Palm Beach Opera presented Metropolitan Opera star Sondra Radvanovsky at its 2018 Gala, the company’s largest annual fundraising event, at The Breakers in Palm Beach on Thursday, Feb. 15.
The evening began in the Venetian ballroom for a cocktail reception at 6:30 p.m., which included passed hors d’oeuvres. After the reception, guests moved into the Mediterranean ballroom and were welcomed by General Director Daniel Biaggi, who thanked all in attendance.
The exclusive concert with Sondra Radvanovsky and pianist Anthony Manoli began at 7:30 p.m. Radvanovsky’s “impressive and intimate” performance garnered favorable reviews from Palm Beach Daily News, praising the artist for her “voice and personality that immediately dominate the room.”
“We were thrilled to share such an international opera star with our Palm Beach Opera family,” said Biaggi. “With a growing number of subscribers, our expanding training programs, and our continued efforts to reach new audiences, we have much to celebrate, and even more to look forward to as we prepare for our recently-announced 2018-2019 season.”
Following two encores and roaring applause by the audience, the concert concluded at 8 p.m., and guests made their way back into the Venetian ballroom for a sumptuous three-course dinner over live music provided by Euphoria.
After the first course, David Genser, who along with his wife, Joan, served as Gala Chairs, thanked the upwards of 300 guests in attendance. Following the second course, Radvanovsky spoke about the importance of training the next generation of opera singers, and acknowledged Palm Beach Opera’s Benenson Young Artist and Apprentice Artist Programs. The evening closed with lively dancing in the ballroom.
“We are extremely proud of our Gala Chairs Joan and David Genser, whose extraordinary work and leadership has been instrumental to the incredible success of our gala,” said Managing Director David Walker. “Our increased attendance and support, and our ability to present leading operatic talent from around the world, is a testament to our company’s growing and esteemed reputation.”
Gala sponsors and underwriters in attendance for the evening included the Grand Valentine’s Gala Underwriter Veronica Atkins, Gala Artist Underwriters Isanne and Sanford Fisher, Gala Pianist Underwriters Toni and Martin Sosnoff, and Platinum Sponsors Lois Pope and Henry and Marsha Laufer. Allan and Mickey Greenblatt, Frayda Lindemann, Ari Rifkin, and Dennis and Roseanne Williams all served as Gold Sponsors and also attended the event.
William and Solange Brown, Robert and Ann Fromer and Florence Kaufman all served as Silver Sponsors and were also in attendance. Gala Chairs Joan and David Genser also served as Silver Sponsors. Attending Bronze Sponsors included Jeffrey and Lee Ann Alderton, Bruce Beal, Stanley and Roberta Bogen, John and Susan Connor, Miriam Flamm, Annette Y. Friedland, Roy L. Furman, Sidney and Dorothy Kohl, Morton and Rhea Mandell, Meyer and Lynn Joy Sapoff, Marc Solomon, and Ed and Lynn Streim.
Major Sponsors Dinner Hosts Arlene Kaufman and Sanford Baklor, who held a private dinner at their residence on Feb. 13 to celebrate the gala sponsors, were also in attendance, along with John & Jane Shalam, who hosted a gala kick-off reception for sponsors in December last year. Ed and Lynn Streim served as Silver Recital Aria Underwriters and attended the event.
Jewelry designer Sevan Bicakci served as Corporate Sponsor, and was represented by Creative Director Emre Dilaver and Shaye Strager.
Other guests in attendance included Gladys Benenson, whose generous support funds Palm Beach Opera’s Benenson Young Artist Program, Sander and Carol Abend, Jay Bauer and Eileen Berman, Cynthia Berenson, Daniel Cochran and Gregory Sutphin, John and Susan Domenico, Elliott and Wendy Eisen, Robert and Esta Epstein, Arlette Gordon, Merrill and Charles Gottesman, Barry and Adrienne Gray, Barbara Greis and Howard Gottlieb, Judy and James Harpel, Ross and Susan Hechinger, Peter and Linda Hoffman, Martha Ingram, Jerry and Judith Kaufman, Suzanna and John Laramee, Monica and Scott Laurans, Peter and Paula Lunder, Michael McCafferty and Joseph Horton, Mary Montgomery, Suzanne Niedland, Anka Palitz, Ellis J. and Nancy Parker, Ari Rifkin, John and Karin Strasswimmer, Albert and Jacqueline Togut, Hermé de Wyman Miro, CEO and President of Opera America Marc Scorca, and Managing Director David Walker, among others.
Palm Beach Opera is dedicated to producing live opera at an international standard of excellence and to enriching the life of the communities it serves with a diverse offering of educational programs. Founded in 1961, the fully professional Palm Beach Opera presents mainstage performances at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach and is a proud member of OPERA America and the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County.