|On Saturday, this past March 7, more than 1,000 guests of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), enjoyed a grand affair celebrating the opening of the sumptuous exhibition, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese: Rivals in Renaissance Venice.
The columns of the Museum’s entrance were lit up in the colors of the Italian flag, and guests were presented with a Venetian inspired-fare as well as Venetian music performed by the Boston Lyric Opera and the Handel and Haydn Society.
|As a surprise, MFA Director Malcolm Rogers received the Commendatore al Merito della Repubblica Italiana (Commander of the Order to the Merit of the Italian Republic), presented by His Excellency Giovanni Castellaneta, Ambassador of Italy to the United States on behalf of the President of the Republic of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano. The award is the one of the highest honors presented by the President of the Italian Republic.|
|Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese: Rivals in Renaissance Venice, co-organized by the MFA and the Musée du Louvre in Paris, is the first major exploration of the competition that developed among the three greatest painters of 16th-century Venice. It is on view in Boston through August 16, when it travels to Paris. For more information, go to mfa.org.|
|Orange County, C.A. ... Valery Gergiev, the famous Russian conductor, believed by many to be the greatest Russian conductor ever, was in Orange County last week conducting the London Symphony Orchestra.
Maestro Gergiev happily returned to the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall where he conducted at the hall’s opening three years ago when he brought 500 Russian artists for a Russian Festival which included The Ring in 2006.
Last Wednesday night’s performance of Prokofiev's Symphony 6, one of his favorite pieces, brought down the house. The White Nights members from Orange County are great supporters of Gergiev's Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, and they were delighted to have him back in California.
After the concert Elizabeth and Henry Segerstrom -- Elizabeth in a blue Oscar de la Renta, hosted a gourmet dinner for one hundred by An Catering of Crustacean, all presented in a white tent by Harry Winston.
|Guests included: Sir Clive Gillinson, executive and artistic director of Carnegie Hall, Eric and Tania Idle, Victoria Tennant and Kirk Stambler, Jacqueline Bisset and Tim Vreeland, Gloria and RJ Brandes, General William and Willa Dean Lyon, Jim and Nancy Baldwin, Sabra Bordas, Yue-Sai Kan, Arnold and Annie Kopelson, Sharon and Bruno Lebon and the famous Russian pianist Alexi Volodin.
Gergiev remarked how happy he was to be in California with the LSO orchestra. Sir Clive talked of the new alliance between the Philharmonic Society of Orange County and Carnegie Hall at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. They will present "Ancient Paths, Modern Voices, Celebrating Chinese Culture," a citywide festival in New York City and Costa Mesa next fall.
Maestro Gergiev conducted two concerts in Costa Mesa, Wednesday and Thursday nights, before he sailed into the sunset off Newport Beach on the Segerstroms’ boat.
|Down in Houston the Houston Symphony held its 2009 Houston Symphony Ball, “A Night in Casablanca” at the Hilton Americas-Lanier Grand Ballroom. This was the fourth year in a row that the ball’s fund-raising exceeded the million dollar mark.
No small credit went to the event’s chairs Nancy and Erik Littlejohn, and the co-chairs Gretchen and Andrew McFarland and Liz and Tom Glanville, as well as Auction Chairs April and Tom Lycos, Underwriter Chairs Joella and Steven Mach, as well as Décor Chairs Vallette and Russell Windham.
|Men were in white dinner jackets and waiters in red fez. Richard Flowers/Events brought in the lit tall palms and the supper club décor inspired by the 1940s classic starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.
Guests walked the “Casbah” market place created in the middle of the ballroom (they grossed $200,000). At auction Cappy and Darlene Bisso picked up a 1959 Camaro Z-28 for $55,000. Yo-Yo Ma VIP concert tickets with After Concert Dinner were purchased by Sheridan and John Eddie Williams, Beth Madison and Phoebe and Bobby Tudor for a total of $32,500.
|Matthew Van Besien, Andrew McFarland, Tom Glanville, and Erik Littlejohn|
|Before dinner was served David Dewhurst made an appeal to the guests that raised more than $140,000 for David Dewhurst Symphony Explorer concert series, expanding the program to Third and Fourth Graders (it currently applies only Fifth Graders).
Among the guests: Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, (Bobby is incoming president of Symphony Society), Martin and Kelli Fein (who will be chairing next year’s ball), Betty and Jess Tudor, Nancy and Jim Willerson, Ed and Lorraine Wulfe, Margaret Alkek Williams and Jim Daniels, Amy and Jim Lee, Gabriela and Danny Dror, Patsy and Greg Fourticq.
|Onto the Afterparty ...|
|Photographs by Kim Coffman & Fulton Davenport (Houston); John Kreiss, Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.|