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Socials swarm for Pittsburgh Opera's Maecenas Ball

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By Kate Guerriero
Sunday, May 15, 2011

There are a few things that seem to go hand in hand when one is in the presence of Archbishop of Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl, and on Saturday, it didn't take too long before we were able to pin point exactly what was on everyone's mind as His Eminence graciously made the rounds during the Pittsburgh Opera's Maecenas Ball.

"My hands are sweating and I'm not even Catholic!" mused Kathe Patrinos, who was being lauded along with her plus-one, Jim, with the Maecenas Award.

More than 350 socials swarmed into the Opera's headquarters on Liberty Avenue for what was being talked about as the hottest ticket in town (at $750 a pop). Upon entrance, you'd think you were standing in the midst of a spectacularly lush cocktail lounge accented by vibrant red lighting that most of us couldn't believe had been a parking garage just a week earlier, the handywork of All in Good Taste Productions and the man behind the curtain, Bob Sendall.

"I was here running the sweeper at 10 o'clock this morning," he laughed.

Cocktail hour saw event chairs Dr. Lisa Cibik and Bernie Kobosky circulating with the likes of Bishop David Zubik , co-chairs Roseanne Wholey and Scott "Scooter" Westwood, Sy Holzer, Nadine Bognar, David Savard, Athena Sarris Simms and Ian Simms, Joe and Carol Massaro, Nachum Golan and Steve Hough, board prez John and Nancy Traina and Dr. John and Dolores Barber before we were ushered into the The George Rowland White Opera Studio, which had been reborn from a cavernous open space to a piped and draped wonderland lit by hanging faux-crystal chandeliers.

Following a performance by Resident Artists, a collective standing "O" for Wuerl as he graciously accepted his Lifetime Achievement Award. "How wonderful it is to be back in Pittsburgh! It's only when you're away for awhile do you realize how special Pittsburgh is," although, what really got us going was when opera General Director Christopher Hahn egged him on to sing for his supper ... literally.

"You know when you have the main feature and then you have a cartoon• That is what you have right now," the cardinal laughed before singing a few bars.

Dinner served and a live auction that was about to eat away at the ambiance before Athena Sarris and Bill Benter (with Vivian ) got into a bidding war over a Kobold watch that ended with a $20K "SOLD!" stamp and a new timepiece for Sarris.

A record-breaking evening for our resident operaites to the tune of more than $500K ... and without missing a single beat.

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Maecenas Ball 2011

Maecenas Ball 2011

The Pittsburgh Opera's annual Maecenas Ball in the Stip District, Saturday, May 14, 2011.

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