Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Wine Auction Raises $1.8 million

Article Pixel

On Friday, February 10, Lyric Opera of Chicago's Wine Auction 2012 raised an unprecedented $1.8 million in net proceeds. 

"Wine Auction 2012 represents a truly extraordinary achievement by the Women's Board of Lyric Opera," said Anthony Freud, Lyric's general director. "The level of organization and logistical coordination was truly astounding, as was the immaculate elegance and apparent effortlessness with which it was carried off. I salute and congratulate our remarkable Women's Board on its great success. 

"Lyric staff from all departments worked tirelessly to support this magnificent fundraiser, which in turn supports all that we do onstage at Lyric Opera. The spectacular transformation of the Ardis Krainik Theatre between the Thursday dress rehearsal and Sunday opening performance of Show Boat created a venue of unparalleled splendor for this unforgettable evening," Freud said. 

This was the tenth wine auction organized by the Women's Board of Lyric Opera of Chicago since 1988. Susan Blankenbaker Noyes of Wilmette served as chairman of Wine Auction 2012. Mrs. J. Christopher (Anne) Reyes of Lake Forest is president of the Women's Board. 

The evening began with silent-auction bidding (using handheld electronic devices) and a Dom Pérignon Champagne reception in the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Grand Foyer. It continued with an exceptionally elegant dinner by Calihan Catering on the mainstage of the Ardis Krainik Theatre in the historic Civic Opera House, and culminated with spirited live-auction bidding. Approximately 480 guests attended the elegant fundraiser, a project of the Women's Board of Lyric Opera of Chicago. A total of 1,025 bottles of rare and revered wines and 61 travel, dining, and luxury experiences were offered in the silent and live auctions. 

Nearly 500 bidders participated by phone and electronically from all over the U. S. and Puerto Rico as well as Thailand, China, Brazil, and Canada. 

Among Lyric's VIPs in attendance were Lester and Renée Crown, Andrew and Joan McKenna, William and Cathy Osborn, Christopher and Anne Reyes, Patrick and Shirley Ryan, and Miles and Kim White. Special guests also included Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts, Cindy Pritzker, John and Neville Bryan, Glenn and Jackie Tilton, British Consul-General Robert Chatterton-Dickson, wilderness travel photographer Sue Flood, soprano Alyson Cambridge, Napa Valley Wine Auction ChairmanCarissa Chappellet, Central Coast Wine Classic chairman Archie McLaren, Concors d'Elegance Classic Car Festival chairmanCarolyn Vanagel. 

The theater's mainstage was extended by 60 feet to row R in the auditorium in order to accommodate dinner seating. The backdrop for the dinner and live auction gave guests a sneak peek of the Palmer House scenes from Act Two of Show Boat, which opened Sun., Feb. 12. Two chandeliers from Lyric's production of Roméo et Juliette plus five additional chandeliers cast an elegant glow on the proceedings. Table centerpieces were gold-sprayed boxwood and sugared fruit. Décor was by HefferNan Morgan, Inc. 

The Live Auction began at 9:00 p.m., conducted by lead auctioneer Michael Davis (Vice-Chairman, Hart Davis Hart Wine Co.), and auctioneer Leslie Hindman (President, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers). 

Some bidding highlights among the 77 live-auction lots: 

$44,000 – golf trip for 4 to Bandon Dunes 
$36,000 – private recital by opera star Matthew Polenzani 
$36,000 – London weekend and African safari with famed photographer Sue Flood 
$30,000 – Dinner in Chef Charlie Trotter's home 

Highlighted Wine Lots: 
$26,000 – Lot 10, Honored Guest Collection (wines from each of the ten Lyric auctions' honored 
        guests,  48 bottles and eight magnums) 
$24,000 – Lot 2, Horizontal of 1982 First Growth Médoc and Graves, Bordeaux (five bottles) 
$11,000 – Lot 43, Magnum of Dom Pérignon Rosé Oenotheque 1982 

Wine Auction 2012 cochairmen were Mrs. Richard W. (Clement) Durkes, Mrs. Ronald J. (Christina) Gidwitz, and Alison Wehman McNally/Winnetka. Auction Solicitation chairmen were Elizabeth O'Connor Cole, Ms. Lili Gaubin, Mrs. Edgar D. Jannotta/Winnetka, Mrs. Jerry K. Pearlman/Wilmette, and Marilynn Thoma. Additional committee chairmen were Mrs. Richard P. (Diane) Mayer, Suzette Bross Bulley, Mrs. Julian W. (Katherine) Harvey, Mrs. Lisbeth Stiffel, Mrs. W. James Farrell/Lake Forest, Mrs. Frederick A. Krehbiel/Hinsdale, and Nancy S. Searle. 
 (All Chicago residents except where noted.) 

Tickets for Wine Auction 2012 virtually sold out through generous sponsorship months in advance. Presenting Sponsor: Northern Trust. Platinum Grand Benefactors: Abbott, Richard P. and Susan Kiphart, Susan and Nicholas Noyes and Make It Better Media, John D. and Alexandra C. Nichols, Mr. and Mrs. J. Christopher Reyes, Patrick G. Ryan and Shirley Welsh Ryan, Mr. and Mrs. D. Gideon Searle and The Searle Family Trust. Dinner Wine Sponsor: Mr. and Mrs. James L. Sandner. Official Airline: American Airlines. Golden Grand Benefactors: Anonymous (2), Bain & Company, Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP, Mr. and Mrs. James N. Bay Jr., Bulley & Andrews LLC, Mr. and Mrs. Michael P. Cole, Mr. and Mrs. Michael W. Ferro Jr., R. Robert and Sally D. Funderburg Charitable Trust, Mr. and Mrs. Ronald J. Gidwitz, Harris Associates, ITW, Mr. and Mrs. Edgar D. Jannotta, Jenner & Block LLP, Mr. and Mrs. John W. Jordan and Jordan Industries, Inc., Stephen A. Kaplan and Alyce K. Sigler, Mr and Mrs. Frederick A. Krehbiel, Sherry McFall and Ken Porrello, Blythe Jaski McGarvie, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew J. McKenna, Mr. and Mrs. William A. Osborn, Betsy and Andrew Rosenfield, Sara Lee Corporation, Liz Stiffel, Jim and Sara TenBroek, Carl and Marilynn Thoma, Donna Van Eekeren and Dale Connelly, Wintrust Financial, Mr. Paul Wood and the Honorable Corrine Wood. Silver Grand Benefactors: Anne and Don Edwards, Mr. and Mrs. W. James Farrell, Aline O'Connor Funk. 

Lyric Opera's wine auctions have now netted nearly $7 million since 1988. The proceeds go directly to Lyric's annual campaign, which supports the world-renowned opera company's activities. Lyric's previous wine auction, in 2009, netted $1.2 million and was attended by 420 guests.

Related Articles View More Chicago Stories   Shows

More Hot Stories For You