Florida Grand Opera Celebrates Zarzuela Performance With On-Stage Dinner

By Jana Schiowitz December 13, 2011, 2:20 PM EST

Photo: Courtesy of the Florida Grand Opera

The Florida Grand Opera, along with the SaludArte Foundation, hosted 400 guests November 15 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County. The event was a one-night benefit performance of zarzuela “Luisa Fernanda” with tenor Placido Domingo at the orchestral podium. Organizers honored zarzuela, the Spanish dramatic genre with both spoken and sung scenes, with decor elements like ribbons, flowers, and an all-ivory color palette. “I was very touched when I learned the personal connection that our guest of honor, Placido Domingo, had the tradition of zarzuela and wanted to create a space that would bring patrons into that world,” said Denise Courshon, director of external relations for the Florida Grand Opera and producer of the event.


After guests watched the performance on the Lynn Wolfson stage, organizers transformed the space into a grand ballroom for dinner, “in order to ensure the event carried the sense of simplistic elegance that resonate[d] throughout the production,” Courshon said. First, guests mingled at the V.I.P. reception with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres provided by Barton G, and a flamenco guitar performance engaged guests.

At the sit-down dinner, a monochromatic color scheme covered the space with scenic fabrication by Oscar Foliage. Lush topiaries provided by Jenny's Flowers, with white ribbons resembling a scene from the performance, adorned dining tables and patterned ivory linens provided by Panache, highlighted by white illuminations. “We wanted the setting of the gala to be reminiscent of a scene from the zarzuela itself, which guests had just seen earlier that evening,” Courshon said.

A band played Latin music toward the front of the stage, set against the backdrop of the house seats from which patrons had just watched the performance of the zarzuela.

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