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RSVP / THE SOCIAL CITY : An Evening of Song and Dance in Czarist Russia

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Aprincess from the court of Catherine the Great, “Admiral Vasili Popov,” just back from Manchuria--actors in delightful Russian costumes--greeted guests at the St. Petersburg Fantasy Ball at the Biltmore.

No czar? “Well, the czar throws these parties, but he doesn’t come,” quipped the “admiral.”

The night for 600 netted probably $200,000 for the Los Angeles Master Chorale.

So much to do. Elayne Techentin’s silent auction, chairman Elizabeth Hirsch’s promenade between banks of serenading Chorale members and a live auction (Jennifer and Royce Diener paid $7,000 for the four-day trip to St. Petersburg). Then there were the aristocratic Russian dancers, the Chorale singing Russian folk songs led by director Paul Salamunovich, Russian soprano Valeria Stenkina, guest of honor Andrea Van de Kamp (former chairwoman of the Music Center Operating Company) and real Russian royalty--Princess Katya Galitzine of St. Petersburg, in blond beehive, pink satin strapless gown and very royal diamonds.

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Our Los Angeles meritocracy was there, too--high achievers like lawyer Ron Olson and his wife, Jane, Avery executive Chuck Miller and wife Carolyn, USC law school head Scott Bice and wife Barbara, former First Interstate chairman Ed Carson and his wife, Nadine, and Marshall Rutter, a Chorale board member for 31 years, with his wife, Terry.

Theater Crowd: The crush on opening night of “Candide” at the Ahmanson Theatre seemed very New York. Inside, director Gordon Davidson popped from backstage to the auditorium to chat with wife Judi, stunning in orange chiffon, and their daughter, Rachel. Los Angeles magazine provided champagne for the entire audience.

Incredible: The 500 Club for the City of Hope did it again--three fashion show luncheons in three days at the Beverly Hilton. Chairwomen Rosalie Maretsky, Beverly Jacobs and Eunice Brown anticipate a net of $110,000.

Twentieth: Fellows of Contemporary Art celebrated 20 years of support for California artists with a silent auction and buffet at the home of Fellows Richard Carlson and Kathleen Reges . . . Irish eyes smiled when the American Ireland Fund honored Liam Neeson with its Heritage Award at the Regent Beverly Wilshire. His wife, Natasha Richardson, dinner chairman Frank Price, co-chairs Jimmy Murphy and Gretchen Wayne, and fund president Loretta Glucksman were part of the festivities.

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Endowment: A year of hard work on the Treasures and Trivia benefit sale for the Pasadena Guild of Childrens Hospital is over. Thanks to the efforts of Donna Walker (chairwoman), Petrie Wilson, Martha Nasser, Rary Simmons, June Banta (guild president), Cherry Bianchi, Margot Milias, Joni Baker, Isabel Arnett, Pat Bakaly, Joan Caillouette, Kathy Gillespie and Jane Wells, well over $100,000 was raised for the hospital at the sale in the old United Parcel Service building in Pasadena. Proceeds go toward completion of the guild’s $1.5 million endowment in pediatric surgery.

Soon Retiring: BankAmerica Chairman and CEO Richard Rosenberg, soon to retire, received the Spirit of Achievement at the Junior Achievement of Southern California Inc. gala.

Elsewhere on the Social Circuit:

* Salutes: To Kathy Perini by the Los Angeles County Chapter of Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge . . . To Francine Bardo of Boutique Hermes (draped in signature Hermes scarves), joining with Mike Roos, president of the Music Center Fraternity of Friends, to celebrate the upcoming April Spotlight Awards to encourage young performing arts talent . . . To Roy H. Aaron of Brentwood, named president of the UCLA Foundation . . . To Daniel G. McIntosh, new president of the Beverly Hills Bar Assn. . . . To Jodie Foster, honored by Big Sisters Guild.

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* Glittering Events: Ed Asprey of Asprey Bond Street London (recently sold) greeted guests at the Peninsula Hotel to show off Asprey’s sunflower jewelry collection, rare silver and Christmas goodies priced from $45 to $500,000 . . . Christie’s honored members of the Blue Ribbon of the Music Center with a tea to preview the auction firm’s inaugural sale of fine jewels in Los Angeles.

* November’s social pace has been awesome. California Community Foundation recognized founding members of the Legacy Society at the foundation’s 80th anniversary tribute. Oscar Arias, former president of Costa Rica and recipient of the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize gave the keynote address on “The Spirit of Community.” Two hundred walked away with Costa Rican coffee . . . Vic Damone starred in the Young Musicians Foundation gala at the Beverly Hilton . . . Mark Peel and Nancy Silverton directed sous chefs for the Planned Parenthood Los Angeles Guild’s Sous Chefs’ Dinner XVI (formerly “The Men’s Dinner”) at Campanile Restaurant . . . Classical guitarist Christopher Parkening thrilled Neighborhood Music School Assn. benefit-goers with his recital at Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena . . . Los Angeles Founder Chapter and Auxiliary of ARCS Foundation Inc. honored Capt. W. M. (Wally) Schirra Jr. (Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronaut) at its Beverly Hills scholar luncheon . . . Sally Doll headed the USC Trojan League of Los Angeles annual benefit “You Gotta Have Art” luncheon for the School of Fine Arts.

* More whirl: The UCLA College of Letters and Science Awards dinner raised $100,000 . . . Step Up on Second’s executive director Susan Dempsay turned 60.

* Mary Lou Loper’s column is published Sundays.

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