September 17, 2019

Press Release: Flora + Fauna Fall Ball Raises Over $1M for Portland Opera

More than 350 cultural, business, civic, artistic, and philanthropic leaders came together in support of Portland Opera on Saturday, September 14, 2019 at the Flora + Fauna Fall Ball at the Sentinel Hotel. Portland Opera is delighted to announce that the event successfully raised over $1 million dollars —as a result of the generosity of event sponsors, Portland Opera’s Board of Directors, donors, community contributors, volunteers, and supporters. Proceeds from the Flora + Fauna Fall Ball will strengthen Portland Opera’s ability to serve audiences throughout the region, by supporting operational costs as well as special programming and projects.

“I am overwhelmed by the generosity of our community who came together to support Portland Opera as we embark on this next chapter,” said Sue Dixon, Portland Opera interim general director. “Portland’s civic pride was on display this weekend, as was the importance of opera to this community.”

Originally scheduled to take place at the Portland Art Museum, the event venue was changed to the Sentinel Hotel just over a week prior to the event after the ceiling in the Art Museum’s Kridel Grand Ballroom collapsed.

The evening featured a performance by two-time Tony-Award winning actor, singer, and dancer Sutton Foster who also currently stars as the lead of TV Land’s critically-acclaimed series “Younger.” Foster is best known onstage for her award-winning performances in Anything Goes and Thoroughly Modern Millie, and she will return to Broadway in 2020 alongside Hugh Jackman in a revival of The Music Man.  Her performance included some of Broadway’s favorites, special medley arrangements, and undiscovered gems from Cole Porter to Jason Robert Brown to a special tribute to her mother with a John Denver classic.

Governor Kate Brown and First Gentleman Dan Little, Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, and Brian Rogers, executive director of the Oregon Arts Commission, 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. Bill Sweat and Donna Morris, Proprietors of Winderlea Vineyard and Winery, served as co-chairs for the event, joined by committee members Sona Andrews, Kregg Arntson, Chris and Kathryn Hermann, Cameron Kurosu, Patricia Norris MD, Justine Thede Occhipinti, and Kathryn Wheeler.

Mistress of Ceremonies Poison Waters and Auctioneer Ian Lindsay enlivened the festivities throughout the evening and live auction. The evening also featured a performance of the “Flower Duet” from Léo Delibes’ opera Lakmé by mezzo-soprano Hannah Penn and soprano Hannah Consenz accompanied by pianist Susan McDaniel.

Botanica Floral Design and Anthropologie designed an immersive lounge and portrait studio in the Sentinel’s Library, featuring an opulent backdrop and furnishings curated by the Flora + Fauna Fall Ball Design team. Award-winning photographer Gia Goodrich of VEV Studios directed and photographed the portrait sittings, creating portraits for each guest.

During the welcome reception, guests enjoyed champagne and performances from the jazz quintet Cary Miga & The Newlife. After the welcome reception, guests moved upstairs to the Governor Ballroom for a three-course meal inspired by the beauty and bounty of the Pacific Northwest’s Flora + Fauna. Dinner programming consisted of a golden ticket drawing, live auction, and paddle raise. Wines provided by Winderlea Vineyard and Winery and Elk Cove Vineyard were featured throughout the evening.  Foster performed from 9 – 10 PM; followed by an After Party hosted by the Portland Opera Young Patron Society.

“On behalf of the board of directors and the Flora + Fauna Fall Ball gala committee, we are so grateful to everyone who came together to make this event such a success for Portland Opera,” said Bill Sweat and Donna Morris, co-chairs for the gala.

Proceeds from the Flora + Fauna Fall Ball underscore Portland Opera’s dedication to offering opera experiences for young audiences and strengthens the company’s commitment to professional development for the next generation of artists, storytellers, and leaders in our field.

About Portland Opera

Portland Opera exists to inspire, challenge, and uplift our audiences by creating productions of high artistic quality that celebrate the beauty and breadth of opera.

 Since 1964, Portland Opera has contributed to the cultural, artistic, and economic landscape of the city and region that we love. We celebrate the beauty and breadth of the opera repertoire with performances that take place in the Keller Auditorium, Newmark Theatre, and the Gregory K. and Mary Chomenko Hinckley Studio Theatre at the Hampton Opera Center. The company is also a committed educational partner, touring fully staged operas to schools and community centers throughout Oregon and SW Washington region each year, in addition to a host of other efforts designed to make opera accessible for all.

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Silja Tobin, Marketing & Communications Manager
Portland Opera