COT Hosts 2009 Spring Gala At The Spertus Institute 3/7

On Saturday, March 7, 2009, Chicago Opera Theater (COT) hosts its 2009 Spring Gala at The Spertus Institute's new home on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. The Gala Committee, chaired by COT Board Trustee Lincoln S. Ellis, is proud to honor COT General Director Brian Dickie as he marks his 10th year with the company during its 35th Anniversary Season. This annual event will include a performance by the celebrated mezzo-soprano Sandra Piques Eddy and dancing with live music provided by The Chicago Groove Collective.

Since Brian Dickie's appointment as General Director in 1999, COT has become a company of international renown and following. His first season with COT in 2000 was met with such acclaim that he was honored by the Chicago Tribune as a "Chicagoan of the Year"-the paper declared that Brian "clearly recognized the organization's growth potential amid an increasingly sophisticated Chicago arts scene." This honor was repeated in 2002.

Brian was also a key facilitator in COT's move to downtown Chicago as a founding company of the Harris Theater in Millennium Park in 2004. During Brian's tenure he produced 17 Chicago premieres including such favorites as Orfeo, Death in Venice, and Nixon in China. In 2009, he will mark his 18th Chicago premiere with a new production of Britten's Owen Wingrave.

Mezzo-soprano Sandra Piques Eddy will be the 2009 Spring Gala's featured performer. Not only is Sandra one of the opera world's rising stars praised by international press-including The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, and the Vancouver Sun-but she is also a Chicago Opera Theater favorite. She will be taking on the persona of Carmen, in the highly anticipated La Tragédie de Carmen, the second opera in COT's 2009 Spring Festival Season. Sandra also sang with COT as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro (2005) and as Béatrice in Béatrice et Bénédict (2007).

"COT has emerged as one of the most respected opera companies in the world," said Gala Chairman Lincoln S. Ellis. "This is due, in large part, to the contribution of Brian Dickie over the last 10 years. His arrival, the company's move to the Harris Theater, and its continued development of new talent and productions has combined to become a powerful force in the cultural landscape of Chicago and the world."

In addition to his work with COT, Lincoln is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Linn Group Investment Advisors. He is also an active participant in various organizations throughout the country such as a founding member of the Metropolitan Opera's Young Associates, an Advisory Board member of CompassionWorx, as well as a Board member of Columbia University's Columbia International Affairs Online.

Other Gala Committee members include: Elizabeth M. Bennan, Erika Bruhn, Marisa Bryce, Jose Cerda, Macol Cerda, Judith Krotky, Maryann Leffingwell, Linda Nerad, Gregory O'Leary, Lois B. Siegel, Deborah Selch, Jason Selch, Brigitte W. Treumann & Kate Weitz.

In Honor of General Director Brian Dickie
Detailed Evening Event Information

7pm-8pm: Cocktails and silent auction on the 1st and 2nd floors
Silent Auction prizes include a men's watch from Tiffany & Co., an architectural sculpture from Mecox Gardens, Mexican travel, a beautiful coral necklace and a diamond and jade pin from M.J. Miller, his and her spa packages from Truefitt and Hill and Red 7 Salon, sports packages including signature items from the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Bulls and much more! Silent auction bids, as well as raffle ticket sales, will be accepted until 9pm.

8pm: Dinner by Wolfgang Puck Catering and celebration of Gala Honoree Brian Dickie
Guests move up to the 9th floor of the Spertus Institute to enjoy stunning views of Grant Park and Lake Michigan while savoring a delicious meal. Guests will then honor Brian Dickie for his 10 years as General Director of COT and his life long commitment to opera.

9pm: Live auction, performance and dancing
Guests are encouraged to take part in a live auction that will include travel packages to Santa Fe, Toronto, and Mexico as well as special "access" to COT performances. The fundraising finale of the live auction will be introduced by a video celebrating COT's 35th Anniversary including Brian's 10 remarkable years! Guests will then enjoy a performance by Sandra Piques Eddy. The evening will close with dancing to live music from The Chicago Groove Collective.

2009 Spring Gala Raffle Prizes:

1st prize: A. Link "Operetta" Necklace, this 36" necklace is formed by 18K white gold and 1.7 carats of dazzling diamonds. (value: $5,600)
2nd prize: Dyson DC25 Vacuum Cleaner, this upright vacuum features the unique Dyson Ball technology for all floor types. (value: $500)
3rd prize: iPod fully loaded with Cedille Records catalogue, 120-gigabyte iPod containing every disc from Chicago's Cedille Records including COT recordings of Menotti's The Medium (1996) and the world premiere recording of Kurka's The Good Soldier Schweik (2001). (value: Priceless)

3 chances at $100 or 1 chance at $50.
Winners need not be present to win.

Raffle tickets are available by calling 312.704.8420 x14.

In Honor of General Director Brian Dickie
Event Location and Reservation Information

The Spertus Institute
610 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois

Saturday, March 7th, at 7pm

Gala Tickets:
$375 for individual Gala tickets
$1,500 for VIP couples
$3,500 Anniversary Couples

Gala tables of ten are available at $5,000, $10,000 & $25,000.

Contact COT at 312.704.8420, x14 for specific benefits at different giving levels for both couples and groups

*** Festive black & white attire, black-tie optional ***

For reservation and raffle ticket inquires
contact Sally Preminger at 312.704.8420 x14 or


Founded in 1974 by Alan Stone, Chicago Opera Theater has carved a significant place for itself in the operatic life of Chicago and has reached an audience of hundreds of thousands through its main stage performances, outreach, education and young artist programs.

Since Brian Dickie's appointment as General Director in 1999, COT has evolved as an opera company that is young, fresh, and colorful - an image well suited to its surroundings at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park.

The 2009 Spring Gala is presented in anticipation and support of Chicago Opera Theater's 2009 Spring Festival Season. The season opens with Mozart's La clemenza di Tito (April 18-May 1), followed by Peter Brook's Tony Award winning adaptation of Bizet's La Tragédie de Carmen (May 2-15), and closes with the Chicago Premiere of Britten's Owen Wingrave (May 16-26). For more information on the 2009 Spring Festival Season, visit or call 312.704.8414.


Brian Dickie began his opera career when he joined the Glyndebourne Festival Opera in 1962. He was Artistic Director of the Wexford Festival from 1967 to 1973 and simultaneously the first Administrator of Glyndebourne Touring Opera where for many years a high proportion of the leading British singers began their careers. In 1981 he became General Administrator of Glyndebourne Festival Opera, a post he held until 1988.

Brian held the post of General Director of the Canadian Opera Company from 1989 to 1993 and from 1994 to 1997 was Artistic Adviser to the Opéra de Nice and Adviser to the International Youth Foundation during the formation of the European Union Opera.

Since joining Chicago Opera Theater in 1999, the company's growing reputation has brought it great acclaim. Brian led the company to be one of the marquee tenants to open the Harris Theater in Millennium Park in downtown Chicago, where the company has been performing since 2004.

In addition to serving as General Director of COT he has been Chairman of the International Jury for Preselections for the Bertelsmann Foundation's biennial Neue Stimmen Competition since 1999. In this capacity in the summer of 2009 he will audition more than 800 singers from around the world.

Brian sits on the board of Opera America and the Chicago College of Performing Arts.


The 2009 Spring Gala will take place at The Spertus Institute's new home. The building, designed by Krueck & Sexton Architects (2007), has quickly become a desired venue for Chicago-area community events. The stunning glass façade of the building makes it stand out from the heavy stone masonry facades flanking the buildings. Also the glass allows visitors spectacular views of Grant Park and Lake Michigan. The building complete with gallery, theater, café and gift shop is also home to the important cultural institutions including: Spertus Museum, Spertus College, and the Asher Library.


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