Society / Featured Parties

A Truly Glittering Scene Sends Houston Grand Opera Soaring to a $600,000 Night — An Opener and a Feast to Remember

The Stars Turn Out and a Record Number of Guests Do Too

BY // 10.25.22
photography Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com

As expected, the beautiful courtesan died. But the party must go on and so it did at the close of Houston Grand Opera’s season opener of Verdi’s La Traviata. Following Violetta’s sorrowful demise, a record number of patrons, donning their black-tie best and leaving broken hearts behind, swanned from Wortham Theater Center to Fish Plaza for a glittering finale to the evening.

The scene in the party tent was no less lavish than Violetta’s champagne-infused soirée. Sparkling crystal chandeliers and candelabra; swaths of white roses, orchids and hydrangeas; and the gilded table cloths set the stage for a most splendid evening.

HGO Oct 21 tent (Photo by Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com)
The elaborate decor from The Events Company for the Houston Grand Opera opening night dinner. (Photo by Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com)

Molly and Jim Crownover, chairs of the late night féte, contributed to the operatic ambience with their dinner table set for 16 and swaddled in vast stretches of flowers and greenery and a plethora of candles. The opulent decor came courtesy of Richard Flowers and The Events Company.

The evening honored a duo of former HGO board chairs and their spouses — Janet Carrig accompanied her husband, John, and Allyn Risley accompanied by his wife Jill — for their resolute leadership in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Houston Grand Opera (Photo by Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com)
Tracy & Valerie Dieterich, Betty
& Jess Tutor at Houston Grand Opera’s Opening Night Dinner (Photo by Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com)

Highlight of the post-performance event was introduction of the opera stars, introduced by Houston Grand Opera general director and CEO Khori Dastoor and HGO artistic director Patrick Summers. Just as the cast received rounds of standing ovations following the performance, the record number of opening night dinner guests (approaching 500) rewarded them again by rising from their seats in gratitude.

Of special note was Dastoor’s dedication of the performance to Ukranian baritone Andrei Kymach the 2019 first prize winner of the prestigious BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition. This was his Houston Grand Opera and American debut as Alfredo’s father Giorgio Germont.

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Further opera buzz on this evening was the HGO debut of Grammy Award winning soprano Angel Blue, whose incredible performance as the courtesan Violetta inspired Tracy Dieterich to declare her “the Pavarotti of sopranos.”

Houston Grand Opera (Photo by Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com)
The ‘La Traviata’ cast and conductor attemdomg Houston Grand Opera’s Opening Night Dinner along with Patrick Summers. (Photo by Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com)

By the time dinner was served, this celebrating throng was ready for the City Kitchen feast. By the time we reached valet, it was 1:10 am, and close to $600,000 had been raised for HGO.

PC Seen: HGO board chair Claire Liu and Joe Greenberg, Donna Kaplan and Richard Lydecker, Cynthia and Tony Petrello, Margaret Alkek Williams, Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, Brenda and Marc Watts, Diana and Russell Hawkins, Ann and Karl Stern, Linda and Walter McReynolds, Valerie Dieterich, Lynn Wyatt, Dian and Harlan Stai, Lauren Randle, Betty and Jess Tutor, Jennifer and Ben Fink, Tom Ajamie, Astley Blair, and Drs. Ishwaria and Vivek Subbiah.

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