HGO’s very first Opera Ball took place in 1960, just five years after the company’s inception. The theme was Viennese Elegance, the chair was Betty Lou Carter, and it was an unforgettable celebration of this art form and the incredible people who bring it to Houston. A new tradition was born.
Since then, the company’s highly anticipated signature fundraising event has taken our supporters on thematic trips around the world, from St. Petersburg to London, Granada, Venice, and Marrakesh. We are thrilled that this year, for the first time, guests will explore another great city, their own, when we welcome them to the Wortham Theater Center for Opera Ball: A City of Bold Voices on April 15, 2023.
“Our city on the bayou was founded by a group of people whose bold vision for the future defines its character to this day. As a company we reflect that back from the stage,” says General Director and CEO Khori Dastoor. “This year we are shining a spotlight on the people who make this a fabulous place to live—and make us proud to be Houston’s opera company.”
Opera Ball is HGO’s biggest fundraiser, contributing more than $30 million to the excellence of the company over the past 25 years. In addition to funding myriad artistic initiatives, the event supports the training of our Sarah and Ernest Butler Houston Grand Opera Studio artists and provides important resources for the company’s community engagement activities and partnerships. “Our fantastic supporters provide world-class art to everyone in our city,” says Dastoor. “That is truly something to celebrate.”
This year’s theme is close to the heart for Opera Ball Chairs Anne and Albert Chao, longtime company supporters, because Houston is close to their hearts. The Chaos have made the city their home for more than three decades, during which time they have dedicated themselves to making it a wonderful place to live.
Through their philanthropy and leadership, the Chaos have played an outsized role in the success of not only HGO, but also the MFAH, the Asia Society Texas, Houston Ballet, and the Houston Symphony. They also have left an indelible mark upon Rice University and numerous other institutions.
The menu for Opera Ball 2023 will be inspired by Asian, Latin, and Southern Coastal cuisines. The entertainment will also be classic Houston: TSU’s Ocean of Soul marching band, UH’s Mariachi Pumas, local star-on-the-rise Kim Cruse (familiar to fans of The Voice), and renowned tenor Jonathan Tetelman, our Cavaradossi in this spring’s Tosca, joined by artists from HGO’s Orchestra and Chorus.
It is going to be quite a night! We at HGO cannot wait to celebrate the Chaos and all the members of our community who believe investing in great art is important to Houston’s future.
Opera Ball: A City of Bold Voices takes place on April 15, 2023. Contact HGO Special Events for availability of seating! SpecialEvents@HGO.org or 713-546-0700