Shelby's Social Diary

Tragedy left onstage as Houston Grand Opera celebrates 60th season with lavish party

Tragedy left onstage as HGO celebrates new season with lavish party

Bobbie and Phoebe Tudor, from left, and Jana and John Scott Scotty Arnoldy at the HGO Opening Night Celebration October 2014
Bobbie and Phoebe Tudor, left, with Jana and Scotty Arnoldy. Photo by © Priscilla Dickson
Alex and Astley Blair at the HGO Opening Night Celebration October 2014
HGO Opening Night gala chairs Alex and Astley Blair. Photo by © Priscilla Dickson
Ralph Burch, left, and Patrick Summers at the HGO Opening Night Celebration October 2014
Ralph Burch, left, and Patrick Summers. Photo by © Priscilla Dickson
Lynn Wyatt and Simon O'Neil at the HGO Opening Night Celebration October 2014
Lynn Wyatt and Simon O'Neil. Photo by © Priscilla Dickson
Miles Smith and Robin Angly at the HGO Opening Night Celebration October 2014
Miles Smith and Robin Angly. Photo by © Priscilla Dickson
Michelle and Frank Hevrdejs at the HGO Opening Night Celebration October 2014
Michelle and Frank Hevrdejs. Photo by © Priscilla Dickson
Simon O'Neil, from left, Norman Reinhardt, Victoria Livengood, Ailyn Perez and Morris Robinson at the HGO Opening Night Celebration October 2014
Simon O'Neil, from left, Norman Reinhardt, Victoria Livengood, Ailyn Perez and Morris Robinson. Photo by © Jacob Power
John Cox at the HGO Opening Night Celebration October 2014
John Cox. Photo by © Priscilla Dickson
Dr. Lynda Chin and Dr. Ronald DePinho at the HGO Opening Night Celebration October 2014
Dr. Lynda Chin and Dr. Ron DePinho. Photo by © Jacob Power
Donna Bruni, from left, Norman Reinhardt and Soula Parassidis at the HGO Opening Night Celebration October 2014
Donna Bruni, from left, Norman Reinhardt and Soula Parassidis. Photo by © Priscilla Dickson
Bill and Sara Morgan at the HGO Opening Night Celebration October 2014
Bill and Sara Morgan. Photo by © Gary Fountain
Ailyn Perez and David Peck at the HGO Opening Night Celebration October 2014
Ailyn Perez and David Peck. Photo by © Priscilla Dickson
Aaron and Sarah Stai, from left, with Harlan Stai at the HGO Opening Night Celebration October 2014
Aaron and Sarah Stai, from left, with Harlan Stai. Photo by © Priscilla Dickson
Janet Langford Kelly and John Carrig at the HGO Opening Night Celebration October 2014
Janet Langford Kelly and John Carrig. Photo by © Priscilla Dickson
Bobbie and Phoebe Tudor, from left, and Jana and John Scott Scotty Arnoldy at the HGO Opening Night Celebration October 2014
Alex and Astley Blair at the HGO Opening Night Celebration October 2014
Ralph Burch, left, and Patrick Summers at the HGO Opening Night Celebration October 2014
Lynn Wyatt and Simon O'Neil at the HGO Opening Night Celebration October 2014
Miles Smith and Robin Angly at the HGO Opening Night Celebration October 2014
Michelle and Frank Hevrdejs at the HGO Opening Night Celebration October 2014
Simon O'Neil, from left, Norman Reinhardt, Victoria Livengood, Ailyn Perez and Morris Robinson at the HGO Opening Night Celebration October 2014
John Cox at the HGO Opening Night Celebration October 2014
Dr. Lynda Chin and Dr. Ronald DePinho at the HGO Opening Night Celebration October 2014
Donna Bruni, from left, Norman Reinhardt and Soula Parassidis at the HGO Opening Night Celebration October 2014
Bill and Sara Morgan at the HGO Opening Night Celebration October 2014
Ailyn Perez and David Peck at the HGO Opening Night Celebration October 2014
Aaron and Sarah Stai, from left, with Harlan Stai at the HGO Opening Night Celebration October 2014
Janet Langford Kelly and John Carrig at the HGO Opening Night Celebration October 2014

It was a rough night for the Venetian court when Othello was tricked into believing that Desdemona was unfaithful. Murder, mayhem and suicide ensued on stage at Wortham Theater Center as Houston Grand Opera opened its season with Verdi's Otello.

The drama of the Shakespearean tale was soon put aside by 400 black-tie attired guests, who left the tragedy behind to celebrate the opening of HGO's 60th season. The late-night gala dinner took place in a lavishly-decorated party tent on Fish Plaza in front of the Wortham.

The grand night was made even more grand by announcement  that HGO's Inspiring Performance campaign had reached its goal of $165 million.

Alex and Astley Blair chaired the evening in which the opera cast joined patrons in raising champagne glasses while in turn raising $432,000 for the opera company.

The grand night was made even more grand by announcement from the stage before the curtain rose that HGO's Inspiring Performance campaign had reached its goal of $165 million. That announcement was made by HGO board chair Dr. John Mendelsohn, who also introduced the night's celebrity conductor Ralph Burch. He had been the high bidder at last spring's opera ball on the opportunity to conduct the HGO orchestra in the "National Anthem."

Once the program got rolling in the party tent, HGO artistic and music director Patrick Summers and managing director Perryn Leech presented British opera director John Cox with the Silver Rose Award in appreciation of his four decades of artistic contributions to HGO.

Among the performers joining the dinner was Ailyn Perez (Desdemona) wearing a gown created specially for her by David Peck.

Sitting down for the gala dinner by Tony's were Donna and Bob Bruni, Lynn Wyatt, Jana and Scotty Arnoldy, Janiece Longoria and Steve Lasher, Pat and Dan Breen, Dr. Lynda Chin and Dr. Ron DePinho, Bobbie-Vee and Jerry Cooney, Molly and Jim Crownover and Francoise and Ed Djerejian.

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