The Agony and the Ecstasy

. . . though not in that order, actually. Donald Collup presents a brace of his documentary films this weekend featuring two very different divas, Astrid Varnay and Florence Foster Jenkins.

La Varnay (the ecstatic part of the bargain) is profiled in “Never Before,” a two-hour video and audio journey through the early years of the soprano’s career. The film will be screened at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 2 at the Lilli Devereaux Blake School, 45 East 81st Street. Admission is free. More details on “Never Before”

Agony inevitably follows the next day, Friday November 3, when Collup unveils “Florence Foster Jenkins: A World Of Her Own” at the Vocal Record Collectors Society meeting in the Phillips Auditorium at Christ Methodist Church, 520 Park Avenue at East 60th Street. The screening is at 8:00 p.m., preceded by an LP auction at 7:30. Admission is free, but seating is limited. The film includes interviews with such personalities as Marge Champion and Alfred Hubay who attended the celebrated Jenkins Carnegie Hall recital on October 25, 1944, as well as rare photographs from the Gregor Benko collection. Here’s a preview of “A World Of Her Own” —

Complete details on this event.


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