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Viking Saturn is named at operatic celebration in NYC

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Viking Saturn godmother Ann Ziff used a prop sword from the Metropolitan Opera to cut the ribbon releasing a bottle of aquavit smashing on the hull
Viking ushered in its 10th ocean ship, Viking Saturn, during operatic festivities in New York with longtime cultural partner the Metropolitan Opera playing a leading role.

The celebration took place Tuesday evening on Viking Saturn's bow alongside Pier 88 of the Manhattan Cruise Terminal. Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen called it 'the big event in the Big Apple.'

Viking sword tradition

Viking has a tradition of using replica Viking swords or axes to cut the ribbons at its ship namings.

Viking Saturn godmother Ann Ziff, philanthropist, chairman of the Metropolitan Opera and a loyal Viking cruiser, chose a sword that had been carried on stage by the late baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky in 'Il Trovatore.'

Flanked by a red-robed Viking, she gave the ribbon tied to the christening bottle of aquavit such a mighty chop that the block supporting it toppled over.

And it was a lucky swing since it sent the bottle smashing on the hull.

'Thank you for giving such a strong chop ...You're a true Viking,' Viking EVP Karine Hagen said.


Viking Saturn godmother Ann Ziff, in captain's hat, flanked by a Viking and by Capt. Anders Steen, with fellow Viking godparents, from left, George Herbert, the 8th earl of Carnarvon; Sissel Kyrkjebø, Lady Fiona Carnarvon, and, far right, Karine Hagen

Other Viking godparents

Besides Karine Hagen, who served as the godmother for Viking Sea, several other Viking godparents were present.

Ziff had been handed the sword by Lady Fiona Carnarvon, the countess of Carnarvon, and godmother for Viking Mars and a Viking Longship, Viking Skadi. In the audience was George Herbert, the 8th earl of Carnarvon and godfather of Nile vessel Viking Osiris.

Norwegian superstar soprano Sissel Kyrkjebø, the godmother for Viking Jupiter, sang the Norwegian national anthem and performed with the acclaimed Norwegian violinist Tor Jaran Apold. Tenor Charles Castronovo, currently appearing as Rodolfo in Puccini's 'La Boheme' at the Metropolitan Opera, sang the US national anthem.

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Soprano Susanna Phillips, currently starring as Mimi in 'La Boheme' at the Metropolitan Opera, performs aboard Viking Saturn

Metropolitan Opera performance

After dinner, Castronovo returned to the stage — this time set up over Viking Saturn's pool — along with two other Metropolitan Opera stars from 'La Boheme,' soprano Susanna Phillips ('Mimi') and baritone Quinn Kelsey ('Musetta' and 'Marcello').

Introduced by Peter Gelb, general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, and with the Manhattan skyline as the backdrop, they performed selections from 'La Boheme,' Verdi's 'La Traviata' and Dvorak's 'Rusalka' and American favorites from Rodgers and Hammerstein and Jerome Kern, capped by 'New York, New York.'