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Opera Divas Get Down at Studio 54

March 20, 2001, 12:00 AM EST

Divas Get Down benefit for the New York City Opera Studio 54 Monday, 03.19.01, 7 PM onward
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For its Divas Get Down benefit, the New York City Opera left behind its traditional venue, the New York State Theater, to take guests to another legendary space, Studio 54. The venue, with its sassy Cabaret decor, was an apt fit for the evening's equally non-operatic entertainment: Sopranos Amy Burton, Elizabeth Futral and Marquita Lister, three of opera's newest and brightest stars, sang vocal standards by George Gershwin, Rogers & Hart, Jerome Kern and others for 500 opera supporters.

Jennifer Zaslow, the director of sponsorship and special events for the opera, organized the event, which raised $220,000. To make Studio 54 suitable for a dinner, planners put some large tables for 10 in the floor area in front of the stage that usually has only small cabaret tables. Other guests ate their dinners at the cocktail tables and permanent seats used for Cabaret.

Match Catering & Event Styles enhanced the space's look with red tablecloths, glowing votive candles and beautiful centerpieces (by Marian Kelly with red tulips, red freesia, and fashion and black magic roses). For dinner, Match served individual chicken pot pies in a chardonnay sauce accompanied by baby peas, mushrooms and carrots.

Peter Duchin of Duchin Entertainment provided dinner and dance music before the sopranos' performance, which was followed by an appearance by Brent Barrett of Annie Get Your Gun. The four singers sang a revised version of “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better,” changing the duel between Annie Oakley and Frank Butler to a Broadway musical singers versus opera singers showdown. It was an immensely fun and entertaining conclusion to a wonderful evening.

--Suzanne Ito

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