Holiday gifts: Paul Curran

opera director Paul Curran

Gifts and giving are on most everyone's mind this month. So we're asking people to share some thoughts on presents, past and present, charities, and wishes for the next year.

Next up: Paul Curran is a Glasgow, Scotland transplant living in Albany. And he's an internationally-renowned, award-winning opera director -- he's directed Rossini's La Donna del Lago at The Met the past two seasons.

What gifts would you like to get this year?
Time! More time. As I've got older I've become less and less interested in actual physical gifts. What I'd really love is time -- time to be able to spend with my partner or family... or even just with myself. Time when I can turn off all the constant "noise" such as Facebook, etc. So my ideal gift is to be able to have a drink, dinner, coffee, whatever with friends and family.

Makes me a very happy chappie! I'm a "people person." You need time for that.

What gifts would you like to give this year?
I like giving things that surprise people. I never ask anyone, "What would you like?" I love a gift being my idea of what another person might find fun or intriguing. Somebody gave me a fantastic French cheese once! It was a seriously great gift.

Sometimes it can go spectacularly wrong, though. OK, I get it that not everybody is into a 70s disco CD.

I always do gifts at the last minute -- let inspiration guide me, not Macy's sale.

What charity would you like to support?
Some years I've given no gifts at all. I'll often send messages to people with a donation in their name to charities such as Paws for Thought, an animal rescue charity, or a shelter or organization for homeless LGBT youth -- my parents threw me out of my home at age 16.

I've only once had someone tell me they thought it wasn't very nice of me not to give gifts. That person is no longer on the gifts list!

It used to make me sad -- still does -- to see drawers or closets full of Christmas gifts I'd never used or even looked at. So I take those things to Goodwill or similar. I'd prefer friends and family put the money to better use in supporting something where I feel it makes a big difference -- and that makes me smile like nothing on earth.

What is your most memorable gift?
Two things: My partner, Mike, got me a DNA kit to let me find out where I came from. I thought I'd be 50 percent split Scottish/Irish... turns out I'm a lot Mediterranean. It was an intriguing and fun gift.

Secondly, in London I had a difficult year some time ago and felt very sorry for myself. On Christmas Eve I got off my butt, filled bags and boxes with food and took it downtown to give out to homeless people who would be spending Christmas on the streets. Best gift ever was seeing those guys smile and get the chance to just chat to someone... something I'd never thought about and just took for granted.

What is your wish for the New Year?
Wow, this is a biggie. Truly, I wish people would just be kinder. Put away the tweets, Facebook, and Instagram and just listen to people without an outraged reaction. We seemed to survive a long time before without it.

I'd also wish for a direct flight to JFK or LGA... jussayin!

Compiled by Deanna Fox

More holiday gifts 2016
+ Jamel Mosely
+ Nicki Brown

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

What's All Over Albany?

All Over Albany is for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. In other words, it's for you. It's kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who can help you find out what's up. Oh, and our friends call us AOA.


Recently on All Over Albany

The week ahead

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (SPRING), to film, to... (more)

Approval for another big apartment project, Warehouse District reuse, Pine Hills demos, and more exciting tales of the Albany planning board

Exciting Tales of the Albany Planning Board is a program recorded before a live studio audience once a month in which the fates of multi-million... (more)

Flowers from the Netherlands, then

Decorative arts break: The earthenware tiles above are from the collection of the Albany Institute -- they date to around 1625 and they were made... (more)

Chuck Schumer is supporting marijuana decriminalization (and thinks legalization in states has worked out pretty well)

Chuck Schumer says he'll be introducing legislation for decriminalizing marijuana on the federal level, which would allow states to decide on the legality of recreational... (more)

History days at Cherry Hill and Ten Broeck Mansion

Historic Cherry Hill and the Ten Broeck Mansion in Albany are again hosting early May history days, this time on May 6: Historic Cherry Hill:... (more)

Recent Comments

... Also I would try a Tux shop. They do measurements for other tux shops all the time (for free), it's an industry courtesy. Waldorf Tux shop (Lark St) is an independently owned, "old school" tux shop--real sense of proper fitting---not just taking the "closest size" from the rack. ...

A look around the new Cafe Madison

...has 3 comments, most recently from BethAM

Approval for another big apartment project, Warehouse District reuse, Pine Hills demos, and more exciting tales of the Albany planning board

...has 1 comment, most recently from PK

Chuck Schumer is supporting marijuana decriminalization (and thinks legalization in states has worked out pretty well)

...has 1 comment, most recently from ace

Where to donate a virtually new mattress?

...has 10 comments, most recently from EMB

Stuff to do this weekend

...has 1 comment, most recently from Audrey