San Francisco Opera celebrated the opening of its 91st Season last week with a gala opening night that was beyond all expectations.
San Francisco Opera Guild’s sold-out 2013 Opera Ball: The Garden of Good and Evil was created by celebrity event designer Colin Cowie to reflect the celestial and devilish themes of the evening’s performance––late 19th-century Italian composer Arrigo Boito’s Mefistofele. I met Colin at at recent luncheon held in his honor, and he was very engaging and extremely excited about the upcoming gala.
Always a highlight of the City’s cultural and philanthropic season, Opera Ball is an extraordinary event that brings together local and national corporate, political, civic and philanthropic leaders. The proceeds from the fundraiser benefit San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Opera Guild’s award-winning education and community programs throughout the Bay Area. It was not only my first time attending the Opera Ball, but my first opera performance EVER. I had so many questions prior to the evening’s festivities…will I enjoy the performance? Who will I see there, and most importantly, what am I going to wear?
The theme for the evening was “The Garden of Good and Evil”, and it began with a heavenly pre-performance cocktail reception in the North Light Court of San Francisco’s historic City Hall, created to mirror the spectacular production we would soon experience. Human “birds”, “butterflies”, and “statues” delighted and surprised many of the guests. Their costumes were unbelievable!
An indulgent dinner created by acclaimed chef Lucas Schoemaker of McCalls Catering and Events followed in City Hall, and at 8pm, the curtain rose on the opening night performance of Mefistofele at the War Memorial Opera House. I knew the show was a long one–3 1/2 hours!–but I didn’t mind one bit. Thank goodness for the subtitles that flashed across a board at the top of the stage for those that are not fluent in Italian, like me.
Returning to City Hall following the performance, guests enjoyed decadent cocktails, desserts and dancing in an atmosphere dramatically transformed into an exotic sanctuary full of diabolical surprises. There were snacks (steak and tater tots) and treats (more chocolate than you can imagine), in the shape of skulls! I even caught a glimpse of actor Jason Lewis, “Smith Jerrod” from HBO’s Sex and the City!
Finally, the gowns were dazzling! Here’s a few of my favorites:
So, if you ever have the opportunity to attend the Opera Ball and a performance of the San Francisco Opera, I highly recommend it. You never know what you might see or who you will meet. It’s a night I know I will never forget.