By Candace Jordan, Special to Tribune Newspapers
2:27 PM EST, February 22, 2013
For the 29th annual Fantasy of the Opera Gala on Feb. 9, the Lyric's Guild Board transformed the Civic Opera House into 1920s Paris for this year's theme, "Midnight in Paris." More than 700 patrons in black-tie attire sipped Champagne among French-inspired sights that included a two-story twinkling Eiffel Tower, a Moulin Rouge nightclub, strolling mimes and cancan dancers.
More than 18 of Chicago's top restaurants offered tastings. Patrons also enjoyed henna tattooing, tarot-card readings, jugglers and a photo booth. A silent auction included box seats to a Lyric dress rehearsal, a Joffrey Ballet performance with signed slippers, a pair of Muhammad Ali autographed boxing gloves, helicopter rides, sailing on Lake Michigan and French lessons.
Following the reception, Lyric director/principal conductor Sir Andrew Davis welcomed guests and introduced the program featuring stars of the current season. At one point during the show, he noted, "Our singers don't need microphones — this should be our ad slogan." Jamie Barton, Elizabeth Futral, David Cangelosi, Amanda Majeski, Andrea Silvestrelli, Ana Maria Martinez, Lucas Meachem and Albina Shagimuratova performed selections from the great American songbook and Broadway classics accompanied by pianist Valerie Maze.
A seated dinner in the Graham Room followed for gala sponsors and VIP ticket holders, while other guests enjoyed dancing to Rendezvous Music. A surprise performance by "La Boheme" baritone Lucas Meachem delighted the crowd when he joined the band for a rendition of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody."
"Midnight in Paris," chaired by Courtney Rosen with co-chairs David Valkema, Louise Johnson, Allison Alexander and Britt Miller, raised more than $450,000 for Lyric programming.
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