There is always something magical about the Houston Grand Opera Ball with its the dazzling array of ladies in designer gowns and jewels, gents in white-tie-and-tails, the lavish decor and, on occasion, a pleasing musical element. Saturday night's "Viva Italia" enjoyed it all with the added benefit of bringing in sumptuous proceeds of $2 million.
With Cynthia and Tony Petrello, already recognized for their beautiful entertaining talents, at the helm as ball chairs, it was no surprise that the Italian-themed evening soared.
For the record, and as it should be, Cynthia Petrello took top fashion honors in her stunning gown by Alexander McQueen.
The decor in the Grand Foyer of Wortham Center richly evoked the gardens of Villa d'Este on Lake Como with a massive mural of the famed hotel grounds and with 20,000 pink roses displayed in varying arrangements across the tables. In music selections, first by the Brookwood Community Bell Choir, then by the HGO Children's Chorus and finally by the Opera Chorus, the theme was classic Italian.
Jackson & Co. provided the exquisite Italian-inspired meal that featured braised short ribs with orzo as its main course and that had guests swooning from the lobster tortellini all the way through the trio of Italian desserts. Macchiato pot-de-creme, anyone?
For the record, and as it should be, Cynthia Petrello took top fashion honors in her stunning gown by Alexander McQueen. Also cutting beautiful swaths down the red carpet that led to the Wortham were Phoebe Tudor in Vera Wang, Lynn Wyatt in Valentino, Diane Lokey Farb in Valentino, Becca Cason Thrash in haute couture Ralph Rucci, Terrie Turner in Carolina Herrera, Joanne King Herring stunning in Cesar Galindo, Karen Payne in vintage Galanos, Margaret Williams in Ripetta, Susan Krohn in Monique Lhuillier and more than a few in Oscar de la Renta incuding Dancie Ware, Karen Mayell, Pat Breen and Ileana Trevino.
The swell party crowd included Beth Madison with Sandy Parkerson, Jana and Scotty Arnoldy, Michelle and Frank Hevrdejs, Franci and Jim Crane, Bobbie Vee and Gerald Cooney, Gracie and Bob Cavnar, Donna and Bob Bruni, Kathi Mosbacher and Mike Wheeler, Eileen and George Hricik, and, of course, Patrick Summers and Perryn Leech, the duo who lead the opera company.