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Party Watch

Opera honcho celebrates special birthday in high style with arias, admirers and Ring Cycle cake

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5 Patrick Summers, from left, John Mendelsohn and Perryn Leech at Perryn Leech's 50th birthday party April 2014
Patrick Summers, from left, Dr. John Mendelsohn and Perryn Leech. Photo by © Priscilla Dickson
8 Scotty and Jana Arnoldy at Perryn Leech's 50th birthday party April 2014
Scotty and Jana Arnoldy. Photo by © Priscilla Dickson
2 Birthday cake with the Rheinmaidens from Wagner's Ring at Perryn Leech's 50th birthday party April 2014
Birthday cake with the Rheinmaidens from Wagner's Ring. Photo by © Priscilla Dickson
1 Astley and Alex Blair at Perryn Leech's 50th birthday party April 2014
Astley and Alex Blair. Photo by © Priscilla Dickson
6 Perryn Leech and Beth Madison at Perryn Leech's 50th birthday party April 2014
Perryn Leech and party host Beth Madison. Photo by © Priscilla Dickson
4 Natalya Romaniw with Eric Melear on piano at Perryn Leech's 50th birthday party April 2014
Natalya Romaniw performing with Eric Melear on piano. Photo by © Priscilla Dickson
3 Dean Gladden, from left, June Christensen, Perryn Leech and Jim Nelson at Perryn Leech's 50th birthday party April 2014
Dean Gladden, from left, June Christensen, Perryn Leech and Jim Nelson. Photo by © Priscilla Dickson
5 Patrick Summers, from left, John Mendelsohn and Perryn Leech at Perryn Leech's 50th birthday party April 2014
8 Scotty and Jana Arnoldy at Perryn Leech's 50th birthday party April 2014
2 Birthday cake with the Rheinmaidens from Wagner's Ring at Perryn Leech's 50th birthday party April 2014
1 Astley and Alex Blair at Perryn Leech's 50th birthday party April 2014
6 Perryn Leech and Beth Madison at Perryn Leech's 50th birthday party April 2014
4 Natalya Romaniw with Eric Melear on piano at Perryn Leech's 50th birthday party April 2014
3 Dean Gladden, from left, June Christensen, Perryn Leech and Jim Nelson at Perryn Leech's 50th birthday party April 2014

What: Houston Grand Opera general manager Perryn Leech's 50th birthday party.

Where: The Uptown Park high-rise residence of Beth Madison, former HGO board chair.

The 411: The Rheinmaiden-themed birthday cake, a nod to HGO's upcoming production of Das Rheingold, was the clincher of Leech's birthday celebration where 75 admirers turned out to help blow out the candles. Madison put on the hospitality for guests who supped on traditional British fare, a nod to Leech's heritage, including fish and chips, bubble and squeak and Shepherd's pie. The clever chocolate cake from Michael Nee and Elegant Events served as a topical dessert, with representations of the water-nymphs who appear in Richard Wagner's famed opera cycle.

As special entertainment HGO Studio artist Natalya Romaniw sang a special version of La Boheme's "Musetta's Waltz" honoring Leech's special day. She was accompanied by HGO associate music director, Eric Melear, on piano.

Who: HGO board chair Dr. John Mendelsohn, artistic and music director Patrick Summers, Caroline Leech, Jana and Scotty Arnoldy, Alex and Astley Blair, and a trio of arts leaders — the Alley Theatre's Dean Gladden, Society for the Performing Arts' June Christensen and Houston Ballet's Jim Nelson.

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HTX Ready to Jingle 2014