Austin | Dallas | Houston
Grand Opera Ball

With dancers in swimsuits, a soprano on stage and flowers galore, Opera Ball is spectacular

Enlarge
Slideshow
Patrick Summers, from left, Margaret Alkek Williams and Perryn Leech at the Opera Ball April 2014
Patrick Summers, left, with Opera Ball chair Margaret Wiliams and Perryn Leech. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
20 Carmen Dancers at the Opera Ball April 2014
The "pool dance," performed by a New York dance troupe, an Opera Ball first. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
33 Donna and Bob Bruni at the Opera Ball April 2014.
Donna and Bob Bruni. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
30 Carolyn Farb and Peter Remington at the Opera Ball April 2014
Carolyn Farb and Peter Remington. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
Houston Grand Opera Ball April 2014 Al Lasher, Hayden McGuiness
Al Lasher and Hayden McGuiness. Photo by Wilson Parish
7 Jason and Lindley Arnoldy at the Opera Ball April 2014.
Jason and Lindley Arnoldy. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
8 Bradley Wyatt and Lynn Wyatt at the Opera Ball April 2014
Bradley Wyatt and Lynn Wyatt. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
Lynn Guggolz, Brandon Jovanovich, Zane Carruth, Brady Carruth at the Opera Ball April 2014
Lynn Guggolz, from left, Brandon Jovanovich and Zane and Brady Carruth. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
19 The venue at the Opera Ball April 2014
"Fleurs de l'Opera" inspired a brilliant decor in Wortham Theater Center.
 
Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
3 Alex and Astley Blair at the Opera Ball April 2014
Alex and Astley Blair. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
9 Bill and Andrea White at the Opera Ball April 2014
Former Mayor Bill White and Andrea White. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
2 Carol and Mike Linn at the Opera Ball April 2014
Carol and Mike Linn. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
12 Karen and Mel Payne, from left, with Diane Lokey Farb at the Opera Ball April 2014
Karen and Mel Payne, from left, with Diane Lokey Farb. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
5 Ellie and Mike Francisco at the Opera Ball April 2014
Ellie and Michael Francisco. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
17 Carmen Dancers at the Opera Ball April 2014
"Sing, Sing, Sing" opening number for New York dance troupe that will perform in Carmen Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
36 Fady Armanious, from left Chris Goins and David Peck at the Opera Ball April 2014
Fady Armanious, from left, Chris Goins and David Peck. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
16 Gracie Cavnar, left, and Trisha Dewhurst at the Opera Ball April 2014
Gracie Cavnar, left, and Trisha Dewhurst. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
11 Dr. Devinder and Gina Bhati at the Opera Ball April 2014
Dr. Devinder and Gina Bhati. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
27 Kristy and Chris Bradshaw at the Opera Ball April 2014
Kristy and Chris Bradshaw. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
13 Annie Tan, from left, B.J. Junvijit and Tana Tongsirikul at the Opera Ball April 2014
Annie Tan, from left, B.J. Junvijit and Tana Tongsirikul. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
Al Lasher and Cristina Girard at the Opera Ball April 2014
Al Lasher and Cristina Girard. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
Patrick Summers, from left, Margaret Alkek Williams and Perryn Leech at the Opera Ball April 2014
20 Carmen Dancers at the Opera Ball April 2014
33 Donna and Bob Bruni at the Opera Ball April 2014.
30 Carolyn Farb and Peter Remington at the Opera Ball April 2014
Houston Grand Opera Ball April 2014 Al Lasher, Hayden McGuiness
7 Jason and Lindley Arnoldy at the Opera Ball April 2014.
8 Bradley Wyatt and Lynn Wyatt at the Opera Ball April 2014
Lynn Guggolz, Brandon Jovanovich, Zane Carruth, Brady Carruth at the Opera Ball April 2014
19 The venue at the Opera Ball April 2014
3 Alex and Astley Blair at the Opera Ball April 2014
9 Bill and Andrea White at the Opera Ball April 2014
2 Carol and Mike Linn at the Opera Ball April 2014
12 Karen and Mel Payne, from left, with Diane Lokey Farb at the Opera Ball April 2014
5 Ellie and Mike Francisco at the Opera Ball April 2014
17 Carmen Dancers at the Opera Ball April 2014
36 Fady Armanious, from left Chris Goins and David Peck at the Opera Ball April 2014
16 Gracie Cavnar, left, and Trisha Dewhurst at the Opera Ball April 2014
11 Dr. Devinder and Gina Bhati at the Opera Ball April 2014
27 Kristy and Chris Bradshaw at the Opera Ball April 2014
13 Annie Tan, from left, B.J. Junvijit and Tana Tongsirikul at the Opera Ball April 2014
Al Lasher and Cristina Girard at the Opera Ball April 2014

Even without the stellar $2 million in proceeds, Saturday night's Houston Grand Opera Ball would have been one of the company's most memorable. With the dreamy Don Carlos from HGO's upcoming production of Carmen at the dinner table, with Carmen, aka Ana Maria Martinez, on stage and with dancers in '50s-era bathing suits rollicking across the Wortham Theater Center Grand Foyer, it was a spectacular evening.

Philanthropist Margaret Alkek Williams, who studied voice and at one time sang in the HGO chorus, chaired the "Fleurs de l'Opera" white-tie evening.

The floral theme was her inspiration, a concept that led The Events Co. to create a grand ballroom decor with flower-bedecked wall coverings, silk flower tablecloths (flown in from France) and opera marquees done up in sheaths of flowers a la a Rose Bowl parade float. Even the massive chandeliers were covered in flowers. 

For their first number "Sing, Sing, Sing," the prancing gents dressed in white-tie and the femmes in golden vintage cocktail dresses.  

Distinguishing this evening from previous opera balls were two dance sets choreographed by Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Rob Ashford, fresh from staging last month's Academy Awards. He was accompanied by 12 dancers from New York, who will be performing in Carmen. For their first number "Sing, Sing, Sing," the prancing gents dressed in white-tie and the femmes in golden vintage cocktail dresses. The second set was the acrobatic bathing suit number, referred to as a pool dance, performed to "Stardust."

Later in the evening, Martinez took the spotlight, mesmerizing the 550 guests with "Seguidille" from Carmen and "Carceleras" from Las Hijas del Zebedeo.

Even the most jaded of black-tie gala patrons would have to admit that this was one exceptional night — a night that surely brought smiles to HGO artistic and music director Patrick Summers and managing director Perryn Leech.

As a special touch, table settings included not only a massive centerpiece of flowers but also nosegays for each of the ladies, the flowers in the small arrangements the same as in the varied centerpieces. More than a few guests picked up on the flower theme. Joanne King Herring wore a garland of white orchids cascading down from her coif, compliments of Flowers by Nino while Cristina Girard carried a towering faux gerber daisy as if it were an umbrella.

Lucky Lynn Guggolz, she needed no flowers as she was escorted by Brandon Jovanovich, the towering and oh-so-handsome tenor who stars as Don Carlos in Carmen.

Among the beautiful people applauding the spectacular night that included a scrumptious dinner by Jackson and Co. and dancing to the Richard Brown Orchestra were Pat and Dan Breen, Cynthia and Tony Petrello, Lynn Wyatt and son Bradley, Michelle and Frank Hervdejs, Zane and Brady Carruth, Carol and Hugh Ray, Cabrina and Steve Owsley, Donna and Bob Bruni, Carol and Mike Linn, Diane Lokey Farb, Bobbie and John Nau and on and on.

Look for upcoming CultureMap coverage of the beautiful gowns worn by the ladies attending the Opera Ball.

Newsletters for exploring your city

Daily Digest

Houston news, views + events

The Dining Report

News you can eat

Insider Offers

Curated experiences at exclusive prices

Promo Alerts

Special offers + exclusive deals

We will not share or sell your email address