San Francisco Opera opened its 93rd season on September 11, 2015. A near capacity crowd of 3,000 filled the seats at the War Memorial Opera House for Verdi’s Louisa Miller, produced by Francesca Zambello. Some 800 of those ticket holders filled the tent for Opera Ball, and 300 gathered at Jardiniere restaurant for the BRAVO! post-performance party.
Though not a traditional ball, the pre-performance dinner and after-party branded Opera Ball inspired ballgowns and dresses worthy of any red carpet. My top-ten looks, in alphabetical order: Barbara Brown in Alexander McQueen, Paula Carano in Oscar de la Renta, Carolyn Chandler in Reem Acra, Carolyn Chang in Andrew Gn, Nancy Kukacka in Tom Ford, Stephanie Marver in Oscar de la Renta, Deepa Pakianathan in Rubin Singer, Paula Pretlow in Oscar de la Renta, Komal Shah in Oscar de la Renta, Mary Beth Shimmon in J Mendel and Allison Speer in Andrew Gn.
Bandel Carano with Paula Carano in a painted rosebud appliqué gown by Oscar de la Renta
Paula Carano in a painted rosebud appliqué gown by Oscar de la Renta
Nancy Kukacka (left) in black and white sequins and fringe from Tom Ford and Stephanie Marver in Oscar de la Renta
Stephanie Marver in Oscar de la Renta
Nancy Kukacka in black and white sequins and fringe from Tom Ford
Daniel Diaz with Barbara Brown in a 3-D animal print on metallic, silk and wool jacquard by
Carolyn Chang in Andrew Gn
Mary Beth Shimmon in a J Mendel gown of satin and crepe with an embellished bodice of cutouts and gold lace
Paula Pretlow in an Oscar de la Renta gown of hot pink satin with a midnight blue overlay
Deepa Pakianathan in red and fuchsia double faced silk satin by Rubin Singer
Komal Shah in embroidered Oscar de la Renta
Allison Speer in pearl encrusted Andrew Gn
Event designer Riccardo Benavides with Carolyn Chandler (in Reem Acra)
Photos by Drew Altizer Photography
If you counted, you know I did not narrow it down to ten! In addition, high honors to all of the women who wore creations from local fashion designer Vasily Vein.
— Related: check out more Red Carpet Bay Area coverage from San Francisco Opera’s season opening events: