Last night, over 300 BRAVO! Club members dawned their fanciest dresses and crispest tuxes to celebrate San Francisco Opera’s opening night in style at the annual BRAVO! Gala. The evening was anything but ordinary for BRAVO!’s 21-40 year old opera patrons. Normally, the evening begins with a cocktail reception followed by a seated dinner in City Hall. However, in order to reduce the evening’s ticket price, BRAVO! spiced things up a bit by a change of venue to The Veteran’s Building (located next to the opera house) and by not doing a seated dinner. BRAVO!’s Board of Directors were a little hesitant that their members would be ok with such big drastic changes. However, with the rising cost of well everything, BRAVO! wanted to make sure their members could party like it was 1999 without having to break the bank—and party they did!
The evening began in the lobby of the Veteran’s Building with a two-hour cocktail social complete with tons of tasty morsels. Judging from all of the photo taking, clinking of champagne flutes and laughter, no one even noticed that there wasn’t a seated dinner. We chatted it up and admired everyone in their finest attire without being restricted to a time frame or their seat. It was just what we all wanted—time to catch up and meet new friends.
At little before 8PM, the party moved to the Opera House to see the opening production of Rigoletto. For me, this was definitely the low light of the entire evening. I always enjoy watching everyone come into the opera house all dressed up to the max, but there were private parties going on in all of my best viewing spots. I bet the bum begging for change in the middle of Van Ness had a much better view than I could find inside the opera house.
Once I took my seat with my dearest friends, we couldn’t stop talking about the twisted, drama filled story of Rigoletto. We were excited about the staging, costumes and most importantly the singing. But our excitement soon turned to disappointment once the curtain opened. The opening act seemed to take over 10 minutes for everyone to be on the same timing. And, instead of “new designer gowns came Michael Yeargan’s 15-year-old, fourth-run production; Harry Silverstein’s dismayingly unimaginative block staging; almost-there singing; and oft-thrilling conducting that rarely succeeded in lighting fire in the principals’ bellies.” via SFCV. I couldn’t wait to hear an aria that torn at my heart-strings and made me remember why I love Rigoletto so much. I’m still waiting…
Thank goodness the evening was saved by BRAVO!’s after party. We ventured back to the Veteran’s Memorial building and upstairs to the fabulously decorated, awe-inspiring Green Room. Gala co-chairs Ileana Facchini and Eva Binda did a fabulous job kicking up the glitz and glamour of the Green Room. I’m sure there wasn’t one jaw that didn’t drop upon arriving for the after party. Lola, one of BRAVO!’s Board members, said that “it was an amazing evening with a beautiful ambiance throughout”. There were plenty of places to chill out with a group or make out with your loved one in private.
Usually in the past at BRAVO!’s Gala, it takes a while for the dancing to kick into full swing, but that was not the case last night. The dance floor was packed from the first ten minutes of the after party to the wee hours of the morning thanks to DJ Rukus from SF and DJ DK from LA.
Around 1AM, DJ Rukus took us all back to our prom with Six-Mix-A-Lot and other great hits from the 90s. Part of me wonders if we will all be grooving to Baby Got Back when we are in our 90s. Even a few Opera Guild party goers came over to our Gala because (and I quote) ours was better.
Can’t wait until next year’s BRAVO! Club Gala!