Events Highlight – June 2012
In a sense, the Washington National Opera (WNO) is its own worst enemy. As the crème de la crème of the city’s social calendar, the WNO’s annual Opera Ball constantly has to outdo itself, with a string of big-name embassies hosting the lavish event in recent years.
The 2008 Opera Ball was held on the grounds of the palatial French Residence. The next year it was the striking modernist German Residence. Then the Russian Embassy transformed into a winter fairyland for the 2010 ball. And last year, the WNO scored a major coup by getting the Chinese to serve as diplomatic hosts.
Each year, the costumed performers, opulent décor, handcrafted cocktails, laser light shows and multimedia projections seem to get bigger and bigger.
Fortunately, the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates, site of the 2012 Opera Ball, is sure to take the fabulousness up yet another notch.
“As the U.A.E. develops into a hub for culture and the arts, we continue to build relationships with world-class organizations. To that end, Abeer and I welcome the opportunity to support the Kennedy Center and the Washington National Opera, and are honored to be associated with these two institutions,” said Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba. “Opera is a truly global art form, and we are proud to continue our longstanding relationship with the Kennedy Center and be a part of this important cultural exchange.”
The elite philanthropic event regularly attracts hundreds of high-profile Washingtonians despite the hefty ticket prices — $1,200 this year for an individual ticket.
For many though, the price is well worth it. The Opera Ball is the WNO’s largest fundraiser, with 100 percent of the proceeds supporting its award-winning artistic, educational and outreach programs. Ball guests enjoy intimate dinners hosted by various ambassadors at their embassies and residences throughout the city, followed by a dazzling evening of desserts, dancing, performances, culture and hobnobbing at one of the city’s premier black-tie events.
“I am excited for Washington to experience the warm hospitality of our friends from the U.A.E., and I am grateful to Ambassador and Mrs. Al Otaiba for hosting what is sure to be a dazzling jewel of the Washington social calendar,” said Adrienne Arsht, chair of this year’s Opera Ball. “I know that longtime Kennedy Center supporters are in for a major treat when they attend and have the ‘Opera Ball Experience.'”
About the Author
Anna Gawel is managing editor for The Washington Diplomat and a columnist for the Diplomatic Pouch.