Lyric’s Opening Night Opera Ball

Opening Night Opera Ball Co-Chair Elizabeth O’Connor Cole, far right, with some of her friends.





By Megan McKinney


Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 65th season was launched on Saturday, September 28 with the 4:30 p.m. opening of Lyric Opera House doors. It was a busy red carpet that welcomed early attendees gathering in the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Grand Foyer for champagne. Meanwhile, sponsors, Lyric VIPs and their guests were enjoying similar pre-performance fare at a private reception in the William B. and Catherine Graham Room.


Lyric Opera of Chicago General Director, President & CEO Anthony Freud, Women’s Board President Nancy Searle, Opening Night Opera Ball Co-Chairs Mrs. James J. O’Connor and Elizabeth O’Connor Cole with  Lyric Chair of the Board of Directors David T. Ormesher.


By 6 p.m. audience members were seated for the greatly anticipated opening night performance of The Barber of Seville, a Lyric Opera of Chicago Production. At 9:15 p.m., festivities began moving to the Hilton Chicago for the Opera Ball.


 Lyric’s General Director Anthony Freud, Frank  Tatro and Margarita Chavez join Lyric Music Director Sir Andrew Davis and Music Director Designate Enrique Mazzola.


Following a cocktail reception in the Hilton Chicago’s Normandie Lounge, guests were welcomed to the Opera Ball by Lyric Board of Directors Chair David T. Ormesher in a Grand Ballroom transformed by HMR Designs to evoke an evening in Seville. The exotic décor was balanced by the delightfully reliable Opera Ball traditions of The Stu Hirsh Orchestra and the Grand March of the Stars. 


Patrick and Shirley Ryan

Ruth Ann Gillis, Liz Stiffel and Michael McGuinnis

Elaine and Allan Muchin

Suzanne and Brendan Mulshine

Lester and Renee Crown

Laura and Craig Martin

Daniel Fischel and Sylvia Neil

George Lepauw and Chaz Ebert

Don and Anne Edwards

Elizabeth O’Connor Cole and Jane Lynch

  Andrew Cheney and Kara Killmer.

Karen Wallerstein and Robert Kemp

Brian Schultz and Shemekia Copeland

Brian Johnson, Anthony Freud, Colin Ure and Ashley Wheater

Sir Andrew Davis, William and Faye Dunbar and Lawrence Brownlee (Count Almaviva).

Elizabeth and Michael Cole with Eileen and Chris Murphy

The Grand Ballroom of the Hilton Chicago

Adam Plachetka (Figaro) escorting Co-chairs Elizabeth O’Connor Cole and Ellen O’Connor into the Grand Ballroom

Tara Faircloth (revival director) and David Ormesher

Marianne Crebassa (Rosina) and Lawrence Brownlee (Count Almaviva)

Scott and Nancy Santi

Members of  Lyric’s Women’s Board

Photo Credits:

Jeff Ellis

Robert Kusel

Dan Rest

Jaclyn Simpson