An evening with bejeweled socialites, soprano Deborah Voigt and Tony-winner Ted Sperling? Sign us up! Last Wednesday, May 16, at its spring gala, the New York City Opera proved that despite a year marred by operational drama, it is alive and well. In fact, it’s been a pretty damn good season. (We had trouble getting seats for Così Fan Tutte‘s final performance.)
The Observer‘s chaotic schedule meant that we once again missed cocktail hour, but we arrived at the Central Park Boathouse just in time for a heaping plate of pasta e verdure.
“Wow, you drew quite a crowd,” we said to a publicist, eyeing Anna Wintour at a front table.
Immediately we found a partner in crime, Lorin Bertakis, who looked electrifying in a pink Bottega Veneta dress. “I just love Bottega and Tomas Maier,” cooed Ms. Bertakis. “I think Lanvin is getting a bit stale.” Bold words indeed. She then introduced her mother hen Sue Carey, who glistened in an over-the-top ashen number and enough vintage Tiffany and Chanel diamonds to sink a cruise ship. “I like everything old!” exclaimed galpal Sarena Weil in vintage Oscar de la Renta, “including my husband.” We exchanged some friendly words with designer Victor de Souza and Dawne Marie Grannum, a muse in one of his creations.
Ms. Voigt was introduced and sashayed up to the staged in a jewel-encrusted Pilar Rossi gown and Bulgari jewelry.
“It’s a nice change to be in a dress and not a breast plate,” joked Ms. Voigt to patrons, referring to her recent role in Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, before she dove into a lengthy repertoire of Wagner and show tunes. Her exceptional vibrato and diction was well received and she wisely kept things light but sturdy with a series of Gershwin favorites.
“I’m sure that if I try to walk through that door they’ll take me down,” said Ms. Voigt afterwards to The Observer about her pricey threads and bling.
Guests were asked to booze up before Christie’s led a live auction of various special NYCO experiences. All four packages sold without much hassle.
The man that had angered quite a few NYCO fans, general manager and artistic director George Steel, slithered over to our table. His ballsy move to divorce the company from its Lincoln Center digs was shunned by many. “The whole evening has been a celebration of a great season,” he said. “We bring in repertoire that would otherwise not be here.” Over another round of bubbles, Mr. Steel voiced his confidence in the future of NYCO.
Ms. Voigt also noted that “City Opera has been great home for American singers… I think what has happened [NYCO leaving Lincoln Center] is very upsetting.” “An evening like this is important to rally support,” she added.
As Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks played classics for the remaining stragglers, we kissed our tablemates àdieu and trekked back to the newsroom for more work.
Follow Benjamin-Émile Le Hay via RSS.