On Thursday night, in rainy Midtown Manhattan, a parade of black cars deposited some of Hollywood’s most celebrated figures at the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue for the second annual Albies, a benefit hosted by the Clooney Foundation for Justice.
Inside the library, Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach chatted with Lorne Michaels. Across the room, John Krasinski and Emily Blunt stood with Keegan-Michael Key. Near the bar, Heidi Klum nursed a beer with Sofia Vergara, and Barry Diller greeted Melinda Gates. Jacinda Ardern, the former prime minister of New Zealand, and Karim Khan, the International Criminal Court prosecutor, were also in attendance.
The Clooney Foundation was founded by the actor George Clooney and Amal Clooney, an international human rights lawyer. The event, chaired by Mr. and Ms. Clooney and Darren Walker, the president of the Ford Foundation, aimed to highlight figures described as “defenders of justice.” (Organizers did not disclose the amount of money raised.)
“Exposing the problem is a big part of the process, and then we also want to be part of the solution,” Ms. Clooney said. “So what we’re doing across all of our initiatives is providing free legal support to victims of human rights abuse.”
After cocktails, nearly 400 guests were ushered into a space decorated with candles, greenery and draped green cloth designed to feel like an intimate dinner at the Clooneys’ Italian villa.
“It might be a good time to eat, or we’ll be here all night,” Mr. Clooney announced over a microphone as guests mingled.
Near the stage, Anne Hathaway sat with Donatella Versace. Several tables over, Bryan Lourd, a top executive for Creative Artists Agency, ate with Scarlett Johansson, Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Diane von Furstenberg.
After dinner — pesto lasagna and bolognese gnocchi — John Oliver, the British comedian and television host, hosted a ceremony, structured like an awards show.
This year’s honorees, who shared harrowing accounts of their work, included Dr. Denis Mukwege, a Nobel Peace Prize-winning Congolese doctor; and the journalists Niloofar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi, who have reported on the death of Mahsa Amini.
The awards, presented by Meryl Streep, Matt Damon, Julianna Margulies, Jon Stewart and Viola Davis, were interspersed with performances from Alicia Keys and Andra Day.
“My wife and I are a little bit different. She actually does justice for a living and I don’t. I play a very lousy lawyer all the time in films,” Mr. Clooney said, continuing. “She does all the heavy lifting and the law degree work, and then I try to make it loud.”
Below see photos from events in New York City this week.
The New York Philharmonic With Yo-Yo Ma
On Wednesday night, Catherine Smith, a classical flutist from Inwood, and Ellen Kastel, an orchestra fan from the Upper West Side, were posted in the open lobby of David Geffen Hall waiting to watch a free livestream of the concert that evening.
Between them, they had a potato bureka, a margarita from the bar and a tuna salad wrap.
“Do you know if there’s actually a real gala or is it just dress-up night?” Ms. Kastel asked from a seat on a couch.
It was the start of the New York Philharmonic season, and guests in tuxedos and gowns — including Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state, Carolina Herrera and the leaders of major orchestras from around the country — converged on Lincoln Center.
The acclaimed soloist Yo-Yo Ma, whom Ms. Kastel wanted to see, joined the Philharmonic for a performance of Dvorak’s Cello Concerto. Jaap van Zweden, who will close out his tenure as the Philharmonic’s music director at the end of the season, also led the ensemble in Beethoven’s “Egmont Overture” and Tchaikovsky’s “Capriccio Italien.”
“I can’t afford a ticket for Yo-Yo Ma, but I wanted to see him so this was my chance,” Ms. Kastel said.
It was a record-setting fund-raiser for the Philharmonic, which raised about $4 million, on the heels of another recent peak: a $40 million gift, the largest single contribution to the orchestra’s endowment in its history.
The gala marked the second season in the renovated David Geffen Hall, and the end of Mr. van Zweden’s six-year post before leading the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra in 2024. Gustavo Dudamel will succeed him, starting as music director designate in the 2025-26 season and then music director in the 2026-27 season.
After the performance, gala attendees moved onto dinner of seared New York strip steak. Ms. Clinton, who had slipped into the concert unannounced, was quickly surrounded by women hoping to say hello and take a photo, tapping her between bites of burrata salad.
The evening honored Deborah Borda, a prominent figure in the performing arts world who recently stepped down as the orchestra’s president and chief executive.
Opening Night at the Metropolitan Opera With ‘Dead Man Walking’
The night before, on Tuesday evening, near the winding red staircase at the Metropolitan Opera House, as benefactors and other famous faces floated past, the actor Jon Hamm, who was with his wife Anna Osceola, said he had last been to the opera about a decade ago to see the “Marriage of Figaro” with his aunt.
“Obviously it’s, it’s one of the most beautiful buildings on the planet,” he said. “So it’s pretty awesome to be here.”
It was the first night of the 2023-24 season of the Metropolitan Opera, which opened with a performance of “Dead Man Walking,” based on Sister Helen Prejean’s 1993 best-selling book about her experience as a spiritual adviser for inmates on death row.
The move to feature more contemporary works by living composers, which make up a third of the season’s lineup, and stage fewer titles is a step in the company’s larger effort to recover from the pandemic’s impact, with ticket sales down and a decision to tap into its endowment late last year.
“This season is a critical season for the Met and for other performing arts companies, many of whom are going to face, you know, really dire circumstances if things don’t improve economically,” said Peter Gelb, the Met Opera’s general manager, adding that audience turnout combined with donation levels are key.
Before the performance began, Sigourney Weaver and Whoopi Goldberg chatted, Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance posed for photos and Bridget Everett fielded greetings from guests like Ben Stiller.
The event, which raised about $3.2 million, drew a crowd that included Patti LuPone, Sarita Choudhury, Adrien Brody, Patrick Stewart, Tim Robbins, Al Roker, Neil Patrick Harris and the philanthropists Jean Shafiroff and Daisy Soros.
After a standing ovation at curtain call, gala guests flowed into a dinner, also at David Geffen Hall. The space was transformed into an opulent dinner with acorn squash salad and branzino.