AN EVENING of comic opera was the theme of the 27th Grand Opera Ball, which netted $110,000 for the Baltimore Opera Company, making it the most financially successful ball ever held. According to Carol Jean Young, chairman of the ball, that amount is more than double the board's goal of $50,000.
The evening began with a cocktail hour where about 360 guests could view four large cartoon displays, each one depicting one of the four operas scheduled for this season. The exhibits were the winners of the cartoon competition, of which the ball's honorary chairman, Steve Geppi, owner of Diamond Comics Distributors, was the sole judge.
The winners -- James Norman, for his cartoon of "The Merry Widow," and Carlos Taylor for "Tosca" -- received awards from Geppi. It was the daughter of Charles Reisenweber, Kimberly, who accepted the grand prize for her late father's submissions for "La Traviata" and "The Pearl Fishers."
After dinner, the comedic performance of Ira Siff, of New York's LaGran Scena Opera Company, was enjoyed by Carol Jean and her husband, Jay Young; artist Jay Schlossberg-Cohen and his date, Terry Romanoli, of the new Preakness Celebration; Susan and Scott Wilfong, he's executive VP of First Fidelity Bank; Dr. Allan Jensen and his wife, Claire; Dr. Bernard McGibbon and his wife, Mary; Dr. Charles Samorodin and his wife, Lucy, she was the ball's auction chairwoman; Nancy and Tom Stuehler, owners of Truffles Catering, and H&S Bakery's John Paterakis Jr. and his wife, Emily.
The recent auction and dinner to benefit Ladew Topiary Gardens went off without a hitch. More than 200 people attended and bid on the auction items, which brought nice prices, thanks to the expertise of Rick Opfer and his auctioneers.
Among the auction items were a week's stay at Beechwood, the Griswold mansion in Tipperary hunt country in Ireland (fully staffed for seven people); a private fox chase; a duck-hunting trip; and the late Harvey Ladew's personal sterling-silver flask.
Guests included Leith and Ben Griswold III, he's the retired chairman of Alex. Brown Inc.; Wendy and Ben Griswold IV, he's chairman emeritus Alex. Brown; Caroline and Gerald Stautberg, Jerry's Chevrolet; Cynthia and Manning Parsons, department store magnate; Mimi and Thomas Voss, steeplechase trainer; Liz and Turney McKnight, he's Master of Fox Hounds, Elkridge-Harford Hunt; Hannah and Thorne Gould, owners of the historic Breezewood farm; Stiles Colwill, decorating and antiques guru; and Dr. Eddie Cohen, orthopedic surgeon.
More than $40,000 was netted, which is going toward the $2 million Capital Campaign and renovations to the Gardener's Cottage.
Call for parties
If you would like your December or January social events listed in a future calendar, please send a fax with the who, what, when, why, cost, dress and contact number to my attention at (410) 783-2519.