SF Symphony And Valentino Gear Up For Opening Gala Starring Kelsey Grammer

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Kelsey Grammer
Kelsey Grammer

Photo Credit: Courtesy San Francisco Symphony

We’re just a couple of days away from the start of the 2015-16 San Francisco Symphony season, which will begin with an extravagant opening gala on Thursday, Sept. 24. The fabulous mother-daughter-in-law team of Dagmar Dolby and Natasha Dolby are co-chairing this year’s festivities and recently hosted a party at the Valentino boutique in Union Square to get ready for their big evening.

Among the stylish guests on hand: Dede Wilsey, Willie Brown and Haute Living‘s new Style Editor-at-Large Sonya Molodetskaya, Mimi Haas, Becca Prowda, Barbara Brown, Komal Shah, Sarah Somberg, Allison Speer, Farrah Makras, Dr. Carolyn Chang and Mary Gonsalves Kinney. A percentage of the proceeds from sales from Sept. 1-15 will be donated to the SF Symphony in support of its education and community programs, which provide music education to more than 75,000 Bay Area school children each year.

Proceeds from the Opening Gala also benefit the Orchestra’s myriad community and education programs. As you may have heard, there’s been a major change on stage on opening night. Five-time Emmy Award winner Kelsey Grammer has replaced Patrick Stewart as a featured guest artist. Stewart had to withdraw from the performance due to an unforeseen change in his filming schedule.

In addition to Grammer, baritone Nathan Gunn and soprano Alexandra Silber join Michael Tilson Thomas and the orchestra for a festive evening that pays homage to classic Broadway musicals. Gunn and Silber perform works from Carousel and South Pacific, and Grammer and Silber perform the roles of Professor Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle in selections from My Fair Lady. The Gala concert opens with MTT conducting the SF Symphony in Respighi’s Roman Festivals.

On opening night, four separate dinners, all catered by McCall Associates. take place prior to the concert. The schedule for the evening is as follows:

5pm Cocktail Reception for Patrons’ Dinner and Wattis Room Dinner, Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall Lobby
5pm Cocktail Reception for Symphony Supper and Symphonix Dinner Party, South Light Court – City Hall

6pm Patrons’ Dinner, Tent Pavilion
6pm Wattis Room Dinner, Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall
6pm Symphony Supper, Grand Rotunda – City Hall
6pm Symphonix Dinner Party, North Light Court – City Hall

7pm Complimentary wine reception for all concert guests, Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall
8pm Gala Concert, Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall
10pm After-party for all concert guests, Tent Pavilion

The lively after-party in the Tent Pavilion includes entertainment from DJL! and Foreverland, and complimentary drinks and food from an array of local San Francisco establishments, such as Alta, Cadence, The Beer Hall, Sutro’s at the Cliff House, Mr. Tipple’s Recording Studio, and more.

Ann Paras serves as the Wattis Room Dinner Chair, and the Symphony Supper is co-chaired by Nancy Greenbach and Mary Sky. Brianna Haag and Clarissa Nicolasia co-chair the Symphonix Dinner Party, and the Gala After-Party is chaired by Libby Leffler and David Saxe.

Wells Fargo is the Presenting Sponsor of the 2015 Opening Gala. Additional support is provided by Patrons’ Dinner Sponsor Kaiser Permanente and Valentino, sponsor of the Gala After-Party. The Gala guest artists are generously underwritten by Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem.

The opening week of the 2015-16 season concludes with two concerts in Davies Symphony Hall on September 25-26. MTT once again leads the SFS in Respighi’s Roman Festivals, along with Ravel’s Menuet antique, Rossini’s Overture to La Scala di seta, and Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with guest pianist Daniil Trifonov.


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