By Lauren Reeves
Have you ever imagined what Bourbon Street would look like if it went glam? A Mardi Gras Masque: The Gala for Opera Naples would be pretty close. The gala will be at the LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort, 6 p.m., Tuesday, February 25. A highlight of the Southwest Coast social season, this event will include cocktails and an opulent meal, followed by special performances and dancing. Live and silent auctions will help raise funds for Opera Naples’ performances, education and outreach programs.
The primary sponsor of the evening, Crown Jewelers of Naples, is providing a spectacular amethyst and diamond ring as one of the items featured in the live auction. Other auction items include trips to the authentic Mardi Gras in New Orleans (with invitations to VIP parties), a Venetian adventure for either Carnival or the Venice Film Festival, a Francophiles dream vacation to experience the chateaux and wines of the Loire valley, the Ferrari Challenge in Italy, and a luxurious seven-day cruise aboard the Sea Dream yacht, all going to lucky bidders during the course of the evening. A silent auction of luxury items and experiences will complement the live auction.
The evening will include a special performance by the Opera Naples Children’s Chorus under the direction of Robin Frank, and dance music will be provided by Naples’ own Dan Miller, Lew Del Gatto, and a New Orleans-style jazz band.
Greer Grimsley, known worldwide as one of the primary Wagner interpreters of our generation, is the honorary Chair of the event.
“I’m happy to focus a spotlight on Opera Naples with this association,” says Grimsley. “Opera Naples is a very important part of the Southwest Coast’s cultural landscape—by producing professional opera, providing the community with crucial exposure for children to opera in schools, providing performance opportunities for older students, and professional training for young singers and emerging artists, as well. Opera Naples is a gem that needs and is worthy of our support.”
The gala is a principal source of financial support for Opera Naples. Funds raised at the gala support the permanent opera company that enriches the Southwest Florida community. The company produces three operas a year with international artists and rising stars, as well as numerous outreach and educational programs that are integral—and enriching—parts of the Gulf Coast cultural scene.
The evening begins with cocktails at 6 p.m. at LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort, 9891 Gulf Shore Drive in Naples. Tickets are available at (239) 963-9050 or online at www.OperaNaples.org.
For more information, call: (239) 963-9050 or e-mail: ralbaugh@OperaNaples.org.