- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 8, 2007

There was nary a soprano or tenor to be heard at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium on Saturday night, but that didn’t stop music lovers from enjoying themselves at the Washington National Opera’s Third Annual Midwinter Gala.

Revelers in black-tie mingled with greeters and dancers in traditional Swedish dress befitting this year’s theme, “Stockholm: City of Northern Lights.” After cocktails, guests made their way to dine in the gilded splendor of the vast room, transformed by Jack Lucky with luminous blue and green lights, sparkling tablecloths in white and blue and centerpieces of birch branches and white roses.

The opera’s Women’s Committee hosted the event under the patronage of Swedish Ambassador Gunnar Lund and his wife Kari Lotsberg. “I’m deeply pleased by what I see,” Mr. Lund told the crowd. “Somehow you’ve captured something of Sweden and the Nordic countries. There’s ice and intimacy one and the same time.”

Guests dined on traditional Swedish fare and danced to the contemporary music of Free Spirit. In between, NBC Channel 4 personality Bob Ryan hosted a live auction that featured a trip to Sweden, including the opportunity to drive Saab sports cars on an ice racetrack (sold at $7,500); a trip to Madrid, with tickets to see WNO General Director Placido Domingo perform and chat backstage afterward ($8,000); and walk-on roles for two at the WNO ($3,600).

Spotted in the crowd: Philip and Nina Pillsbury, Vernon and Ann Jordan, Pat Sagon, Judith Terra, Stuart and Gwen Holliday, John and Christine Arundel, Rebecca Burton, Calvin and Jane Cafritz, Judy Esfandiary, Michael and Cleo Gewirz and the ambassadors of Finland, Norway, Chile and Hungary.

Kelly Jane Torrance

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