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Symphony Opens on a High Note

October 11, 1993|ANN CONWAY

A gala supper with Academy Award winner Kathy Bates, a launch of a new music program for Alzheimer patients and a Tiffany & Co. fifth-anniversary bash--all were on the dance card for Pacific Symphony Orchestra buffs last week.

On Wednesday, "Misery" and "Fried Green Tomatoes" star Bates mingled with symphony supporters at the Westin South Coast Plaza hotel after her performance with orchestra conductor Carl St.Clair at the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

The concert launched PSO's 15th anniversary season and marked the West Coast premiere of "From the Diary of Anne Frank," a work commissioned by UNICEF for the late Audrey Hepburn and composed by London Symphony conductor Michael Tilson Thomas.

As St.Clair led the orchestra in a work that portrayed the fear and hope of the young Jewish girl as she hid from the Nazis, Bates read excerpts from her "Diary." (As did Hepburn at the world premiere in Philadelphia in 1990.)

"Dear Kitty (as Anne called her diary) we are balancing on the edge of an abyss," Bates read. " . . . Jews must wear a yellow star . . . from my favorite spot on the floor, I look up at the blue sky and the bare chestnut trees . . . "

Performing with the orchestra was an "extraordinary experience," Bates confided during a supper of stuffed capon and lemon tart. "I've never had an opportunity like this before. It was an amazing feeling to stand so close to the orchestra, to feel the music."

Her performance marked her second trip to Orange County. "I was here a couple of years ago to buy a wedding gown at a discount outlet," she said, laughing.

(Bates' husband, actor Tony Campisi, will be featured in her next movie, "A Home of Our Own," due in November. "He plays the manager of a bowling alley where I get a job," she said.)

Symphony philanthropist (to the tune of $2 million) William Gillespie found "Diary" an especially moving experience. "On a trip to Holland years ago, I saw the tiny place where Anne Frank hid," he said. "Tonight, I could imagine her there, hiding in that cramped space, longing to be with nature."

During the festivities, symphony board President Janice Johnson extended kudos to symphony supporters Mary Muth, Mary Moore-Young, William Dultz and Gillespie.

On Friday, members of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra League gathered at the Center Club in Costa Mesa for a luncheon-benefit for Music on the Move, a program by league members that will bring classical music to care facilities for Alzheimer patients.

League President Barbara Trainor recognized Vesta Curry, Janice Johnson and Pat Weiss for their efforts to launch M.O.M.

On Sunday, symphony lovers visited Tiffany & Co. at South Coast Plaza, where they dined on delectables from the Four Seasons Hotel and ogled the store's elegant new Fireworks Collection--a series of sparkling jewel-studded brooches--with price tags ranging between $19,000 and $30,000.

Audrey Hepburn would have loved it.


Unforgettable "Milestones": Model-turned-photographer Matuschka stunned a black-tie crowd at the Bowers Museum of Cultural Art on Saturday when she appeared at an art exhibit reception in a plaster bustier that is a mold of her breast-less chest.

(Matuschka, a breast-cancer survivor, made media waves in August when a photograph of her baring her mastectomy scar appeared on the cover of New York Times Magazine. That photograph and others by her are featured in the exhibit.)

Sweeping through the Santa Ana museum's tree-lined courtyard in the rigid bustier and a billowing chiffon skirt, the 39-year-old New Yorker called "Memories, Milestones and Miracles"--a multimedia exhibit by artists confronting breast cancer issues--"fabulous."

"I've never seen such a large collection of work on breast cancer in one shot," she said.

About 200 guests attended the formal launch of the show--at the Bowers through Oct. 29--which features works from artists around the country. Show curator Sharon G. Blair said she hopes to send the exhibit on a national tour.

"It is thrilling to see the exhibit here at the Bowers Museum," said Dava Gerard, the San Clemente breast surgeon who founded the Orange County Chapter of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation (the exhibit's sponsor). "Too often, shows about breast cancer are found only in hospitals and shopping malls. Breast cancer is a cultural phenomenon."

When guests weren't sipping libations or dipping into appetizers, they were cruising the show. One photograph shows breast cancer survivor Deena Metzger with a tattoo (a graceful branch with leaves) covering her mastectomy scar. Accompanying poetry contains the words, "I am no longer afraid of mirrors . . . no longer afraid to make love."

Santa Ana sculptor Marianne O'Barr's "Invulnerable Domain" assemblage was a favorite of Matuschka's. It depicts six sculpted women standing over a set of bowling pins. A sheet of jagged glass rests between.

"The idea here," as Matuschka interpreted it, "is to show how we women are just waiting to be knocked over with breast cancer."

O'Barr created the sculpture after working in an establishment where breast prostheses are made. "Every day I was being confronted with women whose lives were on the line," she said.

"My sculpture is about the fragility of life. The jagged edge on the glass represents danger. The rocks at the base of the bowling pins represent the uncertainty of life.

"Let's face it. Women have choices after they learn they have breast cancer. They can choose lumpectomies, mastectomies, chemicals.

"But they have absolutely no options before they are diagnosed with the disease."

The exhibit is open to the public.

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