The Metropolitan Opera’s 2007-2008 season-opening performance of Lucia di Lammermoore was broadcast to thousands in Times Square and Lincoln Center’s Josie Robertson Plaza on Monday night. So by comparison, the post-performance opening-night gala for 1,050 was an intimate affair. Tables were set in a transformed Damrosch Park, just steps from the opera house.
Designer David Monn created an atmosphere that reflected Lucia, a tragedy set in the Scottish countryside. He used three basic elements—bleached oak leaves, Queen Anne’s lace, and birch bark—to give the space a haunting and elegant forest theme. Guests dined at white-on-white tables under a full moon (actually a giant opaque glass-ball chandelier). The birch bark provided texture to the candlelit walls.
Metropolitan Opera director of special events Wendy Westwood said that seating such a large group of supporters can be a challenge, but she was thrilled with this year’s layout. “All of the tables had a fantastic view” of the speakers (such as music director James Levine), she said. Attendees included Walter Cronkite, Zac Posen, Willem Dafoe, and Bianca Jagger.
A traditional dinner, prepared by Catering by Restaurant Associates, included heirloom chicken; artichoke, wild mushroom, and truffle stuffing; sautéed spinach; and fresh corn polenta; finished by a molten chocolate cake with strawberries. Guests sipped Champagne Louis Roederer and two wine selections.
The event—chaired by Mercedes and Sid Bass, Bruce and Suzy Kovner, and William D. Rondina—raised more than $4.8 million.