Over 350 cultural, business, civic, artistic, and philanthropic leaders came together in support of Portland Opera on Saturday, September 16—raising $1M at the Baroque Ball gala at the Portland Art Museum.
Tony and Emmy Award winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth made her Portland concert debut as part of the event, which was an evening celebrating timelessness, elegance, and the grand art of opera. A trained coloratura soprano, Chenoweth performed works spanning musical theatre, jazz, and American classics, with music director Mary-Mitchell Campbell. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when, as a special surprise, Chenoweth welcomed choir students and instrumentalists from Tualatin High School to join her onstage for the final song of the evening, Ms. Campbell’s “Reasons For Hope.”
“This was really a celebration of the community, and bringing the art of opera to the city and region that we love,” says Christopher Mattaliano, general director. “We are so inspired by the individuals, businesses, and organizations who elevate Portland Opera by sharing their support and advocacy—and this event set a new standard for our organization.”
Governor Kate Brown and First Gentlemen Dan Little were among the honored guests. Platinum entertainment sponsors included: Joanne M. Lilley; Arlene Schnitzer and Jordan Schnitzer, Directors of The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation; Ellyn Bye and Dream Envision Foundation; and Dorothy Piacentini. Gwyneth Gamble Booth and Carole E. Morse served as co-chairs for the event, joined by committee members Celeste Rose, Kregg Arntson, and Charles Stanton. Gold Level Premiere Corporate Partners included: Artslandia, Broadway Across America, The Standard, and Bill Sweat and Donna Morris, Winderlea Vineyard & Winery.
Mistress of Ceremonies Poison Waters and Auctioneer Ian Lindsay enlivened the festivities throughout the evening and live auction. BodyVox performed a surprise dance piece, in period costume, of Madonna’s “Vogue.” The evening also featured a performance of “Torna a Surriento” by international tenor Ryan MacPherson, accompanied by pianist David Saffert.
Anthropologie & Co. designed an immersive lounge and portrait studio in the Marion L. Miller Gallery, featuring a hand-painted opulent backdrop and furnishings curated by the Portland design team. Award-winning photographer Gia Goodrich of VEV Studios directed and photographed the portrait sittings, creating portraits for each guest.
Due to the smoky conditions from area wildfires, the cocktail reception (originally intended to be held in the Sculpture Garden) was moved indoors to the Fred & Suzanne Field Ballroom. Nonetheless, guests enjoyed performances from the artists of Portland Opera a la Cart, the opera’s mobile music venue, to begin the evening. After the performances, guests moved upstairs to the Kridel Ballroom, for a three-course meal by Artemis Foods, inspired by historical records from the court of King Louis XIV of France. Dinner programming consisted of a golden ticket drawing, live auction, and paddle raise. Wines provided by Winderlea Vineyard and Winery were featured throughout the evening. Chenoweth performed from 9 – 10 PM; followed by the Rococo After Party, hosted by Portland Opera’s Ambassador Board.
A particularly poignant moment of the evening occurred when the announcement was made that, together, the event attendees and supporters had achieved the $1M fundraising mark. “A full standing ovation erupted,” says Kay Abramowitz, board president. “That moment was a testament to our Board of Directors, our amazing supporters, and the great work that this organization produces. We are so proud to be Portland’s Opera – and that moment made it so clear that Portland is also so proud of us.”
Proceeds from the Baroque Ball gala support core Portland Opera programming including arts education, free public performances, main stage opera, and more.
Sue Dixon, Director of External Affairs, Portland Opera