg [Festival] have a healthy symbiotic relationship,” opined Gelb, “in those months during fall, winter, and spring when the Salzburg Festival is not in session, The Met is there to help fill the gap. My personal history with the Salzburg Festival goes back to the time when it was still being ruled imperiously by Herbert von Karajan. I would like to congratulate its new President Kristina Hammer for her successful inaugural season.”

Gabrielle Khristov, Vincent Khristov

Afterwards 200 guests adjoined to the ballroom. Maitre Cuisinier de France Claude Godard prepared a superb dinner. The menu presented smoked salmon loin with caviar, blinis accompanied by radish, orange watercress dressing followed by veal tenderloin in morel sauce complimented by spinach soubise, artichoke barigoule and potato tot. Le dessert was warm chocolate molten cake with vanilla ice cream. The Duckhorn Portfolio contributed the excellent French wines.

Noreen Buckfire

The piece de resistance of the evening was a private recital by two Metropolitan Opera stars. The performing artists gave a wonderful performance. Soprano Rosa Fella, made her Salzburg Festival debut in 2019. Tenor Stephen Costello performed Romeo in Romeo et Juliette at the Salzburg Festival in 2010. They regaled guests with excerpts from Rigoletto by Verdi and L’Elisir d’Amore by Donizetti. Pianist Katelan Tran Terrell accompanied on the piano.

Stephen Costello, Dr. Kristina Hammer, Rosa Fella and Katelan Tran Terrell

The sublime evening’s generous sponsor was Bank of America Private Bank. Rolex was a Gala Benefactor and Global Sponsor of the Salzburg Festival.

Isabella Ponta, Edgar Battista

Artistic Director Markus Hinterhäuser of the Salzburg Festival since 2017, will announce the 2023 season with Dr. Hammer in Salzburg on December 9, 2022.

Beatrice Coles, Peter Kimmelman

The dreamy guests left the evening with a gift bag of decadent Furst Salzburger MozartKugel chocolates, Young Singers Project concert CD and dreams of the Salzburg Festival in summer.

Neil McElroy, Nina McElroy, Richard Tutino, Samantha Chartouni

All Photos Annie Watts Photography



Yvonna Russell

Yvonna Russell is a writer with over 10 years of experience in covering the arts, style, and good causes.