This Friday February 11 , the Opera Company of Philadelphia raises the curtain on a new production of Gounod’s Romeo & Juliet. Saturday evening, this past February 5, The Opera Company of Philadelphia (OCP) held the L'Amour & Couture Gala at Philadelphia’s Loew's Hotel benefiting education programs at the OCP.
The Capulets and the Montagues are shown as major fashion houses in a 21st Century world of models, paparazzi, and haute couture. As part of this much-anticipated new production, the Opera Company has partnered with the premier design schools in the region, Moore College of Art and Design; Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design and Philadelphia University to create cutting-edge costume design and creating an opportunity to spotlight the tremendous design talent being cultivated in Philadelphia. Saturday night at the Loews Hotel their was a Gala in celebration of the opening of Romeo & Juliet. After an introduction by the Chairman of The Philadelphia Opera Company's Stephen A Madva,
Eliana Papadakis and Maria Papadakis,
L'Amour & Couture Co-Chairs, explained that the gala was created to recognize the Opera Company of Philadelphia's long tradition of cultivating young artists, a tradition exemplified by OCP's upcoming production of Romeo & Juliet in which the young lovers are played by a real-life husband and wife duo who first came to OCP's attention while students at the Academy of Cal Arts.
Mrs Papadakis telling the story of how Maria was introduced to Opera by being in an Opera when she was young. Then the duo discuss Romeo and Juliet.
Husband and wife Soprano Ailyn Perez and her husband tenor Stephen Costello (center) also play the main characters. Mr. Costello a native of Philadelphia, has performed the role of Edgardo in Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor" at the Fort Worth Opera and the Metropolitan Opera. Ailyn has become internationally known since her critically acclaimed portrayal of Amelia in Simon Boccanegra alongside Placido Domingo at the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin and Teatro alla Scala Milan. Both husband and wife are excited to be a part of Romeo and Juliet where they will be working together again.
These two are adorable. Check out this video of them performing a number from La Bohèm
The night's entertainment included a operatic performance from The Opera Company of Philadelphia
Pianist Bonnie Wagner, Soprano Elizabeth Reiter, bass-baritone Daniel Mobbs, tenor Taylor Stayton, and mezzo-soprano Olivia Vote were magnificent.
There was a very successful silent auction as well as a live auction that brought in additional money to support OCP and it's educational programs. Evantine Design an award-winning event production company created the beautiful center pieces on each table. I was hoping they were going to be the kind of centerpieces they give away to whoever's birthday was closest to the day, I was willing to lie. Wouldn't it have looked lovely on my terrace, and helped me through the rest of the winter? I think so. I am a big fan of Brian Kappra and Evantine Design.
As part of the new fashion-based production of Romeo & Juliet, The Opera Company partnered with three of the premier design schools in the region to create stylish costume design, Moore College of Art and Design, Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design and Philadelphia University. Drexel's University's Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, Moore College of Art & Design, and Philadelphia University were given guidelines by Opera Company veteran costume director Richard St. Clair. The task for their student designers?
"To create stunning, color-rich, avant garde designs to be featured in a runway fashion show within the opera - with a cheeky wink to Renaissance fashion and tabloid magazines," shares St. Clair. "The director love the idea of engaging, fresh, young talent, showcasing the creativity of many of our area's up and coming designers."
The audience loved all the designs, but were particularly perky in their applause with this design by Cassandra Kane, Drexel University. "This was inspired by the extravagant nature of stage costuming" Kane said, "through the manipulation of color, texture, movement and volume. I wanted to challenge of transforming knitwear in to an evening wear piece that is comfortable and practical for the challenges of stage application, while still beautiful and elegant."
My table mate The Hamels Foundation Director of Operations, G-N Kang said she would wear both of these designs. I was partial to what must have been a rainbow flagged inspired dress on the left. Jennifer Lanyon, Philadelphia University says of the dress on the left, "I was inspired by Renaissance menswear, specifically a pair of pumpkin pants with a German slashing technique. My goal was to create a contemporary version of Shakespearean fashion while still being modern. I chose to use the traditional royal colors to bring out the colors and style in Shakespeare's story.
the designers Casandra Kane (Drexel University), Heather Royal (Moore College of Art), Jacqueline Ryan (Drexel University), Kristin Eissler (Drexel University) and Prisca Millance (Drexel University)
Michelle J Arditi, Andrew and Heather Sherlock
Carol Lawrence, Kathleen Chimicles and Renee Amoore. Mrs. Chimicles is wearing a dress from one of the designers from Drexel.
Mike's 2x: Mike Donohoe and Mike Toub
Mike Toub, Eric Hall and Lena Vanler, Nigel Richards and Nicole Cashman, guest, Mina Sabet and GN Kang
GN Kang (left) and NBC10 Show Producer Mina Sabet (right) joined Maria Papadakis (center). Both GN & Maria are wearing Nicole Miller for Mary Dougherty's shop at the Bellevue.
Joan and Michael Fitzgerald
Sandra Newman, Eliana Papadakis and Renee Amoore
Those crazy lovebirds, newly engaged Hadas Kuznits and Dan Reinherz. Add Dancing with the Philadelphia Stars to Hadas' as well as Maria Papadakas' bio as each of the girls will be participating in the The 3rd Annual Dancing with the Philadelphia Stars, benefiting the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America – Philadelphia Delaware Valley Chapter will be on Sunday, April 10.
Alan Sandman, Georgette Ciukurescu and John Pcsolar
The models from John Roberts Powers, Antoinette J Guinyard, Julia Kazmierski, Jia Kim, Gaby Award, Lindsay Lynch, Genevieve Joseph, Lynette Henshaw, and Fadigne Diao
And when the dance floor opened to the sounds of Jump City Jazz Orchestra many of the guests including Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest, Mr and Mrs Steve Sheller, Charlotte and Bob Watts, Nicolas and Kathleen Chimicles, Craig Lewis and Dianne Seminson, Andrea Somkuti and her husband Dr. Stephen Somkuti danced.
A cute ditty from Hadas and Dan.