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When Carnegie Hall artistic director Clive Gillinson reached Daniele Gatti two days before the Hall’s opening night Thursday to ask him to fill in for conductor James Levine, who had to bow out for an emergency operation, the Paris-based director of the Orchestre Nationale de France was taken off guard — and quickly agreed. “If he would have given me another day to think about it, I probably would have said ‘no,’” said a visibly relieved Gatti at the post-performance dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria later that evening, after successfully leading the Boston Symphony Orchestra through their program that included pieces by Chopin, Beethoven and Debussy.
Media heavyweights made a big turnout at the event, including Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters, Charlie Rose, Mort Zuckerman and Barry Diller, who sat in a box with Oscar de la Renta and Sid and Mercedes Bass, clad in an iridescent black gown with a large red bow by de la Renta. “It’s my downtown black-tie look,” she said.