On Monday, November 28, 2011, the New York City Opera held its annual Fall Gala to support City Opera and their mission of bringing music into the lives of thousands of NYC public school students through educational programs. Their objectives also include creating new innovative productions with more affordable ticket pricing to reach the masses.
The black-tie event commenced with an elegant cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception in the Waldorf=Astoria’s newly renovated Vanderbilt Ballroom and featured a classic jazz band to kick off the evening’s musical entertainment. After an opportunity for NYC Opera Chairman Charles Wall to mingle with esteemed guests including HRH Alexandra of Greece and Rufus Wainwright, attendees were ushered into the adjacent Empire Ballroom for a two-part musical performance and dinner.
During the first course salads, a hushed crowd enjoyed the hymns of tenor vocalist Mr. Taylor Stayton and soprano chanteuse Ms. Melody Moore. After guests had a chance to enjoy the striped bass entrees, the hosts of the evening gave short speeches about the importance of continuing the New York City Opera’s support of City Opera and the joy that it brings to so many patrons of the cultural arts.
With a quick introduction of the final act, everyone was once again riveted in their seats for a delightful performance featuring the aforementioned Ms. Moore along with soprano Ms. Laquita Mitchell and baritone Mr. Rod Gilfry. Each musical piece was carefully selected to provide a poignant glimpse into the curated artistry of the New York City Opera, and there were several guests with teary eyes after the final enchanting notes were sung.
Moving back into the Vanderbilt Ballroom for a lavish Viennese dessert reception, the lively crowd showed off their dance moves to the effervescent sounds of live big-band jazz tunes. Those who preferred to watch from the sidelines enjoyed rubbing elbows with the fashion set, represented by designer Viktor Luna (Project Runway, Season 9) and Kelly Bensimon (Real Housewives of NY).
With a stunning backdrop of holiday décor, twinkling lights, and a seemingly never ending supply of bubbly, it was the perfect ending to a classic evening showcasing the New York City Opera and it’s esteemed patrons.