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High Notes of Opera Pacific’s Season Opener : For Starters

Supporters of Opera Pacific launched the company’s fifth season Saturday with a black-tie dinner at the Hyatt Regency Irvine. The $50-per-person party drew 300 guests en route to the season-opening performance of “Madama Butterfly.”

All That Glitters

The opera crowd is a flashy bunch--famous on the local circuit for masked balls and costume balls and other high drama dress-up affairs. The see-and-be-seen opening night brought the glitter gowns out of storage. Seated at a power table in the front of the ballroom, Jolene Engel wore a white crepe dress with fluffy scalloped skirt and a beaded neckline. Eve Foussard wrapped four strands of pearls around her neck and topped her coif with a silver fox headband. Gloria Gellman wore a floor-length black and gold chiffon gown by Nolan Miller. (“I bought it from Nolan personally,” said Gellman. “He called it his ‘Grace Kelly dress.’ ”) Sandy Pospisil chose a strapless black velvet gown and wore pink and black ribbons wrapped around her ponytail. Bucking the trend was Opera Pacific board chairwoman Floss Schumacher, who donned a simply cut black dress.

Welcome Words

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As dinner was served, Schumacher stepped on the podium. Glancing around the ballroom, she declared that the group had come a long way. “This evening is a measure of how far we’ve come.” David DiChiera--"Our darling Dr. D,” as Schumacher introduced him--was next up. In four seasons, reported the company’s general director, Opera Pacific has played to more than a quarter of a million people.

Faces

Co-hosting the party with Floss and Ed Schumacher were Walter Henry and his wife, Maria del Carmen Calvo. Also attending were Jeanette and Hal Segerstrom, Laila and Bill Conlin, Donna and Doug Bunce, Milli and Herb Wieseneck, Anne and Tom Key, and Kathleen and John Rhynerson.

Quote

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Asked if she’d purchased her dress especially for the opening night party, committee member Sandy Pospisil giggled. “Are you writing this down? I suppose it sounds better to say I did, doesn’t it?”


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