Thursday, March 8, 2012

Washington Social Diary

The Kennedy Center atrium as an elegant Viennese ballroom.
Coming Up Roses
by Stephanie Green


With a grin on his face and tongue firmly in cheek, maestro Lorin Maazel, after conducting the Vienna Philharmonic last week, turned to the audience and said, “You seemed to have survived. So an encore, but I must confess I don’t know the name of it.”

And as a flutter of laughter swept through the Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall, the priceless The Blue Danube came to pulsating life topping off a musical homage to Austria’s best composers whose works have christened Vienna the cradle of classical music.

Under Maazel’s direction, the concert started with Mozart’s rousing overture to The Marriage of Figaro and ended with a soaring suite from Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss.
Lorin Maazel, Christina Co Mather, Gary Mather, and WPAS President Neale Perl.
Last week I filled you in on my outing to the opening night of Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte performed by the Washington National Opera, also at The Kennedy Center.

All of this Mozart repertoire is no coincidence.

Through March 29, the Kennedy Center is rolling out the best of The Music of Budapest, Prague, and Vienna, a festival celebrating these European cities and their “cultural contributions."

Could there be a more fitting launch than an evening with the world renowned Vienna Philharmonic?
Red roses, candelabras, and dainty chocolate truffles conspired to create an elegant Viennese ballroom.
“I can’t think of a better way to spend an extra day,” said Neale Perl, the president of the Washington Performing Arts Society which hosted the concert on February 29, leap day, as part of their orchestra series.

After everyone collected themselves in the wake of the rapturous concert, we retired to the atrium where red roses, candelabras, and dainty chocolate truffles conspired to create an elegant Viennese ballroom. (Apparently the concert was too exhausting for the 80-something Maazel as he was a no-show at dinner).

The truffles were placed right by our lovely little place cards, and I couldn’t resist mine before the salmon salad and duck entrée arrived.
Reginald Van Lee and Roger Whyte.
Canny Korengold and Martha Dippell.
Jay and Robin Hammer with Arne and Ruth Sorenson.
Dr. Paul G. Stern and Ms. Melanie McFaddin.
After dinner and my premature dessert, I chatted up the new Austrian ambassador Hans Peter Manz who was joined by several other colleagues from the diplomatic community.

Herr Manz and I chatted about his homeland, and A Dangerous Method, a new film about one of his most famous compatriots, Sigmund Freud. He hadn’t yet seen it, but remarked that anything with Keira Knightley can’t be all that bad.
Ambassador Dr. Hans Peter Manz (Austria).
The evening before at the City Tavern Club, it was yet another evening of roses and candlelight as jewelry designer and social butterfly Allison Priebe Brooks hosted an intimate dinner for twenty of Washington’s most electric gals about town.

There was the soon-to-be wed Ashley Taylor, Blonde Charity Mafia’s Katherine Kennedy, and a whole sea of blondes who work hard, play hard, yet find time for their charitable do-gooding.
Rose petals on table at Georgetown's historic City Tavern Club.
There was even a member of congress among us, Linda Sanchez of California.
She played it low key just like she was one of the girls.

Charming, smart, and humble. Why don’t more people like her run for president?
We noshed on Caesar salad, cheese ravioli, and crème brulee with a side order of delicious gossip.

It was fun, and there was no cause, fundraiser, or new product to promote. Our hostess just wanted to celebrate our friendship.

Thank you, Allison!
Allison Preibe Brooks (rose in hand) hosted dinner party for DC socialites last week like Josie Yaylor and Krista Johnson.
Ashley Taylor, Andrea Rodgers, and Amanda Polk.
Allison Preibe Brooks and Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (green blouse) and friends.
On Thursday night at Foggy Bottom hot spot Hudson, public relations exec Peter Mirijanian had one clear reason to celebrate: the twelfth anniversary of his company, aptly named Peter Mirijanian Public Affairs.

Mirijanian packed the place with faces from K Street, Capitol Hill, and media who drank, danced (yes, despite the crowding, people found space for a makeshift dance floor) and toasted the success of their old and, in my case, new friends.
Prelude to a Kiss: Peter Mirijanian and Tom Quinn.
The Kiss!
The most memorable part of the evening had to be Mirijanian planting a kiss on the rosy cheek of Washington society’s Irish godfather Tom Quinn.

Washington can be a cold and ruthless place, but a few of us haven’t lost the gift of affection.
Matthew Friedson, Meredith Fineman, and Amy Nathan.
Howard Fineman, Rochelle Behrens, Lyndon Boozer, and Gerry Harrington.
Masha Tatianina and friend. Chris and Allison Putala.
Mirijanian steps up the celebrations with his own dance moves.
Photographs by Stephanie Green, Allison Priebe Brooks, and Washington Performing Arts Society.