The Social Diary ~
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Opera Gala 2006 - Noche en Espana
February 1st, 2006
by the Social Diary Columnist & Photographer Margo Schwab
January 28th, 2006 was the perfect starry
night for the 41st Gala opening of the San Diego Opera. The evening's
theme was "Noche en Espana" or Night in Spain. The Opera
opener was Gioachino Rossini's comedy, The
Barber of Seville..
(Pictured here - Drew Senyei
M.D., President, San Diego Opera, Noni Senyei, the Honorable Lorna
McKellar, and Chris McKellar)
San Diego Opera patrons gathered before
the show for the Bravissimo Patron Tent reception. Gitti Javedani
from Upstage Design decorated the tent. Event patron Sycuan
Resort & Casino catered the affair. The best of wines
and libations matched with potato latkes topped with caviar, seared
ahi, escargot tartelettes, bountiful bowls of fresh shrimp and
bite size desserts of every fashion were served.
(Pictured here are Iris
Strauss, outgoing President, San Diego Opera, Matthew Strauss,
Rossy Bryan dressed in a Spanish styled custom red gown by Sr.
Hurtado, Ingrid Hibben and Victor)
Entrancing foods were whimsically titled
with such operatic monikers as: Figaro's Flan, The
Phyllo of Seville, The Road to Ravioli, The Barber Cakes, and
the Seafood Seville's Tapas Cafe. Meanwhile the
Malamana duo performed Flamenco styled music.
Decorating the scene were the guests themselves
in fabulous tuxedoes and gowns.
Among the many standouts there were Paul James Baldwin
of Switzerland, Baldwin was there with his friends and fellow
guests Sally and John Thornton of Thornton Winery,
Alexander Grosvenor, Anita Bye of sponsoring
Sycuan Resort & Casino with her fiance Steve Matthews
(no wedding date…yet), Lorna and Chris McKellar,
Craig Grosvenor, Jennifer and Richard Greenfield (Jennifer
wore a spectacular one shoulder Carlos Miele red gown), Melissa
and Mark Grosvenor, Susan and Ronald Heller, Sheryl and Harvey
White, Ingrid Hibben with Victor, Teresa and Harry Hixson, and
Kathy and Bill Horn.
And the incredible San Diego Opera duo,
Ann and Ian Campbell were there too, of course.
Ann as Director of Strategic Planning, and Ian as General Director
for the San Diego Opera, have collectively infused more energy,
enthusiasm, and top world caliber talent into the San Diego Opera
season, year after year.
(Pictured here - Ian Campbell,
General Director, San Diego Opera, Ann Campbell, Director of Strategic
Planning, San Diego Opera, elegant in a vibrant Victor Costa gown)
More there were Rose Marie and
Charles Pipitone, and Lyndy Roda and
Greg Collard of Neiman Marcus. NM
provided the great patron gifts for the evening, Swarovski crystal
opera glasses. More there were Nina and Bob Doede, Katherine
and Kevin Faulconer, Kathryn Fishback, Debby and Wain Fishburn,
Fred Applegate, Audrey Geisel with Jim Bowers,
Lee and Frank Goldberg, Teresa Fishlowitz, Rossy and Graham Bryan,
Christopher Cowdray of The Dorchester Hotel, Cynthia Stringfellow
with Bill Ruddy, and Rana Sampson
and Mayor Jerry Sanders. Everyone wanted a minute of
the new Mayor's time and he happily obliged.
During the course of evening conversations
it was overheard, that a person's friend had their new 165 foot
mega-yacht sink, no insurance. No worries. The gentleman concerned
is a multi-billionaire.
Supervisor Pam Slater-Price was
there too with her husband Hershell Price. More joining in the
elegant evening were Clinton Walters, and Noni
and Drew Senyei M.D. Drew is the new President
of the San Diego Opera. Drew is also a very successful
venture capitalist for Enterprise Partners.
(Pictured here - Lee Goldberg,
Jennifer Greenfield with Ann Campbell, Anita Bye)
The Dow Divas
chaired the event beautifully. The dynamic group of diva delightful's
are: Iris Strauss (the outgoing President of
the San Diego Opera), Joan Jacobs, Barbara Bloom, Valerie
Cooper, Karen Cohn, Alberta Feurzeig, Roxana Foxx, Dawn Gilman,
Lee Goldberg, Jeanne Jones, Charmaine Kaplan, Wanda Kaufman, Sheila
Lipinsky, Brenda Marsh-Rebelo, Sheila Potiker, Peggy Preuss, Colette
Royston, M. Faye Wilson , Rusti Weiss, Lee Clark, Rusti Weiss,
and Pamela Wygod. Yes, that's the same
Pamela Wygod you have heard recently about on The
Social Diary for supporting ARTS
Bells were rung by the uniformed Spanish
gentlemen alerting one and all that it was time to go to the Civic
Theatre for the grand opera opening.
(Pictured here - Wanda and
Fred Kaufman, Audrey Geisel and Jim Bowers and Brenda Marsh-Rebelo)
grand it was. Sets, costumes, music, drama, and incredible singing
as the San Diego Opera's The Barber of Seville
hit all the right notes. Baritone Christopher Maltman
as Figaro, tenor Lawrence Brownlee, mezzo-soprano Kirstin
Chavez, and bass Ferruccio Furlanetto drew deserved
raves and thunderous applause. Superb casting makes The
Barber of Seville production, a 'must see' of the
San Diego Symphony accompanied the San Diego Opera
and the synergy was perfection.The finale was a theatre of applauding
and 'Bravo' cheering guests.
and CEO of San Diego National Bank Robert Horsman raved
“What a glorious and whimsical opera capped off by an elegant
and fun filled gala that had plenty of friends, food, and dancing
for all til the wee hours.”
Susan Ulevitch remarked
"The Barber of Seville performance
was excellent, I know what I like! The voices were easy to hear,
the staging and acting great. Very expressive as this comedy requires.
The San Diego Symphony was very good and clear too. The sets ...
great." As for the gala guests, Susan added "people
were really dressed . including more young people than I usually
(Wain and Debby Fishburn,
Drew Senyei, M.D., with Ivor Royston, Nina Doede and Karen Cohn)
There were many more accolades too for
the San Diego Opera Opening.
Resort & Casino Marketing Director Allan Krantz said
“If ever an event ‘exceeded one’s expectations,’
it was the San Diego Opera’s 2006 Gala. The Bravissimo Tent
and the Westgate Dinner were outstanding events but the real crown
jewel was the spectacular The Barber of Seville
with its music, comedy, costumes and sets! The only word that
comes to mind to express my feelings is… WOW!”
the WOW continued as patron guests continued to the Westgate Hotel
here - Greg Collard and Lyndy Roda of Neiman Marcus, Anita Bye
of Sycuan Resort & Casino with her fiance, Steve Matthews,
Rana Sampson with Mayor Jerry Sanders)
San Diego Opera Patron Valerie
Cooper describes the dinner festivities well. "The
dinner was at the Westgate Hotel and featured
seafood paella; there was a beautiful dessert buffet in the Versailles
Room. The amazing Jim Lennox of Pacific Events
did the décor for the whole party which stayed true to
the Spanish theme. The Versailles Room was exquisite with lots
and lots of red roses and had an intimate club feeling, it was
over the top!! All the beautiful flowers were being delivered
to the Sea Crest Retirement Home after the party
for others to enjoy. The music of Innovation was
upbeat fun and had people staying till 1:00!! It was a great way
to start the Opera season."
Diego Opera Board Member Graham Bryan added "The
Dow Diva's really showed their style this year by creating a gala
with an intimate feel."
Hixson agreed.“What a WONDERFUL evening on Saturday!!
Great and fun opera, beautiful gala, incredible food and sangria,
and what about those desserts?!”
here - Jeff Dunnigan with Charmaine Kaplan, Iris Strauss, Mayor
Jerry Sanders with Scott Johnston, Craig Grosvenor with friend)
- Drew Senyei, M.D., Supervisor Pam Slater-Price, and Ian Campbell,
Mayor Jerry Sanders with Iris Strauss)
click here to go to San Diego Opera Gala Page 2
Parties....New This Week.....Home
* Margo Schwab has
produced, written, interviewed and photographed for various media
organizations since 1989. Schwab has a B.A. degree
from Scripps College and a Masters of
Business degree from the University of San Diego.
Schwab volunteers for numerous charity organizations. She also
continues to lobby for water safety and for family violence mitigation.
Schwab is the owner and publisher of The Social Diary.
** photos, video and writing on this site are the
of the author, The Social Diary, San Diego Social Diary, margomargo.com
and Margo Schwab.
reproduction of any part or parts is allowed without written permission
by Margo Schwab