Monday, May 7, 2007

Houston here we come

Ceron, Diane Lockey Farb, Mark Sullivan, and Mary Beth Aspromonte at Houston Grand Opera's Cinderella Ball
The Houston Grand Opera’s Cinderella Ball raised more than $1 million to help the HGO maintain its status as a world-class company and to expand its outreach program.  More than 500 resplendent in white tie and the couture ball gowns arrived at “Prince Charming’s” palace, a magically transformed Wortham Theatre Center. At 10:30 another 300, this time younger guests arrived in black tie for the Ever After Party and the place was jumping.

The evening began and ended in the Stratosphere, a six story globe-shaped tent covered in colorful laser projections created by Absolute Hollywood (from Montreal). The whole town noticed its debut on the Ray C. Fish Plaza in front of the Wortham Theatre Center.

City Kitchen prepared the four-course gourmet dinner. Throughout the evening guests were treated to a series of vignettes from the opera’s recent production of Rossini’s La Cenerentola as well as musical performances by the Paul English Trio, the Champion Sisters, soprano Rebekah Camm and the Richard Brown Orchestra.
L. to r.: Paul Helmsley, Jim Manning, Guyla Pircher, Steven Wagner, and Alvin Abraham; Elizabeth Abraham and Dr. llyas Colombowla.
There was the Avenue of Dreams along which people could stroll where keys unlocked cases containing more than one hundred secret gifts donated by Cartier and Neiman Marcus, and the Fairy Tales Come True  raffle with its six incredible prizes –a Lexus Hybrid SUV, trips to the 2008 Golden Globes with Cartier, the 75th anniversary LeMans race with Ferrari and a traditional English hunt with William Asprey.

After midnight and Cinderella’s hasty exit, the late night crowd moved on to the Stratosphere got up like a pumpkin hued hideaway for dancing, drinks and midnight breakfast.  The Ever After Party  was chaired by Justin and Lucia Hamilton. Ten top young Houstonians were selected as the Ever After Stars in recognition of their exceptional service to Houston’s civic and charitable organizations. Two of them Traci Lee and Steven Mach arrived won Public Choice Awards.

Since its inception in 1955, the Houston Grand Opera has grown from a small regional organization into an internationally renowned opera company. The company has a reputation for commissioning and producing new works (35 world premieres and six American premieres since 1973). It has toured extensively and is the only opera company to have won a Tony, two Grammy and two Emmy awards. Their productions are broadcast internationally over NPR’s World of Opera, New York City’s WQXR, the European Broadcasting Union and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Sue and Lester Smith
Gracie and Bob Cavnar
Cinderella and General Stuart Haynesworth
Liz and Tom Glanville
John and Danielle Ellis
Doug and Jennifer Bosch
Lynn Wyatt
Terri and Mike Turner
Pat Breen
Karen and Harry Pinson, Charlotte Pinson, Laural Pinson, and Jack McWilliams
Karen Ames and Jerry Cooney
Jana and Scott Arnoldy
Bob Cavnar, Gracie Cavnar, and Anthony Freud
Elizabeth and Richard Hussienni
John Evatz
Cathy Campell-Hevrdejs
Lindsey Love and Edward Sanchez
Carolyn and James Robertson
Cynthia and Anthony Petrello
Donna and John Speer
Harlan and Dian Stai with Anthony Freud
Jim Trimble and Sylvia Barnes
Mike and Karen Mayell
Ulyesse and Barbara LeGrange
Kitty and Robert Hunter
Robert and Donna Bruni
Justin and Lucia Hamilton
Mica and Robert Mosbacher
Cora Sue and Harry Mach
Angela and Tom Montalbano
Molly and Jim Crownover
Albert and Anne Chao
Jay Jones and Terry Wayne Jones

Last month in Houston, the Society for the Performing Arts (S.P.A.) raised $460,000 at their annual gala for their education and outreach programs. This year’s theme was Simply Sinatra. It proved to be an exhilarating evening filled with the music of Sinatra as sung by Steve Lippia. One of this country’s most prominent interpreters of classic pop music, Lippia moved from crisp, popping swing tunes to lush, poignant ballads. With a hot, driving band behind him, he transported the gala crowd back to the heyday of the great Sinatra era. The extravaganza was held in the Grand Foyer of Wortham Theater Center. This year’s chairs were Liz and Tom Glanville and Phoebe and Bobby Tudor. The Auction Chairs were Laura Spalding and Millette ShermanEduardo Nuñez and Tymothi O. Tombar were the 2007 Underwriting Chairman.

Adam Adams and Catherine Anspon
Other glamorous Houstonians seen in the crowd included, SPA Executive Director Georgiana Young, Leticia and Steve Trauber, Soraya and Scott McClellan, Catherine Anspon with Adam Adams, Becca Cason Thrash, Beth and Bryan Muecke, Eileen and Case Lawal, and Kathryn and Jeff Smith

Founded in 1966, Society for the Performing Arts (S.P.A.) is the largest independent non-profit presenting organization in the Southwest.  Since its inception, S.P.A. has sponsored more than 700 performances of the world’s finest music, dance and theater events, in adherence to the belief that the arts are fundamental to the overall enrichment and quality of life within the community. In addition to presenting artists, S.P.A. seeks to provide a variety of learning experiences for adults and children through master classes, lectures and special student performances, as well as build relationships between the performing arts and other interests within the greater Houston area and throughout the state of Texas.

The Ball is a major part of Society for the Performing Arts’ annual fundraising campaign, and allows the organization to continue bringing Houston outstanding talent such as violinist Itzhak Perlman, American Ballet Theatre, Philip Glass, Paul Taylor Dance Company, MOMIX, Three Mo’ Tenors, STOMP, and David Sedaris
Soraya and Scott McClellan
Jesse and Beth Moore
Mark and Melanie Wawro
June Christianson
Mary Beth Aspromonte and Ceron
Case and Eileen Lawal
Georgiana Young
Kathryn and Jeff Smith
John and Laura Spalding
Millette and Haag Sherman
Beth and Bryan Muecke
Mica and Bob Mosbacher
Mike and Karen Mayell
Tom and Liz Glanville with Phoebe and Bobby Tudor
Amy and Jim Lee
Georgia Foulard
Steve and Leticia Trauber
Steve and Betty Newton
Becca Cason Thrash
Marita and J.B. Fairbanks

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