It was a brilliant evening of roses, ruffles and mucho dinero as Houston Grand Opera took an Iberian turn with its annual white-tie-and-tails gala, this year playing on the theme of España. With 17,000 roses on display and 450 guests in gala splendor, the magical night raised $1.3 million.
Gala chairs Robin Angly and Miles Smith selected the theme that played out magnificently in the Grand Foyer of Wortham Theater Center. The glitterati were thoroughly transported by the near-embarrassing riches of roses, 1,600 dahlias and swags of bougainvillea all combined with images of matadors and flamenco dancers and a vast mural of a flower-decked Spanish arcade.
Of the spectacular decor, HGO managing director Perryn Leech said, "Richard Flowers (The Events Co.) is a great collaborator and we get to play with him and do beautiful, beautiful settings like this tonight."
Classical guitars started the entertainment that crescendoed with a fiery performance by Juan Siddi Flamenco from Santa Fe, N.M., a seductive song and dance presentation that had more than a few ladies considering taking up flamenco.
The theme not only set the lavish tone of the decor but also inspired many of the swans to dress in red beginning with ball chair Angly in Naeem Khan and including Lynn Wyatt in Valentino, Jana Arnoldy in Alexander McQueen, Margaret Alkek Williams in Ripetto, Barbara LeGrange in Valentino, Lisa Frantz in Monique Lhuillier and Mary D'Andrea in vintage Valentino.
The theme not only set the lavish tone of the decor but also inspired many of the swans to dress in red.
Houston Grand Opera music and artistic director Patrick Summers, discussing the importance of the evening said, "This is a night when HGO and the community come together to raise money for the company and to celebrate our mutual passion for the art form."
Among those displaying their opera passions were Cynthia and Tony Petrello, Beth Madison, Glen Rosenbaum, Diane Lokey Farb with Mark Sullivan, Dian and Harlan Stai, Donna and Bob Bruni, Kevin Black and Tony Bradfield, Pat and Dan Breen, Frances Marzio, Anna Dean, Denise Bush Bahr and Philipp Bahr and the talented team from City Kitchen which served a four-course Spanish-inspired dinner.
See a video of the stunning opera ball here.