Pittsburgh Opera’s Maecenas XXX



When: Saturday.

Where: Pittsburgh Opera Headquarters.

Maecenas means … “He was a friend to the first emperor of Rome. The patron of the arts,” says Christopher Hahn, general director.

A Minute-By-Minute Recap

7:03 p.m. The Pittsburgh Opera celebrates its 75th anniversary with a black-and-white-themed gala inspired by Philip Glass’ Orphee, which closed the season on May 2. Patrons arrived right on time trying to get a sneak peek at the dining room. “I tell people that they will never believe that this is our garage transformed,” says Mr. Hahn.

7:35 p.m. Roughly 295 guests are arriving in droves and everyone is fashion-focused. Roseanne Wholey sashays by wearing a black Roberto Cavalli gown, complete with black leather gloves, Cindy Gerber dons an emerald Oscar de la Renta design, while Tim McVay and David Bush arrive in vintage Ralph Lauren, stopping to chat with Bill and Vivian Benter (who was striking in Lanvin).

7:51 p.m. The drama begins when masked performers wearing capes and carrying torches enter the cocktail reception. They lead guests to dinner before disappearing on a lift.

8:11 p.m. Gasps are heard from the crowd as they enter the white and silver dining space, designed in part by co-chair Gabriela Porges (wearing Lela Rose). “I wanted something that showcased a transition from dark (like the cocktail reception) to light. We found an old black and white film of ‘Orphee,’ which is being played on the ceiling in snippets.” The room is complete with delicate white orchid and tulip arrangements by Allison McGeary.

8:43 p.m. Performers stroll as patrons enjoy a gourmet meal by the Duquesne Club. Who said opera is boring? The rendition includes a drunken fight over jewelry, swordplay, thumb wrestling and a dash of romance.

9:28 p.m. Honorary chairs Dick and Jan Pagliari (in custom Monique Lhuillier) are presented the Maecenas XXX award. “The opera has become such a big part of our lives, thanks in part to Tito Capobianco (former artistic director), who I learned a lot of bad habits from,” said Mr. Pagliari, laughing.

10:17 p.m. Let the dancing begin! #SEEN staying for one more dance are Betty Ginsburg, Clyde Jones, Robert Morris, Joel and Mia Bernard, Debra Caplan, Dr. Lisa Sibik (in Oscar de la Renta) and Bernie Kobosky (wearing Louis Vuitton), Joseph Auria donning vintage Adolfo, Nachum Golan and Steve Hough, Barbara Tucker, Ellen Roth, Dawn Davies, and Kyle and Casey Reynolds.

READ more in SEEN column: Women's Law Project's Rights to Realities event

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