Sting wins over corporate giant at sold out Met show

By Roger Friedman Sting played the Metropolitan Opera House last night with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Branford Marsalis and Dominic Miller. The show was a success and then some.

Afterwards, at a reception on the Grand Tier, a man approached Sting and glamorous wife Trudie Styler (wearing a knockout floor length Valentino gown and an eye popping diamond necklace) and introduced himself as their new neighbor on Central Park West. “I’m Sandy Weill,” said the former head of Citigroup and American Express. The couples exchanged greetings. And then Weill told a story that anyone who doubts the power of celebrity and politics for a good cause will appreciate.

He said,”Your group was very upset with us.” The Police? No, the Rainforest Foundation. “We were doing bad things to the rainforests,” Weill said. Sting and his wife–the color drained from their faces for a second. Then Weill continued: “But we’re working with them now, and we’re doing a lot to help.”

And it’s true, to some degree. In the mid 2000s, after protests against Citigroup by the Rainforest Action Network and other environmental groups, Weill’s corporation made some efforts to improve their policies. They also donated $100,000 to the RAN. The Rainforest Foundation could use their help, too.

But even the idea of a corporate giant being motivated by Sting’s music and Styler’s politics was a nice cap to a sensational evening. Sting’s reconfiguring of his classic songs, and some — as he said–that were forgotten gems from solo albums–has proven to be a rousing triumph. He bills the show as “Symphonicities”– a play on his “Synchronicity,” symphonies, and the many cities on the tour. But in reality, the show–with over 50 musicians–is more like the best Boston Pops show ever featuring Sting’s music and his richer than ever voice. Who knew that the blond punk king of 1979 would turn out to the showman of 2010? What a lovely surprise.

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