The Houston Grand Opera Opening Night Gala, photographed here in 2011, will be one of a number of fall 2020 galas on ice due to COVID-19. (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Isabel & Danny David (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Miles Smith & Robin Angly (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Lynn Wyatt (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
HGO board chair Beth Madison (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Don Rosenblum, Margaret Alkek Williams, Patrick Summers (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Diane Lokey Farb, Ceron (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Houston Grand Opera managing director Perryn Leech (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Sverre & Carrie Brandsburg-Dahl (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Tracy & Valerie Dieterich (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Soprano Ana María Martínez (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Terrie & Mike Turner (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Shelby Hodge & Shafik Rifaat (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Souvenirs from Houston Grand Opera's Opening Night Gala in 2011 (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
The party tent on Fish Plaza at Wortham Theater Center was dressed reminiscent of Italy for The Barber of Seville Opening Night Gala. (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Houston Grand Opera’s annual Opening Night Gala in October has been, through the years, one of the loveliest black-tie evenings on the calendar. Celebrations under a party tent on Fish Plaza in front of Wortham Theater Center have been gilded affairs noted for the posh decor, divine dinner and the stylish coterie of swans and gents. With the absence of that glorious event this fall, thank you COVID-19, we wistfully look back to the gala evening of 2011.
Spirits ran high following HGO‘s raucous production of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. After all, it’s one of the rare operas in which no one dies and no hearts are broken. The happy ending guaranteed a happy ending to the evening that was chaired by HGO patrons John Turner and Jerry Fischer of Baton Rouge.
As I wrote in covering the party for CultureMap, “Such was the enthusiasm of this sophisticated gathering that tables weren’t seated until well past most of the patrons’ bedtimes, the herald trumpets had strong competition from the happy chatter and the party didn’t end until well past the midnight bewitching hour.”
Key in the evening’s program was honoree Glen Rosenbaum, who headed the HGO board for two years and was introduced by then-board chair Beth Madison. HGO artistic and music director Patrick Summers introduced the cast and crew, who were met with exuberant cheers and applause. Special guest on this evening was the beloved David Gockley, who had served as HGO general director from 1972 to 2005, and had been general director of the San Francisco Opera since 2006.
Those sitting down to an Italian-inspired dinner from Tony’s included HGO managing director Perryn Leech, Lynn Wyatt, Margaret Alkek Williams, Isabel and Danny David, Valerie and Tracy Dieterich, Divya and Chris Brown, Brigitt Van Wijk, Diane Lokey Farb, Ceron, Janae and Kenny Tsai, and Terrie and Mike Turner,