Monday, November 17, 2008

Houston, D.C., and Chicago Social Diary

Worth Avenue Moon, Palm Beach. Sunday, 9:30 a.m., on what must have been the most beautiful day of the year, so far. Photo: Clemmer Mayhew.
HOUSTON, TEXAS – Society for the Performing Arts (S.P.A.) held its 12th Annual Fall Luncheon at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, featuring Celebutantes authors Amanda Goldberg and Ruthanna Hopper. This year’s dynamic chair was Lisanne Rogers.

Those seen in the glittering crowd included SPA Executive Director June Christensen, Bobby and Phoebe Tudor, Lynn Wyatt, Tana Wood, Kimberly Gremillion, Jim and Lisanne Rogers, Debra Grierson, Melanie Gray, and Betty Newton.

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. S.P.A.’s mission is to bring the very best performers from around the world to Houston for the enjoyment, enlightenment, and education of all Houstonians.
Anita Smith
Bobby and Phoebe Tudor
Kay House
Betty Newton
Debra Grierson
Jana Giammalva and Tessa Henderson
Kimberly Gremillion
Ruthanna Hopper and Amanda Goldberg
Cabrina Owsley and Lisa Sherill
Anita Gaylor and Barbara Gamson
Ann Wolf, Dancie Ware, Phoebe Tudor, and Betty Newton
Nancy Randall and Carroll Goodman
Jim and Lisanne Rogers
Kimberly Gremillion and Catherine Anspon
Melanie Gray and Soraya McClelland
Lisanne Rogers
Lynn Wyatt
Phoebe Tudor
Sheridan Williams
Paula Paine and Tana Wood
June Christensen, SPA Executive Director, and Lisanne Rogers, 2008 Luncheon Chair
Renee Lewis and Kikki Wilson
Debra Grierson, Chree Boydstun, and June Christensen
Priscilla Larson and Debra Collins
Washington, D.C. — Washington National Opera had quite a bit to celebrate on Saturday, November 1: the successful opening of a new production of Lucrezia Borgia, the highly anticipated company debut of soprano Renée Fleming, the discovery of a new star in heartthrob Italian tenor Vittorio Grigolo, and the inauguration of the new Clarice Smith Opera Series, established by the Robert H. Smith family to honor the accomplishments of painter Clarice Smith.

Kate Aldrich, Vittorio Grigolo, and Renee Fleming in Lucrezia Borgia (photo: Karin Cooper).
From the moment the curtain went up, the mood was electric, and when the curtain closed, bravos abound, lasting for nearly 5 minutes. Following the opera, 250 of Washington, D.C.’s most important opera lovers attended the Gala held in the beautiful Hall of the Americas at the Organization of American States.

General Director Plácido Domingo led the evening, hosting guests Clarice and Robert Smith, Barbara Teichert, Washington Nationals owners Ted and Annette Lerner, HRH Prince Reza Pahlavi and Princess Yasmine, Ann Ziff, Adrienne Arsht, Marta Istomin and Nina Auchincloss Straight.

Other in attendance included Organization of American States Secretary General José Miguel Insulza and Mrs. Insulza, Honorary Hosts Bob and Miryam Knutson, WNO Chairman John Pohanka and Lynn Pohanka, WNO President Ken Feinberg and Dede Feinberg, WNO Executive Director Mark Weinstein and Susan Marsee, Marie Nugent-Head, Flavia Gale, Albert and Shirley Small, Jane and Calvin Cafritz, Michael and Susan Pillsbury, Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Ambassadors of Afghanistan, Colombia, Hungary, and Japan, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and his wife Meryl, Inter-American Development Bank President Luis Alberto Moreno and James and Elaine Wolfensohn.
Tim Jessell and Ann Gottlieb
Renee Fleming and Mark Weinstein
The gala featured a sophisticated late-evening dinner of cheese torta, rack of lamb, and chocolate pear and hazelnut crostada, served amid décor inspired by director and designer John Pascoe’s visionary costume and sets for Lucrezia Borgia.

In honor of the opera, which tells the story of history’s most notorious woman, famous for poisoning her enemies, guests were quite literally invited to “pick their poison,” choosing from fine wines on the Lucretia label, provided by WNO’s trustee Franco Nuschese’s vineyard.
Ann Ziff, Marie Nugent-Head, and Flavia Gale
Jo Ann Mason, HRH Prince Reza Pahlavi, and Tenor Vittorio Grigolo
Placido Domingo and Renee Fleming
Shayne Doty, Annette and Ted Lerner, and Nina Lesavoy
H.E. The Ambassador of Japan, Rana Walker, Jim Kimsey, and James Wolfensohn
Clarice Smith and John Pascoe
Marta Istomin and Adrienne Arsht
Michael Sonnenreich, mezzo-soprano Kate Aldrich, John Pascoe, and Lucky Roosevelt
John Pohanka and Tenor Vittorio Grigolo
Tenor Vittorio Grigolo and Ina Ginsburg
Michelle, Robert, and Clarice Smith
Jane and Calvin Cafritz
Diana Jannetta and Miryam Knutson
Jim Kimsey, Rana Walker, and Placido Domingo
Nina Auchincloss Straight, Michael and Susan Pillsbury, and Kevin Chaffee
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Edwin Fleming, and Renee Fleming
CHICAGO, IL The Women’s Board of the Adler Planetarium, established in 1930 and the world’s largest museum of astronomical history, sponsored its Celestial Ball for the sixth year early this month.

The theme was Night and Day – a theme that the Adler venue can portray very well.

Festivities began with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres followed by dinner, an auction and dancing to the music of The Business. Guests also had the opportunity to tour the Planetarium at their leisure and view its many exhibits during the evening - a rare treat.

Michelle Vanderlaan
Dining tables were covered in black cloths with a myriad of crystal and white calla lilies.The dinner menu featured a salad with mixed greens, camembert, figs and raisins, followed by grass-fed beef filet and a chocolate mousse dome or pumpkin cheese cake. There were 415 guests present.

The auction items at this event are always special and, of course, include several space oriented. A 2008 treasure was the Medallion from Gemini 12, authenticated by Captain James Lovell and donated by Lovell. Brian Cressey, Chair of the Adler Board of Trustees, was the buyer. Also in the auction was the Ultimate Shuttle Experience, a trip for four to view a space shuttle launch won by guest David Riley and a lavish holiday in France won by Women’s Board members, Orli Staley and Linda Celesia.

Ball Sponsors included The Boeing Company, ComEd and Food for Thought. The Corporate Chair was Scott C. Swanson, President and CEO, Charter One Bank, and also, Vice Chairman of the Adler Board of Trustees.

The Honorary Ball Chair was Captain James a. Lovell, Jr. of Lake Forest who made four flights in space and who was the first human to travel to the moon. The dinner chair was Pamela Cramer of Winnetka assisted by co-chairs, Meg Prendergast of Chicago and Michelle Vanderlaan of Oak Park. The president of the Women’s Board is Caroline Becker Joss of River Forest and the president of the Adler Planetarium is Paul H. Knappenberger, Jr.
Paul and Naomi Knappenberger, Caroline Becker Joss, and Rhonda and Scott Swanson
Some of the guests included Orli and Bill Staley, Susan Downing, Cynthia Ballew and Michael Smith of Chicago. From the north shore were David and Barbara Speer and Carol and Carl Vander Wilt of Winnetka, Susan Lovell of Lake Forest and Sarah and John Fritz of Wilmette. From the western suburbs were Marilyn and Gus Athas of Downers Grove, Linda and Gastone Celesia, of Oak Brook and Lisa and Ray Lewis of Oak Park. From the south suburbs were Vera and Frank Clark of Flossmoor.

The Women’s Board is dedicated to providing educational opportunities for the youth of our community by supporting the Adler’s programs to inspire scientific curiosity and knowledge. The proceeds of the Celestial Ball all will help to continue this mandate. For further information, please call 312.266.8729.
Laura Myntti, Kimberly Rachal, and Lisa Lewis
John Koden and friend
Susan Lovell and Eric Dybal
David and Barbara Speer
Risha Foster and Caroline Hunt
Caroline Becker Joss and her husband, Dr. Brian Joss
David and Barbara Speer, Caroline Becker Joss, and Rhonda and Scott Swanson

Photographs by Ginger Wilber & Russell Hirshon (Washington).
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