Houston Grand Opera Ball Raises Funds For Community Programs
By Jennifer Roosth Photography by Jenny Antill Clifton, Priscilla Dickson and Wilson Parish
THE SCENE: The grand ballroom at the brand-new Post Oak at Uptown Park was transformed into the swankiest supper club on Sunset Boulevard for the 2018 Houston Grand Opera’s annual white-tie fundraiser, themed An Evening in Old Hollywood. Over 500 guests walked the red carpet to Houston Grand Opera’s Bel Canto Club with shimmering gold palm trees, dramatic palm leaves and white calla lilies, and a 40-foot custom deco dance floor and band stand. Guests were greeted on arrival by supper club “cigarette girls” serving champagne cocktail coupes from their trays. Groucho Marx and Charlie Chaplin impersonators worked the crowd, encouraging auction bidding, and songs of the era filled the air from the Bel Canto Club bandstand, featuring the white-jacketed Richard Brown Orchestra.
THE VIBE: The vibe of the evening was a tribute to the Golden Age of Hollywood, where stars were born and glitz always set the stage. The seated dinner was catered by the culinary team of The Post Oak at Uptown Houston, led by executive chef Jean Luc Royere, formerly of the Mandarin Oriental, Miami. Special guest, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer David Lee Roth, performed a rare, private mini-set of hits, including his “California Girls” and the Van Halen megahit “Jump!” to a crowd of over 500 guests. An impressive auction took guests from Rodeo Drive to Napa in the blink of a bid and featured a VIP 3-day visit to New York City with HGO Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers and Tenenbaum Jewelers proprietors Tony Bradfield and Kevin Black. HGO Events Director Brooke Rogers and Richard Flowers with The Events Company were responsible for the décor.
THE CAUSE: The event was chaired by Drs. Liz Grimm and Jack Roth. The chic, late-night Encore after party was chaired by Drs. Ishwaria and Vivek Subbiah. The gala raised over $1.25 million to support the internationally-renowned performances and community programs that distinguish HGO as one of America’s greatest opera companies.