Lyric Opera of Chicago Raises Over $450,000 at MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Gala

The Civic Opera House was transformed into 1920s Paris, complete with the Eiffel Tower, the Moulin Rouge nightclub, and classic boulevard signs (environmental design by Event Creative). This set the scene for "Midnight in Paris," the 29th annual Fantasy of the Opera Gala benefit hosted by Lyric Opera of Chicago's Guild Board of Directors on Saturday, February 9. The gala benefit raised more than $450,000 net for the world-renowned opera company.

In keeping with the theme, guests arrived in "1920s Paris chic/black tie" attire. Early in the evening, an array of elegant tastings prepared by some of Chicago's top chefs enticed the crowd of 700 ticket-holders for the festive fundraiser. Restaurant stations could be found throughout the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Grand Foyer and American Airlines Mezzanine - a.k.a. "The Streets of Paris" for the evening. Guests enjoyed Veuve Clicquot Champagne, "Oo la la!" highballs (Grand Marnier, cranberry juice, seltzer, and lime), and other refreshments while they purchased raffle tickets or placed silent-auction bids. (Guests bid electronically using their personal communication devices.) Additional diversions included can-can dancers, henna tattoos, tarot-card readings, jugglers, mimes, and a photo booth.

The Fantasy Cabaret performance in the Ardis Krainik Theatre began shortly after 8 p.m. and featured stars of Lyric's current season. Lyric's music director Sir Andrew Davis sparkledas Master of Ceremonies. Jamie Barton (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), David Cangelosi (Die Meistersinger), Elizabeth Futral (La bohème), Amanda Majeski (Die Meistersinger), Ana María Martínez (La bohème), Lucas Meachem (La bohème), Albina Shagimuratova (Rigoletto), and Andrea Silvestrelli (La bohème, Die Meistersinger),performed selections mostly from the great American songbook and Broadway classics. Pianist Valerie Maze accompanied the singers.<

Following the cabaret, gala sponsors and VIP ticketholders enjoyed a seated dinner prepared by Limelight Catering, while other guests flocked to "The Streets of Paris" and danced with wild abandon till midnight to Rendezvous Music. The dance-floor never thinned, and La bohème baritone Lucas Meachem brought down the house when he spontaneously joined the band for a brilliant rendition of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody." Many guests cooled their heels by visiting the lower-level Opera Club, a.k.a. the Moulin Rouge, to enjoy Veuve Clicquot and Grand Marnier cocktails, specialty coffees, and liqueurs.

Fantasy of the Opera Chairman: Courtney Rosen (Chicago); Fantasy of the Opera Co-chairman: David Valkema (Long Beach, Indiana); Fantasy of the Opera Silent Auction Chairman: Louise Johnson (Chicago); Fantasy of the Opera Raffle Chairman: Allison Alexander (Rockford); Guild Board of Directors President: Britt Miller (Chicago).

Golden Grand Benefactors: Anonymous (2); Bain & Company; Baker & McKenzie; closerlook, inc.; Jenner & Block LLP; Mr. and Mrs. John W. Jordan II/Jordan Industries; Richard P. and Susan Kiphart; KPMG LLP; Mayer Brown LLP; Blythe Jaski McGarvie; Spencer Stuart; and the Donna Van Eekeren Foundation

Silver Grand Benefactors: Anonymous; Aetna; Eisen Family Foundation; Greg and Ann Jones/The Edgewater Fund; Jones Lang LaSalle; Allan and Elaine Muchin; Quarles & Brady LLP; Alan Schriesheim and Kay Torshen; Takeda Pharmaceuticals; Underwriters Laboratories; and Anne Zenzer and Dominick DeLuca.

Photo Credit: Aaron Ryskiewicz

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