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Society / Featured Parties

Houston Ballet’s Golden Anniversary Season Begins With a Four Star Night

50 Years and Plenty of Glittering Magic

BY // 09.10.19
photography Wilson Parish

As Houston Ballet launched its 50th anniversary season, four stars of the night rose to supernova level on the stage of Wortham Theater Center. Ballet principals Connor Walsh and Yuiko Kajiya soared through Stanton Welch‘s  compelling “Giselle” and, in what would be the second half of the glittering evening, honoree Lynn Wyatt and opening night dinner chair Jesse (Jay) H.  Jones II contributed their own measure of star power.

The final curtain call of the evening took place on stage amid the romantic scenery of the Welch’s 2016 production, which was underwritten by Wyatt. That gift just one example of the doyenne’s patronage of the ballet for more than three decades. Thus, the bouquet of flowers, the bon mots from Mayor Sylvester Turner, the praise from Jones and Welch and the applause from the 200 balletomanes, who remained for the post-performance dinner on stage.

“The older a person becomes,” the forever-young Wyatt noted, “the more meaningful honors like this are so very, very important. You truly touched my heart . . . I got involved in the arts because I believe that the arts are the soul of any city.”

In a nod to the golden anniversary, Wyatt shimmered in a beaded tunic over form-fitting beaded slacks. In the Green Room, bountiful bouquets of yellow roses (Wyatt’s favorite and the work of Richard Flowers of The Events Company) saluted the ballet’s 50 years. Vintage photos, enlarged to poster size, of Wyatt and her many cultural adventures lined the Green Room walls.

In a masterful and what seemed like an immediate transformation, Jackson & Company created an elegant dining salon on stage, where tables were set with gold-rimmed glasses, shimmering plates and sumptuous bouquets from Bergner & Johnson.

The first course, lobster parfait comprised of lobster, avocado, cucumber, mango and mint, had guests swooning and wondering if they had room for the main course of herb crusted medallions of beef tenderloin with a vine Zinfandel. And then there was dessert —  “Pear Royale,” a champagne poached pear stuffed with walnuts and sundried fruits baked in a crisp puff pastry and served with local wildflower honey and honey gelato and crème anglaise.

PC Seen: Houston Ballet executive director Jim Nelson, Shawn Stephens and Jim Jordan, Allison Thacker, Terry Wayne Jones, Anne and Albert Chao, Letty Loya, Heidi and Marcus Smith, Jo and Jim Fur, Duyen and Marc Nguyen, Beth Muecke, Leigh and Reggie Smith, Kelley and Stephen Lubanko, Alicia Smith, Judy and Jim Nicklos, Ann Trammell, Stephanie and Frank Tsuru, Margaret Alkek Williams, and Sara and James Parr.

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