Fantasy of the Opera 2009 Review - "Be Dazzled" was Dazzling

Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Grand Foyer (photo:Robert Kusel)

From the moment we stepped into the fairytale like scene in the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Grand Foyer until the bewitching hour when the last strains of the Ken Arlen Orchestra were heard, it was an evening to remember. Everything sparkled, the chandeliers, the lights, the ladies gowns and jewelry (including some toy light-up rings) on the wonderful evening when Lyric Opera of Chicago celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary of “Fantasy of the Opera”.  This year’s event, “Be Dazzled” was simply dazzling.  A friend said, “I've never been to this event, and was astonished at how special every part of the evening was. It was a spectacular evening”.

Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Grand Foyer, enjoying the food, music and conversation (Photo:Leon Keer)

There were 575 people in attendance and net proceeds of $511,000 raised, which will be used to benefit the Lyric Opera’s general fund.  Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Guild Board of Directors hosted this event.

Everyone in Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Grand Foyer enjoying "Be Dazzled" (Photo:Leon Keer)

We enjoyed wandering through the various restaurant stations throughout the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Grand Foyer and then the American Airlines Mezzanine, enjoying the delicious treats offered by some of Chicago’s best restaurants including Aigre Doux, Carnivale, Coco Pazzo, Devon Seafood Grill, Lloyd’s Chicago, Nine Steakhouse, One North Kitchen & Bar, Piccolo Sogno, Phil Stefani's 437 Rush, Prosecco, Rivers Restaurant, Roy’s, Shikago, and Townhouse.

American Airlines Mezzanine with restaurant stations (Photo:Leon Keer)

Our wanderings eventually lead us to the silent auction where beneath silver and ice-blue silk canopies in the Nancy W. Knowles Lobby, we placed a silent bid, choosing this instead of purchasing a raffle ticket for one of three American Airlines trips.  My friend commented, “I liked the range of items, in many categories.  I liked the fact that there were items in many price categories, both high and low.  In addition, I really liked the look of the area, with each section marked by the high sheer curtains.  Very classy looking.”

Silent auction - sports (photo: Leon Keer)

The Fantasy of the Opera 2009 Cabaret Program was outstanding.  Master of Ceremonies, Sir Andrew Davis, was charming and humorous, as always. Craig Terry’s accompanying piano made a great show better. Broadway show tunes are usually pleasant to listen to but when sung by individuals as skilled as opera singers, they were a very special treat. The Fantasy Cabaret showcased the diverse musical talents of Lyric artists Deborah Voigt and Clifton Forbis (Tristan und Isolde), Erin Wall and Matthew Polenzani (The Abduction from the Seraglio), David Cangelosi (Manon, Madama Butterfly), Philip Kraus, and Joseph Kaiser, as well as Ryan Opera Center members Angela Mannino, Kathryn Leemhuis, Edward Mout, David Portillo, Paul Corona, and Craig Irvin; and Lyric Opera Chorus members Lynn Lundgren, Rose Stuart, and Cathleen Dunn, a.k.a. the “Cangelinas.” Selections by Lerner & Lowe, Cole Porter, Stephen Sondheim, Kurt Weill, Sammy Cahn, and others were performed.  “Lida Rose/Will I Ever Tell You” from The Music Man by Meredith Wilson brought the house down.

Ready for dinner (Photo: Leon Keer)

The dinner prepared by Calihan Catering was wonderful and I was very impressed by the speed with which they accommodated my vegetarian request.  And what a great meal it was. The Ken Arlen Orchestra provided dance music in the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Grand Foyer and while  some people danced, others enjoyed artisanal cheeses by Pastoral, elegant sweets by Ethel’s Chocolate, and assorted dessert wines by The House of Glunz. My friend commented on the Ken Arlen Orchestra that, “He has a great band, and I think that everyone enjoyed the music, whether listening or dancing.”

Dancing to the Ken Arlen Orchestra (photo: Dan Rest)

As the evening ended we wondered how next year’s event could top this, and we were also thinking about whether our silent auction bid was a winner.

Fantasy co-chairman Oscar Tatosian, Fantasy Chairman Christina Rashid, Silent Auction chairman Courtney Rosen, Raffle chairman Craig Milkint (Dan Rest)

Fantasy Chairman Christina M. Rashid (Chicago)
Fantasy Co-Chairman Oscar Tatosian (Chicago)
Fantasy Raffle Chairman Craig R. Milkint (Hinsdale)
Fantasy Silent Auction Chairman Courtney Rosen (Chicago)
Guild Board President Elaine Cottey (Chicago)

Michael Judge and Ellen Costello, CEO, Harris Private Bank, LEAD SPONSOR of Fantasy (Photo:Dan Rest)

Platinum Grand Benefactor & Lead Sponsor
Harris Private Bank

Golden Grand Benefactors
An Anonymous Donor; Baker & McKenzie; closerlook, inc.; Deloitte; Ernst & Young LLP; Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP; Richard P. and Susan Kiphart; KPMG LLP; Mayer Brown LLP; Jeffrey C. Neal and Susan J. Cellmer; US Bank; and Donna Van Eekeren

Silver Grand Benefactors
An Anonymous Donor; Deutsche Bank; Eisen Family Foundation;
James G. and Laura G. McCormick; Allan and Elaine Muchin; Peer Pedersen; and Spencer Stuart & Associates

BBJ Linens and Quarles & Brady LLP

Fantasy Raffle Sponsor
American Airlines, the Official Airline of Lyric Opera

Calihan Catering

Diamond Lounge Sponsors
Pastoral, The House of Glunz, Ethel’s Chocolate

Ken Arlen Orchestra

Heffernan Morgan, Inc. and Oscar Isberian Rugs

Photos: Robert Kusel, Dan Rest/Lyric Opera of Chicago, Leon Keer/Chicago Splash Magazine

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