A conversation with Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the dynamic new music director of the Metropolitan Opera. And a visit to the Cooper Hewitt for a look at the exhibition “Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color.”

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Coming up on NYC-ARTS, Paula Zahn in conversation with Yannick Nezet-Seguin, the new music director of the Metropolitan Opera... and a visit to the Cooper Hewitt for a look at the exhibition 'Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color.'

FUNDING FOR NYC-ARTS IS MADE POSSIBLE BY ROSALIND P.

WALTER Thea Petschek Iervolino Foundation JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD Kate W.

Cassidy Foundation Ellen and James S.

Marcus The Lewis 'Sonny' Turner Fund for Dance ELISE JAFFE AND JEFFREY BROWN Estate of Cecile Fox Jean Dubinsky Appleton Estate THE MILTON AND SALLY AVERY ARTS FOUNDATION AND ELROY AND TERRY KRUMHOLZ FOUNDATION THIS PROGRAM IS SUPPORTED, IN PART, BY PUBLIC FUNDS FROM THE NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE CITY COUNCIL.

ADDITIONAL FUNDING PROVIDED BY MEMBERS OF THIRTEEN.

NYC-ARTS IS MADE POSSIBLE IN PART BY FIRST REPUBLIC BANK... And by swann auction galleries.

Zahn:Good evening and welcome to NYC-ARTS.

I'm Paula Zahn on the stunning grand tier staircase at the Metropolitan Opera.

Vibrant home for the most creative and talented singers, conductors, composers, musicians, as well as, stage directors, costume designers, choreographers, and dancers from all around the world.

There is some very exciting news here as the 2018-2019 Season is unveiled.

The charismatic young French-Canadian Yannick Nézet-Séguin, becomes the Met Opera's music director, the third in the opera house's 135 year history.

The forty-three year-old maestro is renowned throughout the orchestral world.

He has lead performances of the London Philharmonic, the Salzburg Festival, The Vienna Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic, La Scala, and the Royal Opera House.

There is tremendous passion and joyful energy surrounding Yannick's performances.

When he made his Met debut in 2009 it was for a new production of Bizet's, Carmen, and since then he has returned every season, which bring us of course to this season where he will conduct a new production of Verde's La Traviata, and revivals of Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande and Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelites.

I recently spoke with the celebrated conductor right here on the elegant grand-tier.

Zahn:Maestro it is an absolute pleasure to meet you.

Congratulations on your appointment here.

Yannick:Thank you, thank you, so muchZahn:So today you are a very busy man.

Leading a life at a dizzing pace.

You play a key role in orchestras in Montreal, Rotterdam, Philadelphia, and now this big post here at the Met.

I know that when you take to the stage you are keenly focused on the music.

But are there times when you raise your baton, where you have no idea what city you are in?

Yannick:Fortunately that didn't happen yet, and maybe you know as busy as I am.

The whole idea now is to try and focus on the few institutions.

So actually having the responsibility of the Met and Philadelphia means I'm doing less guest conducting, means I'm doing less traveling, means that I am actually more focused.

I am not denying that it will keep me busy, but in a more concentrated way in where I think I can develop more with routes.

Zahn:This really has been a dream of yours, hasn't it?

Yannick:CompletelyZahn: Conducting as a calling, and nothing illustrates that better then some amazing video we have of you in a classroom at the age of ten in Montreal conducting a make believe symphony in your class room.

Yannick:Music came into my life very early.

There was a piano at home.

My parents would play a little bit.

My sisters would play, I would play piano.

What got me really into music was singing.

And right away I saw choral conductors and I made the conscious decision at ten I want to be a conductor.

I was so passionate about it.

I never had doubts that this would happen.

There was this little confidence.

That that was my way of expressing myself.

Zahn:But you have to admit, when you look at the video you had it.

You had that touch that passion that feel.

Are you grown up version of this young man that fell in love with music.

Yannick:I think so I think it is almost disturbing in a way that I didn't change that much.

As a conductor what we have to do is let the music speak, through our whole body.

We talk a lot about the baton and the hands, this is what people see, but it is all in the eyes, its all in the shoulders.

Look at Lenny Bernstein.

I mean he was always dancing and living and talking about it, how the conductor every pore of the skin, every muscle and every bone should express music.

And that is an immediate reaction of expressivity, which is not unlike dance if you think of it but just in a different way because it has to inspire the musicians who really produce the sound to express it in all the same way.

Zahn:Let's fast-forward to last year when you conducted Electra here.

And we have the last two minutes, of that extraordinary performance.

And I think as the audience, as I have focuses in on your face.

They will see that you are channeling every single note in that score.

What are you feeling when you conduct?

Yannick:That is a beautiful question because, there has to be this blend with what I like to call the cold head and the warm heart.

So you can't completely lose yourself in the music.

Especially as a conductors because there is still a hundred people in the pit and sometimes you add another hundred on stage, who really depend on a certain degree of clarity.

But what is clarity?

Of course there is rhythmical clarity which is really the beat, which that's the cold head, you need to make sure that you don't get lost completely in the score.

But most importantly clarity is about the clarity of the intention, of the expression.

In order to do so, I have to feel that I am completely in the music in my heart, in my soul in my expressivity, and not holding back at any time.

Zahn:It's striking to me just how physically demanding your conducting must be, and I know countless hours go into your preparation of the music, but do you train to stay strong physically?

Yannick:I do take care of my body because we need as musicians, and especially as conductor because it is a little more violent.

We need to be strong physically in order to feel completely free with our emotions the thing I would hate is that I would be injured, and I then wouldn't be able to express the way I want because it hurts.

So I mean this is wood so knock on wood, it hasn't happened yet.

Zahn:But judging from the pictures I have seen of you training on Instagram.

You look like you giving your trainer a workout.

Good time.

Yannick:Well the interesting thing is that I was not a sports person, at all when I was young.

Growing up I was only about piano, and singing, and conducting, never did any team sports.

My father tried in Canada to have me to do ice hockey.

Didn't work.

But now this healthy aspect of physically has come in my life and I am very grateful.

Zahn:You're joining the Met at the time when arts institutions across the city are facing a whole range of challenges.

What do you see your role here, on making sure not only that the Met survives, but thrives.

Yannick:It's a reality in the city, but I think there's a simple factor that we unfortunately have forgotten in past decades.

Which is we are your orchestra.

We are your opera house.

We are there for you.

Zahn:That may be but you got to fill this houseYannick:Yeah, but that is the first problem, Is that some people feel not welcome here.

I am not saying, it is only the Met, but it is part of it.

It is such a beautiful grand building and everybody's proud of it, and in the city say oh that's great, but it's not for me, why oh because I don't know anything about music, because it is only for the rich, because it is only for the educated, because it is long, and because it will be boring.

And you know they have all these myths.

And my goal is to make everyone feel welcome.

Do we say this when we go to the movies?

Do we say I don't go there because I don't know about directing and editing and lighting design?

We don't say that.

So there is something that unfortunately we still project as classical music institutions that it should be only for the initiated.

I think it is also an illusion to try and say oh we are going to to have mostly eighteen year-olds come to opera and twenty-two year-old, there will be some really hard core and I want them to come at the Met because they will feel it also a place where there's experiment there is some edge to itZahn: But you have to concede that it is going to take a long time to cultivate that love of music in this generation you are talking about.

In the meantime, you have an aging patron base and you are also have a target audience that is living in a world controlled by technology, which opens you know with a fingertip hundreds of different experiences.

Yannick:My experience being in this world, and myself being very much about fast-paced technology.

I realize that it is taking us so much attention that even in the younger generation they all and we all need as human beings moments when we just stop, breathe, feel that we are with other people feel we are with other people, sharing the same sense of community.

I believe that actually Opera, a symphony by Mahler or Bruckner or an opera by Verdi is actually like a retreat.

It quiets you down, it is this two three, four hours where you are off your phone and it, giving you something to think about.

Making you feel like you are part of a bigger world.

Zahn: You have always looked at it that way as music as a unifying force.

Yannick:It's unifying and it actually does you good.

But I think it is also a mistake to try to say ohit is going to be short and fast pace, it isn't.

And precisely because of this even for a younger generation, it might be the right relief, because nobody can spend their lives completely with something 30 second 30 second 30 second the brain will explode.

And we're starting to see the effects of this right away so I am very optimistic.

Zahn:What are your musical goals here over the next five years?

Yannick:I think the Met has an increase role in being at the center of creation in new operas, and being also the reflect of our society.

I think the Met will become, and is already becoming, but will become more inclusive more welcoming.

Also, not only in the audience, but also who the audience sees on stage.

Whether it is more presence of women on the podium, or more presence of more people of color in our casts, and in compositions as well.

So you know the subjects that we chose, and I am passionate about it, new operas and commissioning more new works and also getting musically the Met not only in our beautiful house, but also outside of our house.

Zahn:So do you believe that community outreach is in fact your number one goal?

Yannick:It is.

Our art form is nice to listen to a recording, but that is not what it is about, what is it is about is feeling that we are together, it is a unifying force and as such community outreach is at the core of this in the same way as it is to feel that our house will be completely filled our house the seats will be filled with people of every generation.

Zahn:Yannick I wish you best of luck it's going to be so much fun to watch you reach for the stars, especially those here at the Met.

Yannick:Thank you so much, thank you so much PZ:Next on our program we explore color - a fundamental part of our lives that is far more complex than most of us ever consider.

How do we perceive color, define it, play with it, and exploit it?

The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum responds to these questions in the exhibition . Drawn almost entirely from the Cooper Hewitt collections and Smithsonian libraries, it offers an in-depth look at this elemental part of our lives.

Ranging from texts illustrating early color theory to contemporary design, art, and consumer products, the exhibition gives viewers the chance to explore our vivid world from multiple angles.

Jennifer Cohlman Bracchi:Color is something that I think we take for granted.

We all feel like we know what it is.

It's something we're all very familiar with, but then when you're asked to define it it often becomes very complicated very quickly.

Susan Brown:It's a really wonderful opportunity to look at the museum's collections through that lens and look at how designers deal with color, beyond the simple issue of picking a color.

Everything from very practical issues like visibility and road signage to more poetic examples.

We start off in a collaboration with the wonderful collection of Smithsonian libraries.

We have an extraordinary collection of rare books on color theory.

JCB:One of the big mysteries of color is that there is no unifying theory.

In many of the books that we have on display show how people are trying to figure out a unifying theory.

It makes color a never-ending fascinating topic, because you can approach it from so many angles.

A color wheel is a very functional tool that's used by many artists and designers.

It connects the visible spectrum, which is a measure of wavelengths on the electromagnetic spectrum, in a way that makes it much more flexible and usable.

Sir Isaac Newton in his publication Optics in 1704 was one of the first to design a scientifically-based wheel.

It's just a black-and-white print but that color wheel set the foundation for many color wheels to follow, from the 1700s all the way up to the 2000s.

Usually there are three main components of color that are included hue, brightness, and saturation.

So hue is often what we refer to as color, like blue or yellow or red.

And then saturation is the purity or the intensity of the color and brightness is the addition of either white or black to a color.

John De Casare is a designer in the museum's collection who is an architectural ornament designer and did the Empire State Building.

But he dedicated the last 20 years of his life to creating a structure of color forms that would represent musical scales and musical notes.

So he has a whole system for colored shapes that could then be annotated on a musical scale.

So you can essentially look at one of his pieces and if you knew his coding system you could play them.

SB:Looking at Cooper Hewitt's collections through the lens of color, we look at technical issues of how color is made in a variety of different media color as a layer of information in signage and infographics and branding.

Color collaboration or how designers and manufacturers and clients communicate about color effectively, and then, of course, we look at color optics and how designers exploit color optics to make extraordinarily fascinating objects.

Patricia Urquiola's Shimmer Table by Glas Italia is an example of structural color, where there are nanoparticles embedded in the glass that cause this differential refraction of light, that the light that passes through the glass will appear one color whereas light that is reflected off of it appears a different color.

It's a very magical kind of object.

We have the 1974 Massimo Vignelli New York City subway map, which color-coded the lines which seems self-evident at this point.

But he made some other color decisions with his map that were less popular, including the fact that the water is not blue and the parks are not green.

So those are very standard color conventions in mapping.

And the physical space was very compressed and so it didn't really resemble physically the geography of the city.

And so then we have a slightly later map which corrects those issues.

It's a much more traditional-looking map, but all of the lines are red!

But his work for the Transit Authority has certainly been very influential and if you look at any of the graphics put out by the MTA today they're obviously extremely influenced by his design.

JCB:Without right there would be no color, and color is a part of the electromagnetic spectrum, so it is a component of light and the two exist together.

SB:So we have in the collection this RGB wallpaper by Carnovski.

And it is printed in cyan, yellow, and magenta, but each color is printing a different scene and so when it's illuminated with different colors, red, green, and blue, a different scene is revealed.

You walk in and the lights are changing and when the lights are red you see the architectural scene and then the lights change to green and it completely changes.

JCB:Going into this exhibition I didn't know how complex the topic was and it's just been a fascinating journey to learn all I have.

And since color is often take it for granted I thought it'd be nice for people to see the variety of ways they can learn about color or think about color.

SB:I think people are sort of hungry to have more knowledge and more vocabulary to talk about color.

Rafael Pi Roman: Lincoln Center Theater presents THE HARD PROBLEM, a new play by Tom Stoppard, directed by Jack O'Brien.

Hilary (played by Adelaide Clemens) is a young psychology-researcher at an institute where psychology and biology meet.

And 'The hard problem' in the play can be summed up by the question: 'If there is nothing but matter, what is consciousness?'

For Hilary the possibility of genuine altruism depends on the answer to this all-important question... For complete details please visit LCT.ORG CH: NEXT WEEK ON NYC-ARTS... a trip to the Hudson River Museum to explore the site-specific exhibition 'Maya Lin: A River is a Drawing' and a visit to The MUSEUM OF MODERN ART for a look at the dazzling work of Congolese artist Bodys Isek Kingelez.

FUNDING FOR NYC-ARTS IS MADE POSSIBLE BY ROSALIND P.

WALTER Thea Petschek Iervolino Foundation JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD Kate W.

Cassidy Foundation Ellen and James S.

Marcus The Lewis 'Sonny' Turner Fund for Dance ELISE JAFFE AND JEFFREY BROWN Estate of Cecile Fox Jean Dubinsky Appleton Estate THE MILTON AND SALLY AVERY ARTS FOUNDATION AND ELROY AND TERRY KRUMHOLZ FOUNDATION THIS PROGRAM IS SUPPORTED, IN PART, BY PUBLIC FUNDS FROM THE NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE CITY COUNCIL.

ADDITIONAL FUNDING PROVIDED BY MEMBERS OF THIRTEEN.

NYC-ARTS IS MADE POSSIBLE IN PART BY FIRST REPUBLIC BANK... And by swann auction galleries.