Society / The Seen

A Ghost Ship and Stormy Seas Can’t Hide the Joy in Houston

Opera Season Opening Celebration Brings Out the Heavy Hitters, Signals a Harvey Comeback

BY // 10.23.18
photography Priscilla Dickson, Wilson Parish

It might have been a dark and stormy night on stage at Wortham Theater Center and a hazy, sprinkling night outside on Fish Plaza, but in the end Houston Grand Opera‘s Friday soirée was a sunny celebration of the season opener, Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman, as well as a fête rejoicing in the company’s return to the Wortham, a year after Hurricane Harvey had shut the theater down.

Once the ghost ship, with its crew of mates clad in yellow slickers, had dropped back beneath the seas, a black-tie attired contingent of more than 330 made their way across Texas Avenue for a festive late-night dinner in the Ballroom at Bayou Place.

Entering the party venue, guests stepped into a foggy scene that recalled the opera set with the image of a drifting ghost ship hovering aloft and the sounds of an ocean storm muffling the post-performance chatter, the thematic decor the work of Kirksey Gregg Productions. And in a playful nod to the performance, waitstaff  wearing yellow rain slickers greeted the well-heeled crowd.

Anne and Albert Chao chaired the evening that honored out-going board Jim Crownover and his wife, Molly, their introduction made by incoming board chair Janet Carrig. HGO managing director Perryn Leech handled the welcome and the thank yous while HGO music and artistic director Patrick Summers introduced the production’s cast.

In an exceptionally generous move, Tenenbaum Jewelers’ Tony Bradfield and Kevin Black, accompanied by Buccellati CEO Randal Soto, announced an added dimension to the HGO partnership with the jeweler. As the Buccellati representative in Houston, Tenenbaum and the highly lauded Italian jewelry house are designating a portion of proceeds from all sales from the Buccellati Opera Collection to the opera company. In addition, Tenenbaum and Buccellati contributed a pair of earrings and cufflinks from the Opera Collection for auction, an effort that brought in the handsome sum of $10,000.

Who: Cynthia and Tony Petrello, Drs. Liz Grimm and Jack Roth, John Turner and Jerry Fischer, Lynn Wyatt, Richard Lydecker and Donna Kaplan, Beau Miller, Caroline Leech, Betsy and Fred Griffin, Barbara and Ulyesse LeGrange, Linda and Willie Chiang, Drs. Ishwaria and Vivek Subbiah, Glen Rosenbaum, Rita Leader, Gary Tinterow, and Ann and Stephen Kaufman.

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