The Dallas Opera "First Night" 2011

Red Carpets + Romance

Christina Geyer  |  Photos by Shannon Faulk, Mike Gibson
December 01, 2011
Event Date:
October 21, 2011

The fusion of fashion, art and performance at the Winspear Opera House during The Dallas Opera’s “First Night” celebration exploded with aplomb. Forward-thinking Opera CEO Keith Cerny and First Night chairman Kaki Hopkins set out to revamp the gala and flip the de rigueur opening-night event on its head. Little could we have envisioned the over-the-top scene that unfolded, all in the name of lifting the curtain on The Dallas Opera’s first performance of the season: a dramatic showing of Lucia di Lammermoor. To set the stage for Opera’s A-listers, red-carpet chairmen Marisa Huckin and Rhonda Sargent Chambers teamed with Hopkins to create a paparazzi-worthy marvel among the bustling Arts District environs. A scarlet carpet lined with cheering onlookers led the way to the Winspear, flanked by dozens of photographers for whom the social swells posed prolifically. We spotted Blaine Nelson, Jackie and Michael George, and hordes of honorary chairmen, including Joy and Ronald Mankoff, Holly and Tom Mayer, Erika and Richard Schulze, Joanna and Peter Townsend, and Ellen and Don Winspear. Indeed, there was reason for the countless flashbulbs, as five top guests were wearing out-of-the-ordinary gowns. D’Andra Simmons, Liz Kimple, Tanya Foster, Shannon Skokos, and Linda Ivy were each paired with a fashion designer (Geoffrey Henning, Nha Khanh, Abi Ferrin, Michael Faircloth, and Nicolas Vallalba, respectively), who took to the taffeta and chiffon to create one-of-a-kind looks inspired by The Dallas Opera’s upcoming performances. Since this was a fête of such grand proportions, it lasted well into the wee hours, concluding with a decadent, midnight dinner (by Wolfgang Puck Catering, natch) chaired by Amy and Vernon Falconer and held in a glammed-up gala tent in Annette Strauss Square.