Lyric Opera's Fantasy of the Opera gala

Fantasy of the Opera Fantasy of the Opera

One of my favorite events to attend each year is the annual Fantasy of the Opera gala, a fundraiser that supports the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

As a member of the Lyric’s Guild Board of Directors, which hosts the annual event, I am proud to do my part to raise money for the Lyric, one of the most important cultural institutions in Chicago.

From the food to the music to the décor, the Fantasy of the Opera is always a feast for the senses, and this year was no exception. Held on Jan. 31 at the Civic Opera House in Chicago, this year’s gala, themed “Petals and Pearls,” was inspired by the Lyric’s recent production of Madama Butterfly.

The Civic Opera House was transformed into a resplendent Japanese garden, complete with hanging paper lanterns, pretty pink fans, cherry blossoms and more. Guests enjoyed sushi and sake, as well as a performance by taiko drummers, an origami presentation, and an ikebana floral showcase.

The theme was also evident in the raffle prizes, which included roundtrip tickets to Tokyo, as well as Majorica pearls and an Oriental rug. To help out, I donated a complete autographed collection of my Growing Through Arts® children’s books to the silent auction, which also included prizes such as tickets to the Chicago Blackhawks and a Louis Vuitton handbag.

This year, I was thrilled to have been chosen as one of the Best Dressed at the event by Social Life Chicago for my short silver dress, bright red shoes and long string of pearls. What an honor!

The event featured a cocktail hour followed by a cabaret performance by some of the Lyric’s most renowned stars, including Christine Brewer, Ana Maria Martinez, Brandon Jovanovich, Eric Owens, Jill Grove and David Cangelosi, who performed selections from the great American songbook and Broadway classics.

Following the cabaret, guests sat down for an elegant dinner prepared by Limelight Catering and then danced the night away to music by the Rendezvous band.

Victoria Friedman, an attorney with McDermott Will & Emery who also was named to the Best Dressed List, called the evening “spectacular” and said she was proud to be able to support the Lyric Opera, one of Chicago’s most treasured gems. “The Lyric Opera offers an extraordinary repertoire and enriches the community,” she said. “I hope for it to be enjoyed and appreciated by many generations to come.”

I am so pleased with how the entire evening turned out and proud that we were able to raise more than $420,000 in a single night, which will not only go towards supporting the Lyric Opera but also help them continue to foster an awareness and appreciation of opera through education and community outreach programs.