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A new James Bond sweeps down from the rafters to solve "theft" at fun-filled gala

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5 The crowd at the Mercury Baroque Gala March 2014.
Mercury holds it annual gala on stage at Wortham Theater Center. Photo by Morris Malakoff
18 Christine and Jan Spin
Gala cairs Christine and Jan Spin. Photo by Morris Malakoff
11 Carol and Joel Morhman, from left, with Lynn Wyatt at the Mercury Baroque Gala March 2014
Carol and Joel Mohrman, left, with Lynn Wyatt. Photo by Morris Malakoff
22 Deana and Larry Blackburn, from left, and Tina Raham Stewart and Jonathan Stewart at the Mercury Baroque Gala March 2014
Deana and Larry Blackburn, left, with Tina Raham Stewart and Jonathan Stewart. Photo by Morris Malakoff
23 Janine Iannarelli, from left, Andrew Fish and Carol Hunton at the Mercury Baroque Gala March 2014
Janine Iannarelli, left, Andrew Fish and Carol Hunton. Photo by Morris Malakoff
15 Antoine Plante, from left, Julia Little and Blake Eskew at the Mercury Baroque Gala March 2014
Antoine Plante, from left, Julia Little and Blake Eskew. Photo by Morris Malakoff
30 Matt Archer and Hillary Holmes Archer, from left, and Rahim and Erin Oberholtzer at the Mercury Baroque Gala March 2014
Matt Archer, from left, Hillary Holmes Archer and Rahim and Erin Oberholtzer. Photo by Morris Malakoff
34 Steve Burkett, from left, Margeret Lombaro, David and Tyri Centanni and Linda Eyles at the Mercury Baroque Gala March 2014
Steve Burkett, from left, Margeret Lombaro, David and Tyri Centanni and Linda Eyles. Photo by Morris Malakoff
27 Maria Lin, left, and Brenda Gonzalez at the Mercury Baroque Gala March 2014
Maria Lin, left, and Brenda Gonzalez. Photo by Morris Malakoff
24 Todd Ramos, from left, Shelly Ann Marks and Jeff Gremillion at the Mercury Baroque Gala March 2014
Todd Ramos, Shelly Ann Marks and Jeff Gremillion. Photo by Morris Malakoff
35 Todd and Marisa Womble, from left, and Reena and Suchit Majmudar at the Mercury Baroque Gala March 2014
Todd and Marisa Womble, from left, and Reena and Suchit Majmudar. Photo by Morris Malakoff
13 Andres Gonzalez, from left, with Jan and Greg Davis at the Mercury Baroque Gala March 2014
Andres Gonzalez, from left, with Jan and Greg Davis. Photo by Morris Malakoff
10 Sinage theme at the Mercury Baroque Gala March 2014 at the Mercury Baroque Gala March 2014
Antoine Plante's image a la James Bond on the big screen. Photo by Morris Malakoff
3 The venue at the Mercury Baroque Gala March
The Brown Theater at Wortham Center provided a dramatic setting for the gala. Photo by Morris Malakoff
news, martini and champagne, march 2014
Shaken, not stirred. Photo by Morris Malakoff
5 The crowd at the Mercury Baroque Gala March 2014.
18 Christine and Jan Spin
11 Carol and Joel Morhman, from left, with Lynn Wyatt at the Mercury Baroque Gala March 2014
22 Deana and Larry Blackburn, from left, and Tina Raham Stewart and Jonathan Stewart at the Mercury Baroque Gala March 2014
23 Janine Iannarelli, from left, Andrew Fish and Carol Hunton at the Mercury Baroque Gala March 2014
15 Antoine Plante, from left, Julia Little and Blake Eskew at the Mercury Baroque Gala March 2014
30 Matt Archer and Hillary Holmes Archer, from left, and Rahim and Erin Oberholtzer at the Mercury Baroque Gala March 2014
34 Steve Burkett, from left, Margeret Lombaro, David and Tyri Centanni and Linda Eyles at the Mercury Baroque Gala March 2014
27 Maria Lin, left, and Brenda Gonzalez at the Mercury Baroque Gala March 2014
24 Todd Ramos, from left, Shelly Ann Marks and Jeff Gremillion at the Mercury Baroque Gala March 2014
35 Todd and Marisa Womble, from left, and Reena and Suchit Majmudar at the Mercury Baroque Gala March 2014
13 Andres Gonzalez, from left, with Jan and Greg Davis at the Mercury Baroque Gala March 2014
10 Sinage theme at the Mercury Baroque Gala March 2014 at the Mercury Baroque Gala March 2014
3 The venue at the Mercury Baroque Gala March
news, martini and champagne, march 2014

Not since 007 Sir Roger Moore rappelled down the side of the Baron Ricky di Portanova home on River Oaks Boulevard has H-Town experienced a more surprising James Bond moment than when Mercury founder and artistic director Antoine Plante unexpectedly descended from the rafters of Wortham Theater Center to solve a puzzling crime.

That was Saturday night when close to 250 supporters of "the orchestra redefined" gathered on the Brown Theater stage for the "Mercury Royale" soirée. Gents in white dinner jackets, gaming tables and playing cards serving as table placements were just part of the Bond/casino-themed evening.

Plante solved the "theft" as honorary chair Deana Blackburn was nabbed wearing the spectacular earrings from Valobra. 

Leading up to Plante's unorthodox arrival was an absorbing video channeling James Bond film intros, complete with silhouettes of Plante firing his pistol a la 007 and of fit femmes in leotards gyrating across the screen. Ben Doyle's Runaway Productions produced the video that told the story, written by Plante, of a jewelry heist from Valobra. Background music for the antics on the big screen was performed by Mercury musicians and the Richard Brown Orchestra. Think "The James Bond Theme," "Live and Let Die" and "You Only Live Twice."

Plante solved the "theft" when he nabbed honorary chair Deana Blackburn, who was wearing the spectacular earrings that Valobra had created as a raffle prize for the fundraiser. Live and big board auctions ensued, followed by Richard Brown dance tunes and late-night play at the gaming tables.

The performance with Mercury musicians included "Palladio" by Karl Jenkins and "Waltz" from Serenade for String by Tchaikovsky.

Chairs Christine and Jan Spin oversaw the gala for which St.John Flynn, program director at Classical 91.7/Houston Public Media, served as emcee. 

The Bond production was a clever entertainment for fans of the orchestra that presents a full season of early music concerts in Wortham Center and conducts five neighborhood concert series across the city.

Applauding the James Bond ruse were Carol and Joel Mohrman, Larry Blackburn, Lyl and Andrew Harvin, Lynn Wyatt, Lori Muratta, Janine Inannarelli, Andrew Fish, Jan and Greg Davis, Barbara and Stephen Hall, Marisa and Todd WombleMargaret Lombaro and Steve Burkett.

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