Lyric Launches the Official Season

                   The Opening Night Gala and Opera Ball





By Megan McKinney


Mamie Case, Nancy Searle and Ellen Stirling.


Chicago’s legendary elegance is defined by Lyric Opera’s Opening Night Gala and Ball, which annually launches the city’s formal social season. There may be fewer sightings of opera-length white kid gloves and classic top hats as the years go by; however Lyric’s signature red carpet remains, along with beautifully gowned ladies and tall handsome tycoons willing to pose on the symbolic runner as they arrive for the evening ahead.  

This year, 3,500 guests attended the opening night of Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice, in a greatly anticipated new production by director-choreographer John Neumeier. Dmitry Korchak sang the role of Orphée, Andriana Chuchman was Eurydice and Lauren Snouffer, Amour, in Lyric’s first collaboration with The Joffrey Ballet.

Following the opera, 450 of the evening’s attendees moved on to the Hilton for the Opera Ball.

The Opening Night Gala and Opera Ball are projects of the Lyric Opera of Chicago Women’s Board. Nancy Searle is Women’s Board President. Ellen Stirling was Opening Night Gala Performance and Opera Ball Chairman and Mamie Biggs Case, Vice-Chair.





















Arriving on the Red Carpet, Lyric Chairman David Ormesher and his wife, Sheila. 
























Lyric General Director, President and CEO Anthony Freud and Colin Ure.
























Maestro Harry Bicket and Anne Atzeff.

Caroline and Charlie Huebner.
























Lt. Edward McGuinnis, Liz Stiffel, Ruth Ann Gillis and Michael McGuinnis.

















Gilda and Hank Buchbinder.




















Elizabeth Wheeland and Mike Szpot.

















Laura,  Alex  and Elsa Silva.

Anne and Chris Reyes.

Anne Kaplan and Dia Weill.
























Lyric Young Professionals, Lisa DeAngelis, Claudine Tambuatco and Martha Grant.




















Silvia Beltrametti with King and Caryn Harris.




















Jazelle and D.L. Morriss.
























Jim O’Connor Jr. and Ellen O’Connor.
























Women’s Board President Nancy Searle and her daughter Kristin Searle.

Steve and Lois Eisen.
























Jim and Ellen Stirling.




















Morris Silverman and Lori Komisar.
























Shirley and Pat Ryan.
























Ashley Wheater and Audre Carlin.




















Rick and Cate Waddell.














Betsy Rosenfield and Corinne Wood.












Opera Ball Hostesses, Lili Gaubin, Susan Lenny, Nancy Santi.

Dmitry Korchak, Stewart Grimshaw, John Neumeier, Anthony Freud and Colin Ure.












Orli Staley and Maestro Harry Bicket.












John Neumeier, Anne Kaplan and Lyric Musical Director Sir Andrew Davis.












Jane Pigott with David and Sheila Ormesher.
























Ethel and Bill Gofen.














Renée and Lester Crown, waiting for the show to go on.

Opening Night curtain call with Andriana Chuchman, Dmitry Korchak, John Neumeier, Harry Bicket, Lauren Snouffer and members of the Joffrey Ballet.












The Grand March of the Stars at the Hilton, Andriana Chuchman and Sir Andrew Davis.












The Grand March continued, Nancy Searle and John Neumeier.












Francee Harrington and Vern Broders stepping out on the Hilton dance floor.












The Hilton dance floor beginning to heat up.                                                                                                                                  












Lois Eisen and Greg Thompson owning the Hilton dance floor.

























To see more of Greg and Mamie Case, Ellen and Jim Stirling and the 2017 Lyric Opera of Chicago Opening Night Gala and Ball, click on Classic Chicago’s Mid-week Update, Wednesday, October 11.


Photo Credit:
Robert Kusel
Dan Rest
Todd Rosenberg
Jaclyn Simpson
Author Photo:
Robert F. Carl