The Words of In Jin Moon
In Jin Nim receives a proclamation from Ms. Esther Ruiz, representing Mayor Edward Koch, in recognition of the arts conference. Left to right: Ms. Renata Scotto, Mrs. Bo Hi Pak, Ms. Esther Ruiz, In Jin Nim, Dr. Benjamin Watkins, and Dr. Bo Hi Pak.
Ms. Ruiz, Dr. Watkins, Ms. Raskob, distinguished participants of the Second Annual International Conference on the Arts, ladies and gentlemen:
On behalf of my father, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, founder of Artists Association International and the new Manhattan Opera House, I am very honored to stand here and receive this proclamation from you, Ms. Ruiz, representing the Mayor of the City of New York.
The International Conference on the Arts is truly a dream come true, created to offer hope and direction to artists from all disciplines. My father is very excited and hopeful about this conference of distinguished representatives from around the world. Best wishes for a successful conference.
In Jin Nim giving her acceptance speech.
I am very grateful for these words of proclamation acknowledging this prestigious conference. It is appropriate that this gathering of artists highlight yet another great cultural opportunity -- the restoration of the Manhattan Opera House.
Surely, this event will stand as a landmark in the cultural renaissance of New York, not only for the citizens of this city, but also for the citizens of the state of New York, for the nation, and for the world.
As I mentioned before, I feel personally most honored to be a part of this ceremony. I am sure that my father will be very uplifted in his heart to hear that such a gathering has taken place, and that his vision for culture, which he has harbored for so long, could be recognized by the Mayor of this city that he loves so much. This great project must surely gather momentum as a result of Mayor Koch's gracious recognition of our efforts.
Thank you very much.
Hoon Sook Nim, principal dancer of the Universal Ballet Company, performed a section of The Blindman's Daughter at the Gala banquet on August 27, 1988.
At the opening reception of the Second Annual International Conference on the Arts, on August 25, 1988, a special ceremony was held to officially announce the beginning of the restoration of the Manhattan Opera House. Originally built by music impresario Oscar Hammerstein in 1906, the building was bought in 1977 by the Unification Church, which committed itself to restoring the opera house to its original grandeur. In that same year the church also took over sponsorship of the New York City Symphony, which was featured at the Olympic Games in Seoul.
The history of the house and the plans for renovation were presented in an audiovisual show put together by Ron Paquette of World Audio-Visual Enterprises. The words of the Script described its original beauty:
Being a man who always put his money where his heart was, Oscar Hammerstein, with no subscribers, invested 2 million of his own dollars and single- handedly proceeded to build the only opera house which would ever truly rival the Metropolitan's....
Largely designed by Mr. Hammerstein himself, the building, which spared no expense, made extensive use of Italian marble and Yorkshire stone. Adorned in the prevailing colors of deep red, warm buff, and gold, the auditorium rose dramatically through a peristyle containing 40 proscenium boxes, whose huge columns supported an additional semicircle of loges, with two balconies above. Overhead, a magnificent sculptured dome and chandelier hovered 100 feet above the orchestra floor. The press and public unanimously praised the warmth, intimacy, and splendid acoustics of the hall....
Its first seasons saw the American premiers of works by Massenet, Debussy, Offenbach, and Strauss. Its stage was graced with the most famous singers of the day. Its performances sold out, its subscription sales soared, its boxes filled with New York's renown....
After Hammerstein's death in 1919, the Manhattan Opera House passed through a series of owners and transformations, none of which ever again saw the grandeur Hammerstein brought to it....
In 1977, the Reverend Moon, founder of the Unification Church International, made a decision to purchase the building in the hopes of one day restoring it to its original grandeur.
Ms. Esther Ruiz, a representative of the office of Mayor Edward Koch presented a proclamation in recognition of the arts conference. In Jin Nim received the proclamation on behalf of her father, saying that Rev. Moon was "very excited" about the renovation of the opera house, which he hoped would stand as a landmark for the city.
Dr. Benjamin Watkins, mayor of Harlem, praised Rev. Moon for his efforts to revive the arts and improve the community for the sake of the future. "We need people like Rev. Moon," he said, "to help us, and especially our children, to learn again what is body, mind, spirit, and especially soul."
Barbara Raskob, president of the 34th Street Midtown Association, enthusiastically endorsed the renovation. She said her council members were "very excited to hear of the plan to restore the Manhattan Opera House" as a cultural center.
To this end, the Manhattan Opera House Foundation has been formed and a husband-wife architect team selected for the design. Nicholas Thompson and Claire Ferrier have made a name for themselves restoring many of Britain's great theaters. The eighth floor of the Manhattan Center complex contains a large auditorium with a recording studio, used by Metropolitan Opera singers and other classical artists because of its excellent acoustics. On the ninth floor is a smaller recording studio used for recording rock music.