Friday, July 14, 2017

The biennial gala celebration of Save Venice

Cocktails at Palazzo Pisani Moretta for the formal Midsummer Night’s Dream Ball.
Text and photographs by Mary Hilliard

A few weeks ago an enthusiastic crowd flocked to Venice
to participate in the biennial gala celebration of Save Venice, Inc., a non profit organization, which, since 1971, has been raising money to preserve and protect the irreplaceable art and architecture of this unique city.

A four-day feast for the senses, guests saw projects in progress such as the 16th century church of San Sebastiano and its glory of Veronese painting and decorations; and the restoration of Titian’sMadonna di Ca’ Pesaro in the church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari.
Frederick Ilchman discussing Save Venice's restoration of Titian's Madonna di Ca Pesaro in the church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari.
Guests in the church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari.
Melissa Conn, Conservator Milena Dean discussing the restoration of the 15th-century Corpus Christi, sponsored by Mary Kathryn and Alex Navab.
Music beguiled the ears in a mini opera, “A Venetian Affair,” based on a true romance in 1753 and staged in the Salone del Ridotto, the very room where the real lovers would meet almost 300 years ago.
Liesl Odenweller performing in "A Venetian Affair."
Tracey Roberts, Pat Lovejoy, and Irina Tolstoy. Valerie and Harry Cooper.
Laura Hodgson and Andrew Jones. Lizzie da Trindade-Asher and Melanie da Trindade-Asher.
Broadway stars Ashley Brown and Josh Strickland captivated us with Cole Porter’s songs during the formal Midsummer Night’s Dream Ball held in the romantic Palazzo Pisani Moretta.
John Staelin, Elizabeth Locke, Sandra and Ted Guarriello, and Danielle and Ronald Bradley arrive at the Midsummer Night’s Dream Ball.
Carol and Edward Salgado. Alex Bouzari, Alena Simone Bouzari, and Charles Tolbert.
Tom Schumacher, Mary Ellen Oldenburg, and Matthew White.
Pat and Bob Lovejoy with their daughters.
Yan Assoun and Polina Proshkina. Michelle Gunter Sitinas, Darryl Nitke, Beatrice Rossi- Landi, and Dominic Ferszt.
Robert Conrad, Jill Almeida, Lou Rena Hammond, Mary Ryan Conrad, and Richard Almeida, President of Save Venice.
Alberto and Marta Nardi with Paolo Costagli.
Benno Kass, Matt Butler, Katherine Zock, and Andrew Sands. Juan Prieto and Anne Fitzpatrick.
Larry and Sherry Davis with their daughter Shana.
Manfred Flynn Kuhnert, Francesca Bortolotto Possati, and Peter Iacono (photo by Matteo Prandoni, BFA)
The audience in Palazzo Pisani Moretta before the musical performance.
Ashley Brown and Josh Strickland sing Cole Porter.
The musicians, artists, and sponsors of the Midsummer Night's Dream Ball (l. to r.): Lori Abbott, Tom Schumacher, Jim Abbott, Tina Bolton, Matthew White, Ashley Brown, Anne Fitzpatrick, Cat Jagger Pollon, Josh Strickland, and Jeffrey Bolton.
Orit Pollak Farkas, Lizzie da Trindade-Asher, Shana Davis, and Melanie da Trindade-Asher.
Daniel Wisler, Josh Strickland, Charles Tolbert, Ashley Brown.
Dancing at the Midsummer Night's Dream Ball.
While disco music set a lively tone for dancing at the Pop Art party in the Yacht Club.
Jill and Richard Almeida with Tina and Jeffrey Bolton.
Molly Borthwick, Manfred Flynn Kuhnert, Belinda Menedez at the Pop Art Disco Farewell dinner at the Yacht Club.
Josh Strickland and Ashley Brown dancing at the Disco Ball.
One popular activity, for the energetic, was answering clues to a treasure hunt which took seekers all over the city. The “treasures” for winners, provided by Gala sponsor, Paolo Costagli, were exquisite pins resembling a ferro, the metal ornament on the bow of every gondola.
Ronald and Danielle Bradley, John Staelin, Elizabeth Locke, and Paolo Costagli.
Tom Schumacher, Matthew White, Tina Bolton, Todd Dubail, and Josh Strickland.
Jamieson Clair, Jasmin Kossenjans, and Kimberly Tamboer, Save Venice Director of Development.
John Wilson and Charles Tolbert searching high and low.
Francesca Bortolotto Possati and her son, Alessandro Possati.
Pepe Esteve, Pam Royall, Elizabeth Locke, Bill Royall, and Beatrice Esteve.
Amy Gross, Executive Director of Save Venice, Don Fabrizio Favaro, Frederick Ilchman, Chairman of Save Venice, and his wife Cassandra Ilchman.
Gala sponsor Dolce & Gabbana provided a beautiful and delicious lunch at Palazzo Contarini della Porta di Ferro in the Castello district, which served as home base for a look at several more Save Venice projects, including a famous recently restored wood-clad underpass, the Sotoportego di Corte Nova and the exquisite church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli.
Dolce & Gabbana lunch at Palazzo Contarini della Porta di Ferro.
Katherine Zock and Tia Chapman.
Daphne Maxwell Reid, Erin Trapp, Amy Harmon, and Tina Walls.
The other night, feeling “homesick” for Venice, I rented “Don’t Look Now,” a 1973 thriller starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie, filmed mostly in Venice. I was surprised to see how shabby, grubby and down at the heels Venice looked, especially when I noticed one quick shot of the Miracoli facade. What a difference between then and now. It seems Save Venice can make miracles, too!
Donald Sutherland in front of Santa Maria dei Miracoli in a scene from “Don’t Look Now,” 1973.
Santa Maria dei Miracoli today, restored by Save Venice.