Diamond Horseshoe Ball held at the Omni William Penn


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There aren't a lot of 75th wedding anniversaries, so diamonds are the gem of choice for both a 60th and 75th celebration. The Pittsburgh Opera didn't skimp when it came to the glitz Friday evening -- it imported Joden Jewelers and owner Joe Murawski with his collection of dazzling estate pieces. The museum-quality gems were on display in the Urban Room of the Omni William Penn during cocktails along with an extensive silent auction, just the beginning of a glamorous evening for more than 300 guests at the 59th Annual Diamond Horseshoe Ball.

Longtime opera supporters Jim and Electra Agras chaired the gala, and they've been to enough to know how to do it right. Beautiful black, white and silver linens and towering white flowers from Bill Chisnell Productions created a festive atmosphere in the ballroom, perfect for an evening that celebrated the opera's beginning 75 years ago.

Former general directors Tito Capobianco and Mark Weinstein, who now heads the Brevard Music Center, came in for the benefit and were welcomed by general director Christopher Hahn. The long-standing tradition of drawing for a diamond horseshoe pin always donated by the late Marjore Hughes and Karats of Pittsburgh continued, with Melanie Crockard the lucky winner. The ladies who reluctantly pulled themselves away from the jewelry cases for dinner were rewarded with a vichyssoise shooter with a scallop, Asiago-stuffed veal chop cooked to perfection and a dessert sampler with a little of something for everyone.

Catering director Lora Peluso and executive chef Jacky Francois deserve kudos for the wonderful repast. A musical program featuring Pittsburgh Opera resident artists followed, as did a live auction and dancing to Cityscape.

Helping to raise $244,000 were co-chairs Susan and Nick Loutsion, board chair Michele Fabrizi, board president Clyde Jones, auction co-chairs Dr. Mark and Roseanne Wholey and Bob and Sandy Brand, Nancy and John Traina, Rose Kutsenkow, Bill and Vivian Benter, Bernita Buncher and Bill Fetter, Virginia and John DiPucci, Dr. Lisa Cibik and Bernie Kobosky, Dr. Don and Judge Nora Fischer, George and Gloria Ley, Frederica and Enrico Dellavecchia, Lou and Veronica Guarino, Sydelle Kessler, Dr. Art Levine and Linda Melada, Nachum Golan and Steve Hough, Jack Kerr, Dolores and John Barber, Pearl and David Figgins, Paul Gitnik, Ron Booth and lovely Sharon Tomko in the best dress of the night!

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First Published October 14, 2013 8:00 PM


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