First, an interview with Michael Mayer, director of “Rigoletto” at The Met Opera. Then, we’ll visit with Lady Fiona Carnarvon of Highclere Castle, the estate that set the stage for “Downton Abbey.”

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FUNDING FOR NYC-ARTS IS MADE POSSIBLE BY ROSALIND P. WALTER -- ELISE JAFFE AND JEFFREY BROWN -- JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD -- MILTON & 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.

FLEXIBILITY, COORDINATION, IT'S A PRIVILEGE TO SERVE YOU.

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO NYC-ARTS.

I'M PAULA ZAHN AT THE TISCH WNET STUDIOS AT LINCOLN CENTER.

AND I'M PHILIPPE DE MONTEBELLO.

AS ALWAYS IT IS OUR PLEASURE TO INTRODUCE YOU TO THE DIVERSE TALENTS AND CULTURAL RICHNESS OF OUR ARTS COMMUNITY.

FROM REMARKABLE PERFORMING ARTISTS ON STAGE AND SCREEN, TO UNUSUAL GALLERY AND MUSEUM EXHIBITIONS, WE OFFER A VAST ARRAY OF WORLDS TO EXPLORE.

TONIGHT I'LL HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH DIRECTOR MICHAEL MAYER.

HE IS PERHAPS BEST KNOWN FOR HIS WORK ON THE STAGE FOR SUCH HITS AS THE TONY- WINNING 'SPRING CURRENT TV SERIES 'SMASH.'

NOW HE'S BEHIND THE INNOVATIVE NEW PRODUCTION OF VERDI'S 'RIGOLETTO' AT THE METROPOLITAN OPERA -- WHERE HE HAS UPDATED THE ITALIAN CLASSIC TO A VERY MODERN TIME AND PLACE, 1960s LAS VEGAS.

THIS PRODUCTION OF 'RIGOLETTO' OPENED THIS WEEK, WITH ITS FIRST CAST APPEARING THROUGH FEBRUARY 23RD.

A NEW CAST WILL CONTINUE THE RUN STARTING APRIL 13TH THROUGH MAY 1ST.

YOU CAN ALSO SEE THE PRODUCTION ON FEBRUARY 16TH WHEN IT'S TRANSMITTED AROUND THE WORLD AS PART OF 'THE MET: LIVE IN HD' SERIES.

THEN, WE'LL VISIT WITH A COUNTESS WHO FINDS HERSELF AT THE CENTER OF SOME HIGH MELODRAMA.

LADY FIONA CARNARVON IS THE CHATELAINE OF HIGHCLERE CASTLE, THE BEAUTIFUL ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE ESTATE THAT HAS SET THE STAGE FOR THE HIT PBS MASTERPIECE SERIES 'DOWNTON ABBEY.' AN EXPERT ON THE CASTLE ITS HISTORY AND ITS RESIDENTS, SHE HAS WRITTEN A BOOK CALLED 'LADY ALMINA AND THE REAL DOWNTON ABBEY.'

WONDER WHAT REALLY DOES GO ON THERE, BUT FIRST, FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ARTS AND CULTURAL EVENTS IN OUR AREA, HERE'S CHRISTINA HA WITH THE NEWS.

GOOD EVENING, I'M CHRISTINA HA WITH TONIGHT'S NYC-ARTS NEWS.

I'M HERE AT THE RUBIN MUSEUM OF ART IN CHELSEA.

THE MUSEUM IS KNOWN AS A CENTER FOR ANCIENT TIBETAN ART AND SERIOUS SCHOLARSHIP, AS WELL AS A LIVELY AND ENGAGING CONTEMPORARY CULTURAL SCENE.

CURRENTLY ON VIEW HERE IS 'THE PLACE OF PROVENANCE: REGIONAL STYLES IN TIBETAN PAINTING.' THIS EXHIBITION OF SOME 40 PAINTINGS AND SCULPTURES FROM THE 14TH TO 19TH CENTURY IS DRAWN PRIMARILY FROM THE MUSEUM'S EXTENSIVE COLLECTION AND IS BACKED BY OVER 35 YEARS OF EXHAUSTIVE RESEARCH.

THE EXHIBITION EXPLORES THE FOUR DISTINCTIVE PROVINCIAL ARTISTIC STYLES OF TIBET, AS WELL AS THOSE OF BHUTAN, MONGOLIA AND QING-DYNASTY CHINA.

BY FOCUSING ON CERTAIN KEY ELEMENTS OF THE LANDSCAPE, SUCH AS SKIES, CLOUDS AND SNOW MOUNTAINS, THE EXHIBITION DEMONSTRATES THE UNIQUE ARTISTIC ATTRIBUTES OF EACH REGION, OPENING A NEW WINDOW TO THIS ANCIENT ART FORM.

THE RUBIN MUSEUM IS NOT JUST A PLACE FOR SCHOLARSHIP AND ART HISTORY.

IT ALSO EXPLORES CONTEMPORARY ART AND MODERN IDEAS.

IN FEBRUARY, THE RUBIN PRESENTS 'LIVING SHRINES OF UYGHUR CHINA,' THE FIRST MUSEUM EXHIBITION OF CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHER, LISA ROSS.

ROSS'S EVOCATIVE PHOTOS SHOW SACRED LANDSCAPES IN NORTHWESTERN CHINA.

THE MUSEUM ALSO KICKS OFF THE LATEST EDITION OF ITS POPULAR BRAINWAVE SERIES.

THE SERIES BRINGS TOGETHER ARTISTS AND THINKERS WITH NEUROSCIENTISTS TO DISCUSS THE INNER WORKINGS OF THE MIND.

THIS YEAR IT PAIRS THEATER AND FILM DIRECTOR FRANCOIS GIRARD WITH COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR CARLSCHOONOVER TO DISCUSS GIRARD'S NEW MET OPERA PRODUCTION OF WAGNER'S PARSIFAL.

THE SERIES WILL ALSO SHOW A NUMBER OF FILMS, INCLUDING: 'HIGH GROUND' -- A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT AN EXPEDITION BY U.S. VERTANS FROM IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN TO SCALE A 20,000 FOOT MOUNTAIN IN THE HIMALAYAS.

A NEUROLOGIST IS ALSO BACK ON STAGE IN A TWISTY NEW THRILLER PRESENTED BY THE MANHATTAN THEATER COMPANY.

'THE OTHER PLACE,' BY RISING PLAYWRIGHT SHARR WHITE, COMES TO BROADWAY.

THE PLAY IS PART FAMILY DRAMA, PART MYSTERY.

LAURIE METCALF REPRISES THE ROLE THAT EARNED HER AN OBEY IN THE OFF- BROADWAY PRODUCTION IN 2011.

SHE PLAYS A SUCCESSFUL NEUROLOGIST WHO SEEMS TO BECOMING UNHINGED.

'THE OTHER PLACE' IS IN A LIMITED ENGAGEMENT AT THE SAMUEL BUGLISI DANCE THEATRE CELEBRATES ITS 20TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON WITH J. FRIEDMAN THEATRE.

A SLATE OF COMPANY CLASSICS AND FOUR WORLD PREMIERES AT THE JOYCE.

THE PERFORMANCES HONOR BOTH THE PAST AND THE FUTURE OF THE COMPANY, KNOWN FOR ITS MATURE AND EXPRESSIVE DANCERS AND ITS WORKS OF THEATRICAL POWER.

FOUNDING MEMBERS OF THE COMPANY WILL PERFORM IN SIGNATURE WORKS BY ARTISTIC DIRECTOR JACQULYN BUGLISI, INCLUCING 'THRESHOLD,' 'REQUIEM,' AND 'SUSPENDED WOMEN.'

GUEST ARTISTS CHARLES ASKEGARD WILL PARTNER MARTINE VAN HAMEL IN 'CARAVAGGIO MEETS HOPPER.' 'THIS IS FOREVER,' WITH MUSIC PERFORMED LIVE BY COMPOSER STEVE MARGOSHES.

A NEW EXHIBITION OF PHOTOS AT NYU'S GREY ART GALLERY CAPTURES THE POET OF GREENWICH VILLAGE WHO LIVED HIS LIFE -- JUST AROUND THE CORNER.

'BEAT MEMORIES: THE PHOTOGRAPHS OF ALLEN GINSBERG,' FEATURES OVER 80 BLACK-AND-WHITE PHOTOS.

GINSBERG FIRST BEGAN TAKING PHOTOS IN THE 1950S AS AN HE TOOK PHOTOS OF HIS CLOSE-KNIT GROUP OF FRIENDS, INCLUDING JACK KEROUAC, WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS AND OTHERS FROM WHAT WOULD LATER BE KNOWN AS THE BEATS.

YEARS LATER GINSBERG ADDED INTIMATE, HANDWRITTEN CAPTIONS, LOOKING BACK AT THAT TIME WITH DEEPLY PERSONAL AND POETIC OBSERVATIONS.

THE EXHIBITION ALSO INCLUDES MORE SELF-CONSCIOUSLY ARTISTIC PHOTOGRAPHS GINSBERG TOOK FROM THE EARLY 1980S UNTIL HIS DEATH IN 1997.

'BEAT MEMORIES: THE PHOTOGRAPHS OF ALLEN GINSBERG,' REMAINS ON VIEW AT NEW YORK UNIVERSITY'S GREY ART GALLERY UNTIL APRIL LOOKING FOR SOMETHING DELICIOUS, NUTRITIOUS AND ENTERTAINING?

WELL, A NEW EXHIBITION AT THE AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY IS SURE TO WHET YOUR APPETITE.

'OUR GLOBAL KITCHEN: FOOD, NATURE, CULTURE,' EXPLORES OUR COMPLEX AND INTRICATE FOOD SYSTEM, TRAVELING FROM FARM TO FORK.

IT COVERS EVERYTHING FROM GROWING AND TRANSPORTING TO COOKING, EATING, TASTING AND CELEBRATING.

THE EXHIBIT INCLUDES THE MUSEUM'S USUAL ELABORATELY DETAILED DIORAMAS AS WELL AS RARE ARTIFACTS FROM THE COLLECTIONS.

BUT, IT ALSO INVITES VISITORS INTO ITS WORKING TASTING KITCHEN AND ALLOWS THEM TO COOK A VIRTUAL MEAL.

ROOMS OF FAMOUS FIGURES THROUGHOUT HISTORY AND EXAMINE FOOD CULTURES FROM AROUND THE WORLD.

AND THAT'S THE LATEST FOR NYC-ARTS NEWS THIS WEEK.

FROM THE RUBIN MUSEUM OF ART IN CHELSEA, I'M CHRISTINA HA.

AT THE METROPOLITAN OPERA, ACCLAIMED DIRECTOR MICHAEL MAYER IS MOUNTING A THOROUGHLY MODERN TAKE ON GIUSEPPE VERDI'S 'RIGOLETTO.' IN A BOLD NEW INTERPRETATION, HE'S UPDATED THE OPERATIC MASTERPIECE FROM 16TH CENTURY ITALY -- TO LAS VEGAS IN THE 1960'S.

I RECENTLY JOINED MAYER TO DISCUSS HIS CAREER AND THIS NEW PRODUCTION.

MICHAEL, IT'S GREAT TO HAVE YOU WITH US.

THANK YOU, IT'S GREAT TO BE HERE.

YOU HAVE HAD A VARIED CAREER AS A DIRECTOR.

YOU HAVE BEEN HONORED FOR YOUR WORK ON STAGE WINNING A TONY FOR 'SPRING AWAKENING' AND MUCH ACCLAIMED FOR 'AMERICAN IDIOT.'

YOU HAVE BEEN A CONSULTING PRODUCER AND DIRECTOR FOR THE TELEVISION SERIES, 'SMASH.' DESCRIBE TO ALL OF US WHAT GOES THROUGH YOUR THOUGHT PROCESS WHEN YOU TAKE ON A NEW PROJECT?

FOR ME, THE THREE THINGS THAT YOU JUST MENTIONED, 'SMASH,' AND 'AMERICAN IDIOT,' AND 'SPRING AWAKENING,' ALL THREE OF THOSE I FEEL LIKE I WAS VERY MUCH A PART OF THE CREATION OF THEM

SO WHAT CAPTURES YOU FROM THE BEGINNING?

IS IT THE STORY?

GENERALLY IT'S SOMETHING IN THE STORY THAT I FEEL THAT I CAN RELATE TO OR THAT I HAVE SOMETHING FROM MY OWN EXPERIENCE THAT I CAN BRING TO IT THAT FEELS WORTHY OF SPENDING THE HUGE AMOUNT OF TIME AND ENERGY THAT IT TAKES TO DO -- LIKE A NEW MUSICAL OR A FILM OR A TV SHOW OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT.

IS THERE A PLACE THAT THAT

I THINK THAT IT DEPENDS ON WHAT I'M DOING. SOMETIMES EVERY ANYTHING BUT THE THING THAT I'M DOING LOOKS WAY BETTER YOU KNOW SO SOMETIMES I'M IN THE MIDDLE OF AN EPISODE OF SOME TV SHOW AND I'M THINKING, 'OH, GET ME BACK TO BROADWAY.'

OR YOU KNOW, 'OH WHY CAN'T THIS BE A MOVIE WHERE I HAVE MORE TIME TO SHOOT EACH SCENE?' BUT MORE OFTEN THAN NOT AND I REALLY FEEL VERY FORTUNATE I REALLY LOVE BEING WHERE I AM IN EACH PROJECT I FALL VERY MUCH IN LOVE WITH.

THE MOMENT.

LET'S TALK ABOUT YOUR LATEST PROJECT AH YOU'VE GOTTEN INVOLVED WITH THE METROPOLITAN OPERA IN ITS PRODUCTION OF 'RIGOLETTO.'

GOD HELP THEM.

NOW, DID YOU EVER IMAGINE THAT IN THE ARC OF YOUR CAREER YOU WOULD DIRECT AN OPERA?

I IMAGINED IT MANY, MANY YEARS AGO AND I HAD A SECRET FANTASY THAT I WOULD GET TO DO ONE OF THE GREAT OPERAS.

I NEVER EVER IMAGINED THAT IT WOULD BE AT THE MET AND I NEVER DARED TO DREAM THAT IT WOULD BE AT THE MET UNTIL WAY LATE IN MY

WHERE DID THAT DREAM COME FROM?

CAREER.

ARE YOU AN OPERA BUFF?

WELL, MY DAD TOOK ME TO SEE THE 1977 HOUSTON GRAND OPERA PRODUCTION OF 'PORGY AND BESS' WHEN IT WAS AT THE KENNEDY CENTER.

I GREW UP IN DC, AND IT BLEW ME AWAY.

HOW DID THIS OPPORTUNITY COME ABOUT AT THE MET?

WELL, I HAD STARTED TALKING TO PETER GELB A FEW YEARS AGO.

A COUPLE OF YEARS LATER AFTER THAT, I GOT A CALL FROM PETER HE WAS IN GERMANY AND HE WAS LIKE, 'IF I RECALL CORRECTLY YOU LIKE 'RIGOLETTO,' RIGHT?' 'I LOVE IT!'

AND HE SAID, 'WELL COULD YOU COME UP WITH A CONCEPT REALLY FAST?' AND I SAID, 'HOW FAST?'

AND HE SAID, 'WELL, I'M GOING TO BE BACK IN NEW YORK IN TWO DAYS.' THE THING IS THE THING THAT'S SO COOL THAT PETER IS TRYING TO DO IS TO LIKE RE-IMAGINE SOME OF THE GREAT CLASSIC OPERAS IN A WAY THAT FEEL FRESH AND CONTEMPORARY AND REFLECT A MODERN SENSIBILITY WITHOUT VIOLATING THE TRUTH OF WHAT THE OPERA ACTUALLY IS ABOUT.

AND THAT'S A VERY DIFFICULT THING TO DO.

IT'S VERY DIFFICULT.

BECAUSE 'RIGOLETTO' -- WHAT IT WAS, IT CONCEIVED TO HAVE HAPPENED IN THE FIFTEEN HUNDREDS.

YOU DECIDED TO STAGE 'RIGOLETTO' IN LAS VEGAS.

YEAH, YEAH.

-- DURING THE RAT PACK ERA.

YEAH.

OKAY, PLEASE HELP ME UNDERSTAND HOW YOU EVEN CAME UP

THAT'S RIGHT.

WITH THAT IDEA?

OKAY, WELL, I WAS LOOKING AT THE STORY.

I MEAN I REALLY TRIED TO GROUND EVERY DECISION I MADE IN THE STORY.

AND THE WORLD OF 'RIGOLETTO,' IS THE DUKE'S PALACE.

IT'S ALL ABOUT SEX, POWER, AND MONEY.

WHEN YOU GO TO VEGAS, IT'S ALL ABOUT THE WOMEN BEING SEXUAL OBJECTS, THE MEN TAKING THEM WHEN THEY WANT THEM, PLAYING YOU KNOW, EXCESS.

I WAS FASCINATED TO SEE HOW PETER GELB NOT ONLY REACTED TO YOUR IDEA ORIGINALLY, BUT HOW HE HAS REACTED TO THE EVOLUTION OF THIS FORM OF 'RIGOLETTO.'

AND HE SAYS OF YOUR INTERPRETATION THAT IT'S NOT ABOUT CHANGING THE MEANING OF A TIMELESS CLASSIC IT'S JUST CHANGING THE MEANS OF THE STORY TELLING.

IS THAT THE WAY YOU SEE IT?

THAT'S EXACTLY RIGHT.

THAT WAS THAT WAS MY APPROACH.

I WANTED TO HONOR THE STORY COMPLETELY AND MAKE EVERY MOMENT THAT VERDI WROTE RESONATE IN THE WAY THAT HE ENVISIONED IT EMOTIONALLY AND STORY WISE, BUT WHILE PUTTING IT IN A DIFFERENT YOU KNOW TIME PERIOD AND A DIFFERENT CONTEXT.

TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HOW YOU CONCEIVED OF THE SETS

WELL, I'VE GOT A WONDERFUL DESIGN TEAM.

CHRISTINE JONES WHO I'VE WORKED WITH A BUNCH OVER THE YEARS AND SHE WON A TONY FOR 'AMERICAN IDIOT' AND MY COSTUME DESIGNER SUSAN HILFERTY.

AND CHRISTINE MADE A GIGANTIC MURAL IN HER STUDIO OF ALL OF THESE IMAGES, LIKE A GIANT COLLAGE.

AND WE HAD STACKS OF BOOKS AND RESEARCH JUST ALL OVER THE TABLES AND WE BASICALLY IT WAS REALLY FUN WE JUST SORT OF POINTED AT STUFF THAT WE LIKED.

TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE CASTING AND WHO WE'RE GOING

OKAY, YOU ARE GOING TO SEE SOME AMAZING, AMAZING SINGERS.

TO SEE ON STAGE?

THE 'RIGOLETTO' IS A WONDERFUL SERBIAN BARITONE NAMED, ZELJKO LUCIC.

HE'S A VERDI EXPERT AND FUNNY AND WARM AND AN AMAZING SINGER AND A GREAT ACTOR AND I THINK THAT HE'S GOING TO BREAK YOUR HEART.

♪♪ PIOTR BECZALA.

HE'S A BEAUTIFUL POLISH TENOR HE WAS IN 'MANON' LAST SEASON WITH NETREBKO.

HE'S ONE OF THE GREAT TENORS AROUND.

GREAT LOOKING, HE'S GOT BLUE EYES LIKE SINATRA AND HE'S REALLY OWNING THE RAT PACK THING IN A GREAT WAY.

♪♪ AND DIANA DAMRAU IS OUR GILDA, SHE'S AS GOOD AS IT GETS.

♪♪

DID YOU FIND WHEN YOU STARTED REHEARSING 'RIGOLETTO,' THAT THE SINGERS THEMSELVES HAD TO HAVE A LEAP OF FAITH IN THIS IDEA, PARTICULARLY THOSE WHO HAVE PERFORMED THE MORE TRADITIONAL VERSIONS OF THIS STORY ALL OVER THE WORLD?

I HAD A HUGE AMOUNT OF ANXIETY GOING INTO THIS I WAS WORRIED THAT YOU KNOW ESPECIALLY WITH MY THREE LEADS THEY'VE ALL DONE THIS OPERA BEFORE.

SO I HAD A LOT OF ANXIETY ABOUT IF THEY WOULD BUY INTO THIS.

AND I HAVE TO TELL YOU THEY REALLY HAVE.

THEY GET IT.

AND I THINK ONE OF THE REASONS THAT THEY UNDERSTAND IT AND EMBRACE IT SO COMPLETELY IS BECAUSE THEY KNOW BETTER THAN ANYONE, WAY BETTER THAN I DO, WHAT THE STORY IS AND WHAT THE JOURNEY OF EACH OF THESE CHARACTERS IS AND WHAT THEIR RELATIONSHIPS ARE.

AND THE FACT THAT THEY CAN THAT THEY CAN JUSTIFY ABSOLUTELY EVERY MOMENT ON IN THIS CONTEXT I THINK GIVES THEM GREAT COMFORT AND IT CERTAINLY GIVES ME GREAT COMFORT.

I'M WONDERING IF THERE'S ANOTHER LEVEL THAT THEY BOUGHT INTO THE CONCEPT ON AND THAT IS IN ORDER FOR OPERA.

TO REMAIN RELEVANT YOU ALSO HAVE TO FIND A WAY TO BRING NEW

HMM HM.

THAT'S A VERY, VERY GOOD POINT.

AUDIENCES.

-- TO THE OPERA HOUSE.

AND I FEEL THIS WAY WHEN I'M WORKING ON BROADWAY AS WELL, WHICH HAS HISTORICALLY BEEN THE SORT OF THE ARENA FOR AN OLDER DEMOGRAPHIC, THAT I FEEL THAT TO MAINTAIN INTO THE FUTURE I THINK WE HAVE TO WE HAVE TO MAKE THEM RECOGNIZE THEMSELVES WHEN YOU GO TO THE OPERA.

HOPEFULLY WHAT HAPPENS IS, YOU LEARN NOT ONLY ABOUT THE BEAUTY OF THE SINGING AND THE MAGNIFICENCE OF THE COMPOSING AND HOPEFULLY THE INGENUITY OF THE STAGING, BUT HOPEFULLY YOU LEARN SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF BECAUSE THESE ARE GREAT STORIES ABOUT HUMAN NATURE AND WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE ARE FACED WITH COMPLICATED SITUATIONS AND DECISIONS THAT WE HAVE TO MAKE IN OUR LIVES.

ABOUT OURSELVES, I THINK WE NEED TO RECOGNIZE OURSELVES UP THERE.

WELL, WE'LL ENJOY WATCHING THE CONTINUATION OF THE REMARKABLE JOURNEY.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

THANK YOU.

IT WAS A PLEASURE.

CONTINUED GOOD LUCK.

THANK YOU.

NOW, A VISIT WITH LADY CARNARVON.

THE CHATELEINE OF HIGHCLERE CASTLE LOCATED IN THE ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE.

THE HISTORY OF THE CASTLE AND ITS RESIDENTS MAKE IT A PERFECT SETTING FOR THE STORY AND CHARACTERS FROM THE EVER POPULAR 'DOWNTON ABBEY.'

MY NAME IS FIONA CARNARVON, BUT I'M ALSO THE COUNTESS OF CARNARVON AND I LIVE AT HIGHCLERE CASTLE WHICH IS BETTER KNOWN TO MANY PEOPLE AS DOWNTON ABBEY.

HIGHCLERE CASTLE HAS TWO OR THREE HUNDRED ROOMS AND IT HAS FIFTY TO EIGHTY BEDROOMS AND IT SITS IN A THOUSAND ACRES OF PARKLAND WHICH IS COMPLETELY BEAUTIFUL AND THEN A FURTHER FIVE THOUSAND ACRES OF FARMLAND AND WOODLAND AROUND THAT.

SO IT'S A WONDERFUL BREATHING SPACE IN SOUTHERN ENGLAND.

LADY ALMINA WAS AN EXTRAORDINARY WOMAN WHO IN 1895 AT THE AGE OF 19, CAME TO MARRY THE 5TH EARL OF CARNARVON, MY HUSBAND'S GREAT-GRANDFATHER WHO LIVED AT HIGHCLERE.

AND WHILST HE WAS NOT EXACTLY IMPOVERISHED, HE, NEVERTHELESS, WANTED TO MARRY AN HEIRESS BECAUSE HE WAS A LITTLE BIT IN HE FIXED UPON ALMINA, THE ILLEGITIMATE DAUGHTER OF ALFRED DEBT.

DE ROTHSCHILD.

ONE OF THE WEALTHIEST FAMILIES IN EUROPE AT THE TURN OF THE 19TH TO 20TH CENTURY.

SHE DECIDED SHE UTTERLY ADORED HIM AND HE THOUGHT HE LOVED HER.

OR MIGHT LOVE HER.

I'M NOT QUITE SURE AT THE TIME.

HER DOWRY WAS THE MAIN THING.

IT WAS 500,000 POUNDS.

WHICH IS SOME 30 MILLION POUNDS TODAY.

A PHENOMENAL AMOUNT OF MONEY.

AND IT WAS IN A WONDERFUL THING CALLED 'CASH.'

LORD CARNARVON WASN'T GOING TO MARRY WITHOUT MONEY.

HE PUT IT LIKE THAT.

THERE'S A LINE FROM JANE AUSTEN, 'WHILST YOU SHOULD NEVER MARRY FOR MONEY, IT MIGHT BE FOOLISH TO MARRY WITHOUT MONEY.'

AND I THINK THAT WAS LORD CARNARVON'S ATTITUDE.

THE STAFF IN ALMINA'S TIME WAS MUCH BIGGER THAN IT IS ON DOWNTON ABBEY, BECAUSE THERE WAS A HOUSE STEWARD BECAUSE HIGHCLERE WAS ONE OF THE GRANDEST HOUSES, FOLLOWED BY A BUTLER, FOLLOWED BY AN UNDER- BUTLER, FOLLOWED BY FOURTEEN FOOTMEN, HALL BOYS, STILL-ROOM BOY, MAIDS, COOKS, STILL-ROOM MAIDS, TWENTY-FIVE GARDENERS.

THEN THERE WERE VARIOUS DEPARTMENTS, MAINTENANCE TEAM, A WOODSMEN TEAM BECAUSE WE HAD OUR OWN SAWMILL THERE, FARMERS, A FARMING TEAM DEPARTMENT.

I QUITE LIKE THE SCENES WHICH ARE NOT SHOT AT HIGHCLERE BECAUSE THEY'RE FRESH AND FUN AND HAVEN'T SEEN THEM BEING RESHOT SEVERAL TIMES OVER.

BUT I THINK WHAT IT IS, IS THERE ARE SO MANY DIFFERENT CHARACTERS, AREN'T THERE?

THE BATES STORY, OR THE O'BRIAN AND THOMAS STORY, OR YOU KNOW, CORA AND LORD GRANTHAM.

I ALWAYS FORGET WHETHER HUGH BONNEVILLE OR ELIZABETH MCGOVERN, I ALWAYS GET THE REAL NAMES AND THE DOWNTON ABBEY NAMES MUDDLED UP, OR WHETHER YOU ARE FOLLOWING ONE OF THE SISTERS, I THINK THERE ARE MANY DIFFERENT STORIES TO MANY DIFFERENT PEOPLE.

BUT I THINK MY FAVORITE CHARACTER IS THE CASTLE.

TO SEE MORE OF HIGHCLERE CASTLE AND SEASON 3 OF 'DOWNTON ABBEY,' TUNE IN RIGHT HERE ON THIRTEEN.

YOU CAN FOLLOW THE GOINGS ON UPSTAIRS AND DOWNSTAIRS -- EVERY SUNDAY NIGHT AT 9PM THROUGH FEBRUARY 17TH.

AND NOW, THIS WEEK'S CURATOR'S CHOICE --

ON THE BALCONY OVERLOOKING THE ENGELHARD COURT, VISITORS WILL FIND AN AMAZING COLLECTION OF AMERICAN SILVER, CERAMICS, GLASS, PEWTER AND JEWELRY.

AND SO WE BEGIN ON THE EAST SIDE WITH COLONIAL SILVER, BEGINNING AT ABOUT 1660, SILVER THAT WAS VERY MUCH INFLUENCED BY ENGLISH AND DUTCH AND FRENCH ANCESTRY, BY THE CRAFTSMEN COMING TO AMERICA WHO WERE TRAINED ABROAD, BY THE RESIDENTS, THE COLONISTS, THE SETTLERS, WHO BROUGHT WITH THEM SOME OF THEIR MOST PRECIOUS ANY MANY OF THAT EARLY SILVER IS QUITE UTILITARIAN, YOU'LL SEE FAMILY HEIRLOOMS.

TANKARDS, DRINKING CUPS, BOWLS.

BUT YOU WILL ALSO SEE OBJECTS OF GREAT BEAUTY AND OBJECTS THAT COULD HAVE BEEN MUCH SIMPLER BUT WERE MADE TO LOOK BEAUTIFUL BY SILVERSMITHS BECAUSE THIS WAS ART, THIS WAS THEIR ARTISTRY, AND SILVER HAS ALWAYS HAD INTRINSIC VALUE AND SO IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN A SYMBOL OF STATUS, AND ALSO A SYMBOL OF FINANCIAL SECURITY.

VISITORS WILL ALSO FIND NAMES THEY WILL RECOGNIZE SUCH AS PAUL REVERE, THE GREAT PATRIOT SILVERSMITH, WHO WORKED IN TWO PHASES ACTUALLY.

ONE BEFORE THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR, WHEN HIS WORK REFLECTS THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR WHERE THE NEOCLASSICISM BECOMES THE MAJOR FASHION.

AND ONE OF OUR MOST BELOVED OBJECTS IS A HOT WATER URN MADE BY PAUL REVERE.

AND IT WAS QUITE AN EXPENSIVE AND RARE OBJECT AT THE TIME.

AS VISITORS WALK AROUND THE BALCONY, THEY WILL SEE THE DEVELOPMENT OF STYLES, BECOMING MORE SOPHISTICATED.

THE PERIOD AROUND THE NAPOLEONIC WARS YOU SEE FRENCH INFLUENCE, FOR INSTANCE IN THE MAGNIFICENT PAIR OF SAUCEBOATS MADE BY ANTHONY RASCH OF PHILADELPHIA WITH GREAT SERPENT HANDLES AND RAM'S HEADS THAT ALMOST LOOK LIKE THE PROW OF A BOAT LEADING THEM FORWARD.

AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF MANUFACTURERS, SUCH AS TIFFANY AND CO.

AND GORHAM MANUFACTURING COMPANY, WHICH WERE BOTH FOUNDED IN THE 1830S, IN PART TO BE ABLE TO PROVIDE SILVER TO THE MORE COMMON MAN.

AT FIRST, IN THE EARLY YEARS OF THIS COUNTRY, SILVER WAS A VERY PRECIOUS COMMODITY.

BUT BY THE MIDDLE OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY, BOURGEOIS FAMILIES, MIDDLE CLASS FAMILIES, WERE BEGINNING TO BE ABLE TO OWN SILVER AND TO USE IT.

BY ABOUT THE 1870S, WE BEGIN TO SEE A NEW DEVELOPMENT IN THE SILVER INDUSTRY, AND THIS WAS THE NOTION OF COMPETITIONS FOR SPECIAL PIECES OF SILVER, FOR PRESENTATION SILVER.

CERTAINLY THE LARGEST OF THE PRESENTATION PIECES IN THE COLLECTION IS THE MAGNOLIA VASE.

THIS WAS THE CENTERPIECE OF TIFFANY AND COMPANY'S DISPLAY AT THE 1893 CHICAGO'S WORLD FAIR, THE COLOMBIAN EXPOSITION.

AND IT IS ACTUALLY AN AMAZING OBJECT IN TERMS OF ITS CRAFTSMANSHIP -- THE GOLD WORK, THE SILVER, THE CHASING, BUT PARTICULARLY THE ENAMELING OF THE MAGNOLIAS.

THIS WAS CUTTING-EDGE WORK AT THE TIME AND TIFFANY AND COMPANY DID A LOT OF EXPERIMENTING TO FIND A WAY TO ADHERE THE ENAMEL TO SILVER, WHICH IS A DIFFICULT THING TO DO.

THEY PUT EVERYTHING INTO THIS VASE, AND THEY REALLY WANTED TO IMPRESS THE PUBLIC AND THE WORLD WITH THEIR CRAFTSMANSHIP AND I'M BETH CARVER WEES, IN THE AMERICAN WING AT THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART.

WE HOPE YOU'VE ENJOYED OUR PRESENTATION THIS EVENING.

IT'S BEEN °UR PLEASURE TO HAVE BEEN YOUR GUIDE TO THE BEST IN ARTS AND CULTURE IN OUR AREA.

FROM THE TISCH WNET STUDIOS AT LINCOLN CENTER, I'M PAULA ZAHN.

AND I'M PHILIPPE DE MONTEBELLO.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US, AND SEE YOU NEXT TIME.

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

ELISE JAFFE AND JEFFREY BROWN -- JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD -- MILTON & 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.

FLEXIBILITY, COORDINATION, EXCELLENCE.

FIRST REPUBLIC BANK, IT'S A PRIVILEGE TO SERVE YOU.