Backstage at San Francisco Opera > September 2012 > Supporting opera education with an evening of splendor
Supporting opera education with an evening of splendor
San Francisco Opening Night is always a dazzling affair, and this year’s Opera Ball – in honor of the 90th season – will be no exception. The ball itself will be sumptuous, thanks to the magic of Event Designer Robert Fountain, who has orchestrated a beautiful tented pavilion fit for royalty. Guests will also feast on an Italian meal that would make the Duke of Mantua proud - impeccably prepared by McCall Associates. And of course, we look forward to the sure-to-be-stunning performance of Verdi’s brilliant and dramatic Rigoletto, conducted by the most passionate Italian of them all, Maestro Nicola Luisotti. Guests have come to expect delightful surprises at Opera Ball, and we will not disappoint! It will truly be a night of splendor, from the Rigoletto costumes onstage to the gorgeous gowns and debonair tuxedos worn by Opera Ball patrons in the Opera House.

Of course, there is much to be done before September 7th and at times, Co-Chair Diane Rubin and I feel a bit overwhelmed with the final preparations.  There is a lot of pressure involved in planning one of the most prominent events in the musical and social life of the City.  However, this is when we remind ourselves of what is truly important about Opera Ball – that the event successfully raises funds for The Opera Guild’s education programs and the San Francisco Opera Association.   Last year, the Guild’s K-12 education programs served close to 60,000 students in 200 schools throughout Northern California.  Opera offers so many dimensions and opportunities to integrate into curriculums such as music, history, art, and math.  As we help students find their own voices, we hope they will become culturally aware, resourceful and confident adults. 

[Above: Cathy MacNaughton (right) with Sallie Huntting.]

I have certainly needed both confidence and resourcefulness at Opera Balls past, as evening gown, hair, and makeup mishaps have all occurred at the last minute.  One year, I tore the belt to my gown on the way out of the house.  I quickly grabbed a needle and thread to do repair in the car.  Good thing we have a long drive because it took three attempts.  First, I sewed the belt in the wrong place.  Next, I found I had sewn myself to my seatbelt!  Finally, I succeeded – just as we pulled up in front of the Opera House – whew!

Yes, we all enjoy the glitz and glamour of Opera Ball.  But we are most gratified by the true purpose behind the event. 


[From left: Sallie Huntting, Esty Lawrie Landy, Cathy MacNaughton, and Trudy See enjoy the festivities.]
 

Wishing everyone a Notte di Splendore on Friday!

Cathy MacNaughton
Co-Chair, Opera Ball 2012

Posted: 9/5/2012 10:19:09 AM by Cathy MacNaughton, Co-Chair, Opera Ball 2012


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Backstage at San Francisco Opera is a fascinating, fast-moving, mysterious and sacred space for the Company’s singers, musicians, dancers, technicians and production crews. Musical and staging rehearsals are on-going, scenery is loaded in and taken out, lighting cues are set, costumes and wigs are moved around and everything is made ready to receive the audience. From the principal singers, chorus and orchestra musicians to the creative teams for each opera, in addition to the many talented folks who don’t take a bow on stage, this blog offers unique insight, both thought-provoking and light-hearted, into the life backstage at San Francisco Opera.

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