Fans sparkle at fund-raising gala for opera with music, fun and style

At 29th annual event, enthusiasts raise more than $5,000

April 25, 2002|By Mary Johnson | Mary Johnson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Eighty opera fans who gathered at the Sheraton Barcelo Hotel for the Annapolis Opera's 29th annual fund-raising gala helped raise more than $5,000 for the opera.

Festivities included dancing to the sounds of Zim Zimarel's combo, a silent auction, a three-course dinner with wine and a concert of arias and show tunes sung by lyric soprano Amanda Gosier, accompanied by the opera's music director, Ronald Gretz.

The gala featured a genuine diva in Gosier, winner of the audience-favorite award at this year's vocal competition and later a soloist at the Pasta and Puccini dinner in February. The 26-year-old again showed her affinity for Puccini in Musetta's Waltz. Gretz lent a sensitive accompaniment and sparkling narrative.

Another aria, "Addio, donde lieta" from La Boheme, captured the poignancy of Mimi's farewell to Rudolfo. Gosier's final Puccini aria of the evening expressed every nuance of feeling contained in "O mio bambino caro" from Gianni Schicchi.

Arias were followed by selections from American folk opera, Viennese operetta, and Broadway show tunes. The purity of Gosier's "Summertime" from Gershwin's Porgy and Bess was stunning. Her heartfelt "Vilia" from Lehar's Merry Widow provided an opportunity for Gosier to display her easy rapport with the audience, as she cued everyone when to join in singing this haunting melody.

Gosier and Gretz delivered a sparkling "I Could Have Danced All Night" from Lerner and Loewe's My Fair Lady to end the evening's musical segment.

Speaking of sparkles, the gala attendees took fashion to a new level.

Chic in black and white, her waist cinched by a silver belt, Barbara Roodvoets presided over the event with efficiency and charm. Roodvoets acknowledged the support of her committee, which included public relations expert Anne Dine, elegantly understated in a cream-and-gray gown accented by matinee-length pearls, Melanie Teems, wearing a salmon-colored creation, and Sylvia Earl, looking regal in subtle, silvery gray. Other committee members included Pat Sullivan, in a wine-colored gown, with her daughter Julia wearing a black cocktail dress.

Other notable attendees included Annapolis Mayor Ellen Moyer, honorary chairwoman, wearing a simple black dress topped by a crocheted vest and shiny bronze scarf. Wearing a dark gown of shimmering sequins, Annapolis Opera President Jean Jackson said she was pleased by the level of commitment shown by new and veteran volunteers.

Harry Lindauer wore a patch-vest given him by the Opera, and his wife, Thea, wore a matching jacket made from patches of opera costume fabrics. Former Opera president Anna Marie Darlington-Gilmour arrived fashionably late, making a spectacular entrance in a royal blue sequin sheath, adorned by her signature "Opera" pin.

Among the elegantly attired gentlemen were Dennis Monk, John Bosley, Felix Rosario, John Belcher and John Sullivan - all contributing their time and talents.

In past years, many partygoers came costumed as their favorite opera characters.

But this time, the only person seen carrying on this tradition was Madeline Hughes, who in a sheer white gown with a bejeweled collar was dressed as Don Giovanni's Donna Anna.

Upcoming opera events were also announced, including dinner at Carrol's Creek CafM-i on Aug. 5, when the restaurant will donate a percentage of proceeds to Annapolis Opera. On July 20, the opera will take the stage at Quiet Waters Park.

Nov. 8 and 10 will mark the presentation of Johann Strauss' Die Fledermaus.

In early February the annual Vocal Competition will be held, and later that month a Valentine's celebration will be combined with Pasta and Puccini dinners on Feb. 14 and 15.

The season ends March 21 and 23 with Verdi's La Traviata.

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