Weekend Round Up, Aug. 4 – 7
Arts & Society
Washington National Opera Gala
Georgetowner • October 21, 2010
The Washington National Opera raised the curtain on its 55th season, Sept. 11, but not before the Kennedy Center audience sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” — an opera tradition here, as WNO general director Placido Domingo reminded all from the opera house stage. Giuseppe Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschara” — “A Masked Ball” — cracks a heartbreak of wrongful regicide in Sweden. With the masked ball ruse in the work, the post-opera ball was itself a masked one at the Embassy of Italy. With masks provided, along with dinner and dancing, the gala-goers beamed as well as the perfectly lighted venue. [gallery ids="99277,104429,104440,104436,104434" nav="thumbs"]
The Women’s Committee of the Washington Ballet celebrated the upcoming season “Untamed” with a wine infused jewelry sale by Michelle Hughes and Vanessa Murray followed by an open rehearsal and post-performance reception at the Ballet studio on Sept. 29. Everyone enjoyed the young dancers in the Ballet’s recent two-year post-high school training program who excelled to “Old Blue Eye’s’ classics. The evening’s highlight was the full performance of Rooster danced to Christopher Bruce’s choreography and Rolling Stone classics, an awesome preview of the delights to come. [gallery ids="99274,104394,104410,104399,104407,104404" nav="thumbs"]
Women Making Choices
On Sept, 28, a few intrepid men joined several hundred women bedecked in red feather boas at 701 Restaurant for a reception prior to the screening at Burke Theater of Hot Flash Havoc, a provocative and revealing film about menopause. In her opening remarks Phyllis Greenberger, President & CEO of the Society for Women’s Health Research, introduced the film as entertaining, informative and educational. The film presents compelling personal accounts by women who maintain that the Women’s Health Initiative study released in 2002 misrepresented the benefits of hormonal replacement therapy. Their stories were validated through in-depth interviews with leading experts, several of whom formed a panel after the screening to answer questions. [gallery ids="99272,104369,104385,104374,104382,104379" nav="thumbs"]
Last Kiss of Summer
Last Kiss of Summer, a special event in support of Second Chance Employment Services, took place at the Four Seasons on Sept. 23. In 2002 Ludy Green founded the non-profit organization to promote financial security for at-risk women and their children through free and professional comprehensive employment training and placement services. In her remarks, Ludy spoke of “kids who are full of dreams for the future.” She deplored the “stain of domestic violence” and said “God bless America where people to give others a second chance.” Pamela Brown of ABC7/WLA-TV and NewsChannel 8 emceed the program which featured activist and author Katie Hnida as guest speaker. The dinner included a live auction and was followed by dancing [gallery ids="99270,104339,104350,104347,104344" nav="thumbs"]
The Shakespeare Theatre Company hosted The Harman Center for the Arts Annual Gala on Oct. 3. Helen Lee Henderson accepted the Sidney Harman Award for Philanthropy in the Arts on behalf of the HRH Foundation. The gala performance featured performers interpreting Shakespeare’s Italian plays. René Auberjonois was an amusing master of ceremonies. The all-star program included the Julliard Jazz Artists Diploma Ensemble, leading artists with the ABT and National Ballet of Canada and Frederica Von Stade, who was breathtaking on her farewell tour. Artistic Director Michael Kahn in his introduction of Annette Bening, to whom he presented The William Shakespeare Award for Classical Theatre, said that “a classically trained actor can do anything.” Ms. Bening proved him correct with a moving excerpt as Juliet which brought the audience to its feet. Everyone proceeded to a superb Italian repast and dancing at the National Building Museum, transformed into Venice for the evening.
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Wolf Trap Ball
The Wolf Trap Ball is held on the magnificent stage at Wolf Trap’s Filene Center – one of the largest stages in America. The honorary host, Ambassador of Canada Gary Doer celebrated the culture and grandeur of Canada.
Proceeds from the Ball benefit Wolf Trap Foundation’s renowned arts and education programs, including Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, a nationwide and international program that uses the performing arts disciplines of drama, music and movement to help teach literacy and other academic and social skills to disadvantaged children. [gallery ids="99268,104345,104341,104334,104337" nav="thumbs"]
Pro Bono help lets children soar in D.C.
The D.C. Children’s Law Center held its 10th Annual Helping Children Soar benefit at the Kennedy
Center, Sept. 21. The rooftop get-together honored CNN’s Sanjay Gupta, M.D., and law firm Covington & Burling for work in raising awareness and improving the lives of underserved children. One good example: When a slow-moving agency or apartment manager gets a letter from a law firm, things happen quickly. A father of three girls, Gupta, who has reported from such disasters as the earthquake in Haiti and the floods in Pakistan, said he tells patients, “I treat your child as my child.” Gupta recalled a phrase he heard in Sudan: “A miserable place is where a child’s smile is never returned.” We like to think it is never like that here. [gallery ids="99267,104331,104329" nav="thumbs"]
Opera Camerata 2010
On Oct. 8, The Opera Camerata of Washington, now in its 20th anniversary season, presented Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow at the Chancery of the Embassy of Austria. The operetta featured Elisabeth Turchi, José Sacín, Jesús Daniel Hernández, and Jennifer Matthews with dancers from the Ballroom Dance Company of Washington, D.C. Roger Riggle directed the production and Maestro Stephen Czarkowski conducted the orchestra and chorus. Princess Selene Obolensky and Countess Gertrude d’Amecourt were front and center enjoying the performance. [gallery ids="99265,104324" nav="thumbs"]
Thelonious Monk Awards
It was a glorious evening of song at the Kennedy Center on Oct. 4 as the 2010 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition and Gala Concert paid an all-star tribute to the Great American Songbook. A who’s who of jazz legends was hosted by Thelonious Monk, Jr., Herbie Hancock, Phylicia Rashad and Billy Dee Willliams. Aretha Franklin could not be present to accept the Maria Fisher Founder’s Award but Gladys Knight was a wow replacement. The finalists were world class. French-born Cyrille Aimée placed third, Charenée Wade of Brooklyn second, and winner Cécile McLorin Salvant of Miami garnered a $20,000 scholarship and Concord Music Group recording contract. She held her own with the pros as she sang the opening lines of the Blue Skies finale. [gallery ids="99264,104323" nav="thumbs"]