Dallas opera lovers raise the curtain on spring with a gala for the ages
What: The Dallas Opera Springs Gala
Where: Winspear Opera House
The 411: April 28 saw a kaleidoscope of people and events swirling around the Winspear Opera House, all culminating in the final round of the 30th annual Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition. The gala, benefiting The Dallas Opera’s education programs — which serve 25,000 children and teachers each year — was co-chaired by Susan Geyer and Lynn Mock. Opera lovers of all ages celebrated the art form in three distinct areas of the opera house.
In the lobby, 100 high school and university music students from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Southern Methodist University, Uplift Williams Preparatory, University of North Texas, UT Dallas, and Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Magnet Center were treated to a teen-themed feast of chicken fingers, green beans, and mashed potatoes — prepared by Wolfgang Puck Catering.
Upstairs, young professionals whetted their appetite for top-flight entertainment with wine and cheese.
In Hamon Hall, against a backdrop of the charming “Pépito” set (created for The Dallas Opera Family Series), the gala centerpieces — consisting of multicolored roses in paint cans — set a playful mood amid the eye-popping chargers, paint-spattered linens, hand-crafted notes created by area school children, and colorful sauces drizzled across the plates.
Patrons dined on sophisticated appetizers and salads before the main course arrived: slow braised boneless short rib with poached white asparagus, truffle gnocchi, and English Pea nage. The dessert of milk and cookies was another nod to children.
After dinner, everyone came together in Margaret McDermott Performance Hall for the vocal competition finals. Six talented young finalists sang opera arias, accompanied by The Dallas Opera Orchestra and music director Emmanuel Villaume. First prize was awarded to American countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, who also won the People's Choice award. Canadian tenor Josh Lovell won second, and Mexican tenor Mario Rojas placed third.
Following the awards ceremony, patrons headed back to Hamon Hall, which had been transformed into a New Orleans-style nightclub for the gala after-party. The Booker T. Washington Jazz Band serenaded with jazz standards, and patrons got a final surprise in the way of a performance by bass Morris Robinson, one of the stars of Dallas Opera's Don Giovanni.
Who: Lynn McBee, Lisa Cooley, Lorena Loera, Maryanne Prueitt, Shella Sattler, Presley Mock, Ian Derrer, Kern Wildenthal, Whitney MacDonald, Jane Weir, KristaButler, David Butler, Virginie Verrez, Jennifer Quintard, Bob Brooks, Patsy Brooks, Lauren Gergeceff, Camille Cox, Claire Dillahunty, Karina Buruca, Elizabeth Henderson.