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 Womble, Margaret Lombaro and Steve Burkett.