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Houston’s Grand Opera Return is Made Even Sweeter by Astros’ Win — Beautiful Music and Baseball Fireworks

A Truly Glamorous Night

BY // 10.26.21

The diva and her lover might have been stabbed to death at the conclusion of Houston Grand Opera’s season opener, Carmen, but shortly after guests emerged from Wortham Theater Center there was much joy. The Houston Astros had won the pennant and celebratory fireworks were popping across the night sky.

Indeed, it was a night for celebrating on many levels. Almost two years since its last Wortham Center production thanks to COVID-19, Houston Grand Opera was back. And patrons were back, even if they were required to wear their masks throughout the production. None could have been happier with the return than HGO artistic and music director Patrick Summers.

As a further note of health precautions, for the first time in the history of these gala evenings, the cast and creative team from the production were not seated with patrons during the dinner.

The black-tie opening night fundraiser also celebrated the arrival of HGO’s new general director and CEO Khori Dastoor, making her debut for many of the opera fans. She jumped right in applauding her company colleagues whom she noted had once again showed profound resilience in the face of adversity — which she is inspired, humbled and honored by as she takes the helm at HGO.

The lively celebration that followed the performance was helmed by HGO patrons Betty and Jess Tutor, she appropriately dressed in the color of the night, red, as were many of the ladies among the 370 guests sitting down for dinner.

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The party tent on Fish Plaza in front of Wortham Theater Center was setting for the Carmen-themed dinner that followed the Houston Grand Opera season opener. (Photo by Alida Bonifaz)

The Events Company created a stunning backdrop for the glamorous clutch of opera goers with tented walls draped in crimson, colorful floral designs, swaths of black lace and a stunning larger-than-life portrait of “Carmen.”

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The City Kitchen dinner was also inspired by the Spanish heritage of the opera. The menu included poached shrimp and jumbo lump crabmeat salad with piquillo pepper remoulade, pan roasted Red Bird Farms chicken breast with apricots, pistachios and a Madeira reduction, twice baked potato with Manchego cheese, scallions and pimento, and an inspired Tarta de Santiago with almonds and white chocolate mousse, coffee ice cream and caramel sauce.

Joella Mach and Steve Mach and Beth Madison – Wilson Parish
Joella & Steve Mach, Beth Madison at the Houston Grand Opera opening night dinner following the production of Carmen. (Photo by Wilson Parish)

PC Seen: Margaret Alkek Williams, Dr. Giuseppe Colasurdo, Matt Ringel, Sara Morgan, Lynn Wyatt, Drs. Elizabeth and Warren Ellsworth, Ann and Jonathan Ayre, Brenda Harvey Taylor, Glen Rosenbaum, Geraldina and Scott Wise, Astley Blair, Kelly and David Rose, Anna and Brad Eastman, Mariana Servitje, Karen and Murry Penner, Tom Ajamie, Sallie Sargent, Linda and Dr. Walter McReynolds, and Penny and Paul Loyd.

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