One seldom visits Lincoln Center without experiencing something wonderful, but this week, New Yorkers were treated to an especially memorable (and exquisitely New York) Valentine’s Day at David Geffen Hall. There, Bradley Cooper, Carey Mulligan, and Yannick Nézet-Séguin—beloved music director of the neighboring Metropolitan Opera—convened in the Wu Tsai Theater for a stimulating concert and conversation based on Maestro, Cooper’s magisterial feature film about the lives, work, and marriage of Leonard and Felicia Montealegre Bernstein. (It’s up for seven Academy Awards at next month’s ceremony, including best picture; best actor for Cooper, who plays Lenny; and best actress for Mulligan, who co-stars as Felicia.)

Of course, the setting could not have been more apt: It was Bernstein himself who helped to inaugurate the former Philharmonic Hall (with Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 and the world premiere of his friend Aaron Copeland’s Connotations) on September 23, 1962, when Lincoln Center first opened; and for decades he lived mere minutes away—in the Dakota, on 72nd Street and Central Park West—while serving as music director of the New York Philharmonic. (He also died at the Dakota in 1990, at 72, 12 years after Felicia’s death from cancer in East Hampton.) Wednesday’s program had members of the current Philharmonic, as well as special guests including Nick Blaemire, Mallory Portnoy, Kate Eastman, Malakai Bayoh, Ann De Renais, Samuel Oladeinde, Philip John Sheffield, and Zachary Boothe (all of whom feature in the film) perform selections from Maestro’s hour-long soundtrack live—intercut with snatches of isolated dialogue and a few scenes from the film—after which Cooper, Mulligan, and Nézet-Séguin sat down for a discussion. (Nézet-Séguin served as Maestro’s all-important “conducting consultant.”)

Yannick NzetSguin

Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for Netflix


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