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.

Search

Recently on All Over Albany

Morning Blend

Recent rash of violence in Albany + Amanda Fries and a group of Times Union reporters looked at the 16 homicides in Albany over the... (more)

The week ahead

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

An opinion on blood plasma centers, methadone clinics, a large logo, and other 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)

Exploring Washington County

The rural, rolling hills of Washington County are just about an hour northeast of Albany on a scenic ride along Route 40. The county is... (more)

Morning Blend

Next Albany police chief + Kathy Sheehan has appointed Eric Hawkins to be the next Albany police chief. He's currently the police chief in Southfield,... (more)

Recent Comments

... The theft itself of this important Native American artifact is an important part of its story. It's really a miracle that almost 70 years later that the Cornplanter pipe tomahawk ended up back at the State Museum, instead of remaining in someone's secret, private collection acquired illicitly, or even worse, not cared for professionally and therefore damaged, destroyed, or lost forever.

Exploring Washington County

...has 3 comments, most recently from SuburbanSlumming

Scanning that New York State Department of Health report that argues the case for legalizing recreational marijuana

...has 12 comments, most recently from Megan m

The Cornplanter pipe tomahawk

...has 2 comments, most recently from Ed

Morning Blend for Jul 20

...has 1 comment, most recently from Amy

Local places to buy head scarves?

...has 2 comments, most recently from Summer