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France Honors Ronald P. Stanton

On September 19, 2011, the medal of chevalier of the Legion of Honor was conferred on Ronald P. Stanton for his role as patron of the arts in a ceremony held at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York. Antonin Baudry welcomed the guests in the following speech.

Good evening everyone, and welcome to the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, housed in this splendid mansion designed by Stanford White. It is your house as it is dedicated to the cultures of France and the United States. My name is Antonin Baudry, I am the Culturel Counselor of the French Embassy, and I’m very honored to be your host tonight for an homage to Mr. Ronald Stanton, the man who made the production of Lully’s masterpiece Atys possible in New York, a dream come true !

I had the pleasure of seeing the Opera yesterday at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and I must admit that it was a unique experience. I felt like I was a time traveler but I was also struck by the modernity of the work, its universal language and beauty.

This masterpiece would not have been revived without the steady commitment to the arts of many key people present here tonight : dear friends Karen Brooks Hopkins, and Joe Melillo from BAM, I thank you again for leading this undertaking with such determination. BAM has always brought outstanding productions from France to American audiences. I also would like to thank the Opéra Comique which, guided by the artistic vision of Director Jerome Deschamps, has created some of the best projects in France today. It was this marvelous opera house that revived Atys in 1987 and presented it once again this uear, in collaboration with our most beloved Maestro William Christie along with his magnificient ensemble Les Arts Florissants. I would also like to recognize Luc Bouniol-Laffont, Executive Director of Les Arts Florissant, and to extend my thanks to him as well as to Stage Director Jean-Marie Villégier, choreograhper Béatrice Massion, and singers Paul Agnew, Cyril Auvity, and Emmanuel de Negri – to name just a few of the stellar performers who are with us tonight.

To help us celebrate this international collaboration, a number of French officials have come from abroad to be with us this evening. I am pleased to welcome M. Philippe Duron, Member fo Parliament and Mayor of the city of Caen, and his wife, Marie-Anne ; Alain Tourret, Vice President of the Regional Council for Lower Normandy and Jean-Luis Laville, Director of the Normandy Regional Tourist Board. As many of you know, Les arts Florissants is the resident company of the Theatre de Caen in Normandy ; The city of Caen and the Region of Lower Normandy have supported this company for over twenty years. The international arts community is very grateful for their passionate support.

Finally, I’d like to single out Ara Guzelimian, Provost and Dean of the Julliard School, and a longstanding friend of the French Embassy. Under Ara’s leadership, Juilliard began a close collaboration with Les Arts Florissants, in 2008, giving students the opportunity to participate in a top-notch series of master classes and perform concerts of French baroque music ; this led to the creation of Juillard’s Historical Performance Program in 2009.

Once again I would like to personally thank you Mr Stanton. We are all here tonight to honor your incredible action and celebrate you, as you have enriched our lives.

And I’d like to give the floor to Karen Brooks Hopkins, President of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, who will say a few words before the official medal ceremony, over which Maestro William Christie will preside.