Opera’s Annual Slumber Party Nothing to Snore About
A few San Diego Opera supporters have admitted that they already have packed overnight cases with jammies, toothbrushes and teddy bears for the annual slumber party that will follow the opera’s season-opening gala Jan. 21.
Most of the gala’s 80 underwriters came together Saturday at Lee and Frank Goldberg’s new showplace for an evening of schmoozing with opera director Ian Campbell, dining on nut-crusted chicken and waxing enthusiastic about the upcoming, 18-hour-long gala, which Lee Goldberg will head at the Westgate Hotel.
The attendance was partly a tribute to underwriting chairman Harriet Levi, who delivered on Goldberg’s request that she recruit 40 couples to contribute $2,000 each for the opera’s foremost annual fund-raiser. Levi had a good marketing tool: a deluxe cruise for two aboard the Queen Elizabeth 2 that was raffled Saturday as a special prize.
The two previous galas made Levi’s sales job a bit easier. A twist on the old dinner-and-a-show format, the season opener is marathon entertainment. It starts with pre-opera cocktails and continues through dinner, dancing and brunch the next day, with a break for 40 winks in a room at the Westgate. This year’s gala will revolve around the San Diego Opera’s new mounting of Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor.”
Lee Goldberg said she plans to do things at the gala “that have never been done before,” but declined to share just what surprises the evening will offer the group of 350. If the underwriters’ dinner offered any clues, look for a clever menu. Caterer John Baylin confounded guests by setting the tables with soup bowls decorated with tick-tack-toe designs of smoked salmon, caviar and chives, a mysterious base that was explained when waiters added ladles of corn chowder.
The Goldbergs’ dinner guests fit comfortably at tables arranged the length of their grand hall, a marble-floored lobby that links the public rooms of a house that one guest chose to describe coyly as “smaller than any of the pyramids.”
Among the guests were opera president Esther Burnham and Jack Lasher, Ellen and Roger Revelle, Margy and Mike West, Eddie Goldberg, Sally and John Thornton, Lee and P. J. Maturo, Richard Levi, Ingrid and Joe Hibben, Charmaine Kaplan, Junko and Larry Cushman, Jeanne Jones with Don Breitenberg, and Georgette and Jack MacGregor.
SAN DIEGO--About half the 80 or so guests at the Old Globe Theatre’s annual Founder’s Event, held Dec. 12 at Sheppard’s restaurant at Sheraton Harbor Island, were asked to sign in before they took their first sip of champagne.
None of them minded the task, though, since it was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to autograph a specially commissioned stainless steel sculpture that will be permanently displayed in the theater’s proposed pavilion complex, which will house a rehearsal hall, a “tavern” and other facilities. The signatories, or corporations and foundations they represent, have each given a minimum of $50,000 toward the theater’s current campaign, which has raised more than half of its $10-million goal. Board president Henk Hanselaar said the campaign’s success reflects the fact that the Old Globe “represents more than a theater for San Diegans, it represents a national trust.”
The Sheraton underwrote the dinner, but turned over chairmanship duties to Pavilion Circle members Bobbie and Blaine Quick and Darlene and Don Shiley, who settled for a low-key program that included a few remarks by Globe artistic director Jack O’Brien and managing director Tom Hall. The Pasadena Boys Choir, which was hired by the hotel to entertain for several nights, dropped in to suggest that guests deck the halls, to which most replied “fa la la la la” before turning their attention to the wines sent by Tawfiq and Richel Khoury from their celebrated cellars.
Chef Bob Brody sent out pasta stuffed with forest mushrooms, roast veal loin and a dessert called “chocolate fantasy” that was so large and varied that it could, by itself, have been the meal.
The guest list included Jeannie Rivkin, Helen Edison, Mary and Dallas Clark, Glen Barton, Ione and Paul Hartger, Lyn and Stephen Krant, Sam Stein, Alexandre Szekely and Diane Saikhon, Harry Todd, Evelyn Truitt, Celeste and Gene Trepte, Carol and Mark Yorston, Nancy Eckis, Richard Bertkau, Ken Rearwin, Danah Fayman, and Katy and Michael Dessent.