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Dramatic Readings by Metropolitan Museum's Philippe de Montebello and Actor Fritz Weaver Scheduled for October 15

Poetry and Prose Selections Will Complement Met Exhibition
The Year One: Art of the Ancient World East and West

Philippe de Montebello, Director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, will be joined by the distinguished actor Fritz Weaver in a program of dramatic readings, presented in conjunction with the special exhibition The Year One: Art of the Ancient World East and West. The program, The Year One: A Reading, will feature selections from works by Virgil and Horace and poems in the fu form from the Han Dynasty. It will take place on Sunday, October 15, at 7:00 p.m. in the recently opened Mary and Michael Jaharis Gallery, a particularly appropriate setting with its long, dramatic vista and display of monumental ancient Roman statues.

In celebration of the new millennium, the exhibition — drawn almost entirely from the Museum's own collections — will feature nearly 150 works of art that were produced in the period just before and after the Year One. On view at the Metropolitan from October 3, 2000, through January 14, 2001, The Year One: Art of the Ancient World East and West will include magnificent and distinctive works of art from Western Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa, the Middle East, India, China, Southeast Asia, and the Americas, and will highlight the interconnections that existed some 2,000 years ago between these widely separated parts of the world.

Featured in The Year One: A Reading will be passages from Virgil's Aeneid, the Roman epic poem that tells the story of the hero Aeneas' flight from Troy and his arrival in Italy, thus foreshadowing Rome's imperial destiny and the reign of Augustus. The program will also include Virgil's Fourth Eclogue, a poem with a clear messianic message, together with works by the other great poet of the Augustan period, Horace (65-8 B.C.), and, by way of contrast, "The Nymph of the Lo River," a classic poem in the fu form from the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.- A.D 220). Written by Cao Zhi (192-232), the poem recounts a young scholar's intense but hopeless love for the goddess that inhabits the Lo River. The fu, or rhyme-prose, was one of the most popular literary forms in China from the second century B.C. to the sixth century A.D. Of unspecified length, a work in the fu form generally contains introductory and explanatory prose texts interspersed with longer, more rhapsodic or emotional passages in verse. Descriptions of cities, palaces, and royal hunts, and memories of journeys, meditations, and beautiful women are common themes.

Philippe de Montebello has served as the eighth Director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art since 1977. Under his tenure, the Museum has expanded the range and quality of its holdings, its international loan exhibitions, and its audience, which now numbers more than five million visitors per year. Born in Paris, Mr. de Montebello attended French schools throughout the Baccalaureate. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in 1958 and, after serving as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, received an advanced degree from New York University's Institute of Fine Arts. He joined the Metropolitan Museum as a curatorial assistant in 1963 and, with the exception of four years as Director of the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas, has spent his entire career there. Among his many awards and honors, Mr. de Montebello has received the Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur.

Fritz Weaver has appeared on Broadway in Jean Anouilh's Ring Around the Moon, A. R. Gurney's Ancestral Voices, The Crucible, Love Letters, Child's Play (Tony Award), My Fair Lady, and Beethoven's Tenth. His television work includes Matlock, the miniseries Holocaust (Emmy nomination), X-Files, Frasier, and The Thomas Crown Affair. As the god Osiris, Mr. Weaver walked down the grand staircase of the Metropolitan Museum in the Sesame Street special All Day Long. He is currently appearing in the Irish Repertory Company's production of George Bernard Shaw's Don Juan in Hell.

Tickets for the October 15 event are $50. Individual tickets and subscriptions to Concerts & Lectures at the Metropolitan Museum can be purchased by mail, telephone, or fax. To place an order, or to request a 2000-2001 Season brochure, call (212) 570-3949, Monday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.; or send a fax to (212) 650-2253 at any time.

For current listings of Concerts & Lectures, visit Events and Programs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Web site (www.metmuseum.org).

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October 2, 2000

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