Hours after a spring deluge tried to drown Dallas on May 11, the clouds parted, and the city's most ardent opera supporters descended on the Winspear Opera House. There, The Dallas Opera's 2019 “One Night Only Gala” would treat patrons to a kaleidoscope of artistry from beginning to end.
The evening began with an exclusive pre-performance Champagne reception hosted by gala co-chairs Cindy Feld and Daffan Nettle. Guests — including Beth Vaughan, Joseph Jacques, Lynn Mock, Presley Mock, Mark LaRoe, Dianne LaRoe, Lisa Swain, Daniel James, Kim Hext, Greg Hext, Holly Mayer, Ann Williams, Allison Hoyt, Jeanette Stone, Asia Jackson, Rachel Calderon, Anthony Fabiano, Ian Derrer, Carole Fabiano, David Devan, Lori Smith, Linda Barry, Logan Scheps, and Alicia Dewitt — mingled while they sipped bubbly and nibbled charcuterie. (From their second-floor perch, party-goers also had fun watching a parade of prom-going teens, dressed to the nines, snap formal photos in the plaza outside.)
Next came the featured attraction — a concert that brought together three of the world’s finest tenors for the first time: Michael Fabiano, Bryan Hymel, and Matthew Polenzani. They sang a 90-minute set consisting of opera arias, Broadway favorites, tributes, and standards, supported by The Dallas Opera Orchestra under the direction of Italian conductor Carlo Montanaro.
The enthusiastic patrons clapped, yelled, and shouted "Bravo!," often before the maestro dropped his baton. In fact, when the tenors began their final encore, the famous “Nessun Dorma” from Puccini’s Turandot, virtually the entire audience sighed, “Ohhhh” in unison.
Afterwards, the celebration continued back in the lobby, at an elegant seated dinner catered by Wolfgang Puck Catering with paired wines provided by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. The striking malachite design of the tablecloths gave a pungent “spring green” look to the setting, punctuated by regal touches of black and gold.
The menu included a snap pea, Asian pear and pomelo salad; a melt-in-your-mouth pan roasted filet with mixed vegetables in a smoked butter sauce; as well as a dessert guests simply couldn’t say “no” to — a silky strawberry and blood orange tart that provided a sweet finish to the meal.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Winspear lobby, the wine was flowing and the dance floor was moving and grooving. Thanks to the outdoor cool breezes, the AT&T Performing Arts Center decided to raise the windows on the east side of the building to allow after party-goers to dance late into the night without breaking a sweat. And dance they did, to the exuberant singers and high-energy musicians of The Booker T. Washington Contemporary Ensemble.
The evening full of song and celebration whetted Dallas Opera fans' appetites for next spring’s gala, a once-in-a-lifetime concert by the legendary Plácido Domingo in his first appearance with The Dallas Opera since making his U.S. debut with the company in 1961. For social diary purposes, that concert will take place on March 11, 2020.