Thursday, December 6, 2007

Miami, Houston, Istanbul

Front entrance, Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House, Carnival Center for the Performing Arts, Miami, Florida.
Florida Grand Opera opened its 67th anniversary year with a new production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte, featuring Grammy Award winning Puerto Rican soprano, Ana Maria Martinez, and acclaimed Israeli mezzo-soprano, Rinat Shaham.

A glamorous on stage dinner-dance followed the performance, celebrating the fusion of high fashion, costume design, and the world of grand opera.

In celebration of the artistic collaborations that enable the production of grand opera, the 67th Opening Night Gala showcased the works of five locally-celebrated, leading fashion designers (whose pieces were accompanied by Graff jewels): Mayda Cisneros, Julian Chang, Victoria Lopez Castro, Ivonne de la Vega, and Sylvia Tcherassi.

Lynn Wolfson served as Honorary Chair for the event. Co-chairs were Donald and (the late) B. Carlin, Stephen A. Keller and Lesleen Bolt, Mr. and Mrs. Marvin Leibowitz, Mr. and Mrs. David Melin, Mr. and Mrs. Laurans A. Mendelson, Charles E. Porter and Rosie Pachon, and Dr. and Mrs. Morton J. Robinson.
Shani Atapattu and Gregory d’Incelli
Special guests: celebrated baritone Dimitri Hvoroskovsky and wife Florence
Mayda Cisneros and Lisa Mendelson
The Robinson family: Mort, Karyn, Jay, Jenna, and Jane
Florida Grand Opera was formed in June 1994 by the merger of Greater Miami Opera, founded in 1941, and Opera Guild of Fort Lauderdale, founded in 1945. Celebrating its 67th season of continuous performances, Florida Grand Opera stands as one of the oldest performing arts organizations in Florida. In addition to producing standard repertoire, Florida Grand Opera also presents lesser known operas, as well as commissioning and producing new operas. Annually, performances are attended by over 110,000 people, and its education and outreach programs serve over 50,000 students. FGO offers several highly successful outreach and educational programs, including its internationally-recognized Young Artist Studio. Founded in 1984, the program attracts young singers who train and enhance their professional skills during a 35-week Miami residency.
Bernardo and Sara Ortiz
Mayda Cisneros and sculptor Terje Lundass
Victoria Lopez Castro and Amadeo Lopez Castro
Charles E. Porter, FGO Board member and Managing Director of BNY Mellon, Florida, and Rosie Pachon
Clara Sredni, Carlos Nieto, FGO Board member and VP Lehman Brothers, Palm Beach, and Therese Marsantes
Dr. and Mrs. Morton J. Robinson. Mrs. Robinson is President of FGO Board of Directors
Soprano Ana Maria Martinez, Robert M. Heuer, FGO General Director and CEO, and mezzo-soprano Rinat Shaham
Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Lefka and Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin F. Harrison. Mr. Harrison is Chairman of the FGO Board; Mrs. Lefka is President of the Opera Society in Fort Lauderdale
Dr. and Mrs. Ernesto Gambaro with Mr. and Mrs. George Creel
Robert Gonzalez and Adrienne Arsht, Chairman of the Board of TotalBank
Sylvia Tcherassi and husband Mauricio Espinosa
Robert M. Heuer, FGO General Director and CEO, and Metropolitan Opera soprano Roberta Peters
Miami fashion designer Julian Chang, with model wearing his ball gown design
Mr. and Mrs. Tony Custer (designer Ana Guiulfo)
Tatiana Nedosekova and Craig Miller, Regional Director of Florida GRAFF
Aaron Leiber, Diane Sepler, Sara Solomon, and Dr. Bruce Horten
Mr. Jacques Tézé, Mr. and Mrs. Ariel Elia, and Ms. Nancy Herstand
Mr. and Mrs. Andrew H. Boros. Mr. Boros is a member of FGO Board of Directors
Sara Gutierrez, FGO Board member and head of the Crescendo Circle, a young Opera support group, with Karyn Robinson
Mr. and Mrs. Laurans A. Mendelson. Mrs. Mendelson is a member of FGO Board of Directors; Mr. Mendelson is Chairman of HEICO corporation
Down in Houston, Carolyn Farb hosted a luncheon in honor of Jenna Bush’s newly published book, Ana’s Story: A Journey of Hope, based on the 26-year-old Bush’s work with UNICEF. The book is written for teen and young adult readers and is based on the life of Ana, a 17-year-old single mother living with HIV/AIDS. Jenna and Ana met at a community support group while Jenna was interning with UNICEF’s regional office for Latin America and the Caribbean. For more than 60 years, UNICEF has been the world’s leading international children’s organization, working in over 150 countries to address the ongoing issues that affect why kids are dying.
Phoebe Tudor and Becca Cason Thrash
Duni Hebron
Jenna Bush and Carolyn Farb
Leela and Nat Krishnamurthy
Shari and William Plegt
Joanne King Herring and Carolyn Farb
Donna Bruni
John M. Tsacrios, Jr. and Joan Johnson
Mary Beth Aspromonte
Astrid Van Dyke
Renee and Chris Flood
Neda Ladjevardian and Kimberly DeLape
Ingrid Moody and Mariane Servitje
Tana Wood and Maria Bush
Danny Ward and Nancy Ames
Carolyn Farb and Betty Hrncir
Cathy Cagle
Sue Trammel Whitfield and Marilyn Wilhelm
More from Houston: An extraordinary evening recently took place at the Hotel ZaZa where Houston was introduced to two women who have recently made history. Marilyn Wilhelm, Founder-Director of Wilhelm Schole International, hosted the dinner honoring Qiao Hong, first woman Consul General from China in the history of the United States and Alexandra Theodoropoulou, first woman Consul General of Greece in the history of Houston.

This magical evening celebrated the differences between the East and West and how these differences create an unforgettable harmony. No detail was overlooked, from the enchanting floral arrangements provided by Jeff Bradley, which combined roses, bamboo and olive branches, all symbolic forms of wisdom, to the authentic Chinese and Greek dances performances by Dance of Asian America and the Olympian Dancers, arranged by Jefferson Todd Frazier, Executive Director of Young Audiences of Houston. 
Joanne King Herring and Lily Chen Foster
Javier Morena Valle and Carolyn Farb
Mayor Bill White issued a proclamation, presented by former Texas Secretary of State, Jeffrey Conner, declaring October 25, 2007 Consul General Qiao Hong and Consul General Alexandra Theodoropoulou day in the City of Houston. Ms. Wilhelm also took this opportunity to share news of the Confucius and Socrates Project, which involves three pairs of life-size bronze statues of Confucius and Socrates: one pair for Athens, Greece, one pair for Beijing, China in 2008 and one pair for the United Nations in New York in 2009.

The statues were inspired by the theme of the XXIX Olympiad One World One Dream. This project provides a golden opportunity to honor Confucius and Socrates and the unchanging principles of civilized life as taught by these two most revered teachers of the East and the West.
Caryl Carothers
Joan Blaffer Johnson
Chris LaWell
Todd Frazier, Anthony Brandt, and Konstantinos Kouzas
Steve Wilhelm with Phil and Anastasia Moss
Greece Consul General Alexandra Theodoropoulou, Marilyn Wilhelm, and China Consul General Qiao Hung
Jeffery Conner, former Secretary of State of Texas
Loretta Castle and Thomas Au
Valerie Sherlock and Austin O’Toole
John and Zoitsa Dale
Danielle and John Ellis
Anna Au and Barbara Ogwude
Kathryn and Jeff Smith
Nicholas Phillips
Rachel Frazier and Dr. Johnathan Dora
China Consul General Qiao Hung, Harris Pappas, and Greece Consul General Alexandra Theodoropoulou
Lauren and Tom McDaniel
Sharon and Frederick Forlano
Nancy Allen
Millie Rouche and Anthony Kouzounis
Oscar award winning Daniel Day-Lewis and Rebecca Miller hosted Grand Classics screening of the cult drama If at the exclusive Les Ottomans Hotel in Istanbul over the weekend of September 28th-30th.

Lady Daniela and Sir Ben Kingley
Lindsay Anderson’s 1968 If ... is a story which concerned with anarchy against the rigid traditions of the British boys public school. If ... unfolds as Mick and his group of friends come together for a violent rebellion. Lewis and Miller introduced the screening explaining what the film meant to them personally.

The screening was followed by an after party with belly dancers and Turkish music. There was a dinner party at Ulus 29, a boat trip on the Bosporus, guided tours of the Byzantium exhibits, The Spice Market, Grand Bazaar and other Istanbul landmarks. These excursions were sponsored by Vakko.

Filmmakers currently on the Grand Classics committee include Nicole Kidman, Sir Michael Caine, Robert Altman, Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Spacey, Rupert Everett, Susan Sarandon, Meryl Streep, Robin Williams, Jeremy Irons, Sydney Pollack, Jim Broadbent, Alan Rickman, Natascha McElhone, Rhys Ifans, Mike Figgis and others.
Daniel Day Lewis, Rebecca Miller, and Cem Hakko
Vaness Wingate and guest
Alev Rutkay, Evren Dogancay, and Alphan Eseli
Kathryn Brown, Danielle Nay, and Nicolette Robinson
Tom Hollander and Amanda Ross
Rifat and Marina Elhadef
Sir Ben Kingsley surrounded
Katrina Pavlos and guest
Jeff and Carole Hakko

Photographs by Kim Coffman (Unicef)
Click here for NYSD Contents