Lyric Opera's Winter Benefit Gets Masked-Ball Theme

By Jenny Berg February 9, 2011, 1:45 PM EST

Photo: Eric Craig

Lyric Opera of Chicago's "Fantasy of the Opera" Gala Benefit
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From diamonds to hearts, the Lyric Opera's Fantasy of the Opera benefit never shies away from a theme. This year, the Saturday-night event at the Civic Opera House was dubbed “Masked Ball.” Monica Pedersen was chair, and Patrick Bitterman co-chaired.

In keeping with theme, masks showed up in everything from Richard Remiard Event Design's centerpieces to giant gobos in the foyer, which illuminated columns with grinning pink faces. Servers and guests donned the thematic accessory, and the specialty drink—a blend of cassis, blackberries, and Veuve Clicquot Champagne—was known as the “Royale Unmasked.” Calihan's three-course dinner ended with a chocolate-almond cake topped with a tiny edible mask.

Apart from the preponderance of masks, the event remained relatively unchanged from previous years. Beginning with a cocktail reception featuring tasting stations from local restaurants, the evening also included dancing to a live band and a cabaret performance by Lyric Opera singers. Some 550 guests attended, and the final take was $484,000. 

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