Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sarasota Opera's Curtain Raiser Dinner

I hadn't been to Michael On East Wine Cellar for an event since they did the redo.  I really liked the atmosphere inside.  It was very cozy and romantic.  Lots of candlelight.  I wasn't crazy about having the cocktail hour out on the sidewalk with a view of the parking lot, though.  MOE really needs to develop something a little nicer.  Even though they have tried to make the sidewalk area a tad appealing, it just feels weird to be all dressed up with people traipsing through the crowd on their way to the drugstore and the supermarket and to have cars driving by you just a few feet away. 

Sunday night was the Sarasota Opera Curtain Raiser Dinner at the Cellar, which is a terrific event for all those hard-core opera supporters - not a dilettante amongst them.  It has always been a nice, intimate event that had a family feeling to it.  I even saw some younger folks there, which is always a good thing, as the opera crowd seems to be a bit, ahem, mature.  A couple at my table was even talking about having children at Southside School, that's how young they were!  Also, everyone there is so friendly.  You could attend by yourself and still have a delightful time.  Everyone really did seem so charming and Victor DeRenzi, Artistic Director and Susan Danis, Executive Director were each very welcoming.

I think this was the weekend of Scott Anderson, (but of course, isn't every weekend!), as he was the auctioneer and had just come off his big win the night before at the CANDance.  He told me he had sprained his ankle during all that shimmying, but he was fine.  The live auction always has some "only at the opera" items, such as special backstage seats during a performance so you can see all the inner workings and a "Dinner with the Divas", which is a dinner from all the female leads of this year's winter opera season.

The coup de grace of the evening is always the performance of the opera singers with Maestro Kristen Kemp. This year Youna Jang, Heath Huberg, and Matthew Hanscom all entertained beautifully.  A very pretty night and an enchanting way to end a busy weekend.

Sandra and Per-Erik Lindqvist with Jackie Morton

Denise Mei, Teri Hansen, & Veronica Brady

Julie Milton and Gordon Okawa

Monte Davis

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