Priceless ball gowns and flawless tuxedos hang in Houston closets, as society season in the Bayou City has come to a screeching halt due to COVID-19 concerns. But now, one local organization’s gala is giving locals a chance to dress up — or decidedly down — and enjoy a festive fête.
Ars Lyrica Houston’s 2020 spring gala, “A Star is Born,” will go fully digital on Saturday, April 25. This year, the gala and after party will be held on Facebook and Zoom with myriad interactive events and will raise money for both the organization and its newly created Artist Support Fund.
The event kicks off at 6:30 pm with the after party starting at 8 pm. Tickets are available online and in a move to increase reach, are pay-as-you-can, as opposed to the regular $700 asking price. The goal is to raise $120,000 to sustain the Ars Lyrica mission and to present authentic Baroque operas biennially. Cochairs Robin Angly and Miles Smith have offered a $25,000 matching grant this week that expires at the close of the gala.
The soiree honors operatic soprano and educator Lois Alba for her contributions to Houston’s opera scene, and for training and championing emerging young singers. It is chaired by Robin Angly and Miles Smith, founding members of Ars Lyrica's Opera Circle.
Highlights include an intimate performance by the event’s featured performer, Michelle Bradley; discount codes to select restaurants to eat and drink in style on gala night; and a pre-gala “Choose Your Own Adventure” game.
Scenesters who’ve been longing to get dolled up can don their party clothes; those who want to opt for comfort (those cumberbands and heels can get a little snug as the night progresses) can opt for pajamas. Fashionistas can look for a “pajamas-to-party-clothes” fashion show; those shy can simply turn off their cameras.
Along with trivia games, guests can shake it up in a virtual “A Star is Born” cocktail competition, with some choice prizes up for grabs.
No gala would be complete without an afterparty — this one features superstar violinist Alana Youssefian, who will serve as hostess. “Normally, we would be dancing the night away,” said Ars Lyrica’s Emma Wine, in a statement. “But since I hate dancing, I’m actually more excited about what we are planning for the virtual gala!”