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Houston Grand Opera opening night crowd channels Paris splendor at La Bohème celebration

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010, Houston Grand Opera, La Boheme dinner party, October 2012, Jana Arnoldy, Scotty Arnoldy
Jana Arnoldy, Scotty Arnoldy Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
016, Houston Grand Opera, La Boheme dinner party, October 2012, Jim Crownover, Molly Crownover
Jim Crownover, Molly Crownover Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
018, Houston Grand Opera, La Boheme dinner party, October 2012, Rudy Avelar, Brenda Harvey, Perryn Leech
Rudy Avelar, Brenda Harvey, Perryn Leech Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
021, Houston Grand Opera, La Boheme dinner party, October 2012,  Beth Madison, Ralph Burch
Beth Madison, Ralph Burch Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
026, Houston Grand Opera, La Boheme dinner party, October 2012, Franci Crane, Gary Tinterow
Franci Crane, Gary Tinterow Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
013, Houston Grand Opera, La Boheme dinner party, October 2012, Glen Rosenbaum, Sue Smith, Lester Smith
Glen Rosenbaum, Sue Smith, Lester Smith Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
015, Houston Grand Opera, La Boheme dinner party, October 2012, John Caird, Lynn Wyatt
John Caird, Lynn Wyatt Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
014, Houston Grand Opera, La Boheme dinner party, October 2012, Dan Breen, Pat Breen, Robert Bruni, Donna Bruni
Dan Breen, Pat Breen, Robert Bruni, Donna Bruni Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
003, Houston Grand Opera, La Boheme dinner party, October 2012, Frank Hevrdejs, Michelle Hevrdejs
Frank Hevrdejs, Michelle Hevrdejs Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
012, Houston Grand Opera, La Boheme dinner party, October 2012, Danny David, Isabel David, Denise Bush Bahr, Philip Bahr
Danny David, Isabel David, Denise Bush Bahr, Philip Bahr Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
019, Houston Grand Opera, La Boheme dinner party, October 2012, Sten Gustafson, Sofia Adrogue, Dr. Kelli Cohen Fein, Martin Fein
Sten Gustafson, Sofia Adrogue, Dr. Kelli Cohen Fein, Martin Fein Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
009, Houston Grand Opera, La Boheme dinner party, October 2012, Kenneth Tsai, Janae Tsai, Divya Brown, Chris Brown
Kenneth Tsai, Janae Tsai, Divya Brown, Chris Brown Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
022, Houston Grand Opera, La Boheme dinner party, October 2012, Paul Somerville, Kristina Hornberger
Paul Somerville, Kristina Hornberger Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
024, Houston Grand Opera, La Boheme dinner party, October 2012, Robert Hunziker, Cristi Gore
Robert Hunziker, Cristi Gore Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
007, Houston Grand Opera, La Boheme dinner party, October 2012, Sverre Brandsberg-Dahl, Carrie Brandsberg-Dahl
Sverre Brandsberg-Dahl, Carrie Brandsberg-Dahl Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
008, Houston Grand Opera, La Boheme dinner party, October 2012, Toan Nguyen, Tami Ernst
Toan Nguyen, Tami Ernst Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
002, Houston Grand Opera, La Boheme dinner party, October 2012, Gema Banks, Sam Banks
Gema Banks, Sam Banks Photo by © Michelle Watson/CultureMapSNAP.com
010, Houston Grand Opera, La Boheme dinner party, October 2012, Jana Arnoldy, Scotty Arnoldy
016, Houston Grand Opera, La Boheme dinner party, October 2012, Jim Crownover, Molly Crownover
018, Houston Grand Opera, La Boheme dinner party, October 2012, Rudy Avelar, Brenda Harvey, Perryn Leech
021, Houston Grand Opera, La Boheme dinner party, October 2012,  Beth Madison, Ralph Burch
026, Houston Grand Opera, La Boheme dinner party, October 2012, Franci Crane, Gary Tinterow
013, Houston Grand Opera, La Boheme dinner party, October 2012, Glen Rosenbaum, Sue Smith, Lester Smith
015, Houston Grand Opera, La Boheme dinner party, October 2012, John Caird, Lynn Wyatt
014, Houston Grand Opera, La Boheme dinner party, October 2012, Dan Breen, Pat Breen, Robert Bruni, Donna Bruni
003, Houston Grand Opera, La Boheme dinner party, October 2012, Frank Hevrdejs, Michelle Hevrdejs
012, Houston Grand Opera, La Boheme dinner party, October 2012, Danny David, Isabel David, Denise Bush Bahr, Philip Bahr
019, Houston Grand Opera, La Boheme dinner party, October 2012, Sten Gustafson, Sofia Adrogue, Dr. Kelli Cohen Fein, Martin Fein
009, Houston Grand Opera, La Boheme dinner party, October 2012, Kenneth Tsai, Janae Tsai, Divya Brown, Chris Brown
022, Houston Grand Opera, La Boheme dinner party, October 2012, Paul Somerville, Kristina Hornberger
024, Houston Grand Opera, La Boheme dinner party, October 2012, Robert Hunziker, Cristi Gore
007, Houston Grand Opera, La Boheme dinner party, October 2012, Sverre Brandsberg-Dahl, Carrie Brandsberg-Dahl
008, Houston Grand Opera, La Boheme dinner party, October 2012, Toan Nguyen, Tami Ernst
002, Houston Grand Opera, La Boheme dinner party, October 2012, Gema Banks, Sam Banks

Yes, in the end, Mimi died in Rodolfo's arms. Musetta, Marcello and friends clutched their aching hearts — as did many in the audience at Wortham Theater Center. But by the time the standing ovation for Houston Grand Opera's production of La Bohème had subsided, a lighter mood prevailed, particularly among the black-tie crowd headed for the party tent on Fish Plaza.

No doubt, the HGO season opener and gala post-performance dinner celebration stands as one of the premier evenings of the fall social season. Just check the all-star cast of Friday's opening night gala — glam chairs Jana and Scotty Arnoldy (fresh from IAH after a pheasant shoot in France) and honorees the much-admired Molly and Jim Crownover. Add HGO board chair Beth Madison, on the arm of the dashing Ralph Burch, as well as the charming Perryn Leech, HGO managing director, and Patrick Summers, director of international acclaim and HGO artistic and music director.

The beautifully-decorated party tent easily evoked the splendor of Paris' Café Momus as white-jacketed waiters swirled through offering flutes of champagne on silver trays. The divinely turned-out crowd of 400 celebrated the season launch including the recently-engaged Kristina Hornberger and Paul Somerville and tuxedo-attired Brenda Harvey, the HGO board member selected as guest conductor (an HGO tradition) for The Star Spangled Banner.

Had there been a standing ovation in the party tent, it would have gone to Tony Vallone for the three-course dinner that had guests raving about the truffle-scented duck confit salad, the seared snapper entree and the light-as-air chocolate dessert.

The roster of beautiful people in the crowd included Lynn Wyatt on the arm of La Bohème director John Caird, Donna and Bob Bruni, Michelle and Frank Hevrdejs, Cynthia and Tony Peterello, April and Tom Lykos, Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, Pat and Dan Breen, Jeanie Kilroy, Linda and Dr. Walter McReynolds, Franci Crane and Museum of Fine Arts Houston director Gary Tinterow and Christopher Gardner.

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