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Pittsburgh Opera artists perform for crowd at Maecenas XXXGala

May 12

Art for Change — Persad Center

Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh hotel, Downtown

May 15

Black and White Bash — Ladies Hospital Aid Society

University Club, Oakland

May 16

The British Are Coming! Pittsburgh Public Theater Gala

Westin Convention Center Pittsburgh hotel, Downtown

412-316-8200, ext. 723

The Nellie Leadership Awards Gala — Three Rivers Youth

Carnegie Museum Music Hall, Oakland

Man/Woman of the Year — Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Heinz Field, East Club Lounge, North Shore

Awards of Distinction — Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania

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May 17

The Royal Ball — Gemini Theater Company

Syria Shrine Center, Cheswick

The Warhol's 20th Anniversary Gala

The Andy Warhol Museum, North Shore

Sunday, May 11, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

“For those of you who know your Roman numerals, that's triple X,” said general director Christopher Hahn, referring to the Maecenas XXX Gala. “But I assure you it's going to be a clean evening.”

But it became apparent early on the night was not going out without a bang for the 310 supporting their beloved Pittsburgh Opera.

“If you think about opera and see beyond the thinking that it's high-brow, it's really stories about the human condition,” said Donna Peterman (with John). “It's a little bit of escapism.”

Escapism, indeed. To begin, the evening unfolded at the opera's Strip District parking garage/lounge, which left more than a few temporarily disoriented.

“This does not look like the parking garage. This is amazing!” said Dusty Elias Kirk.

Then, midway through cocktail hour, the opera's resident artists parted the crowd a la the Red Sea with a dramatic entrance amid torches and smoke, heralding a medley that included scenes from Richard Wagner's “The Flying Dutchman.”

Once in full swing, the party slowly but surely made its way into the studio, which had been transformed from its raw, industrial warehouse roots into an elegant space glowing with 600 candles and airy white orchids and hydrangeas. The design was a collaboration between Allison McGeary Floral and Gabriela Porges, who chaired the evening with her husband, David.

In between Duquesne Club-catered courses, the resident artists wowed with another string of lively teasers before longtime supporters Jan and Dick Pagliari were lauded with the Maecenas Award.

Tito Capabianco (former general director) got us involved, Dick Pagliari said. “We'd drink grappa together. Tito taught me a lot of bad habits!”

With music from Cityscape luring everyone back to the lounge for the after-party, things were just getting started for board chairwoman Michele Fabrizi, board prez Clyde Jones, Dr. Lisa Cibik and Bernie Kobosky, Vivian and Bill Benter, Federica and Enrico Dallavecchia, Nancy and John Traina, Rose Kustenkow, Paul Gitnik and Gene Svrcek, Nachum Golan and Steve Hough, Gene Welsh and David McAdams, Rosemary and Dr. Mark Wholey, and Ali Good.

Kate Benz is the social columnist for Trib Total Media and can be reached at, 412-380-8515 or via Twitter @KateBenzTRIB.




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