Inside the San Francisco Symphony Opening Gala

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Susan Graham, Renée Fleming, Michael Tilson Thomas
Susan Graham, Renée Fleming, Michael Tilson Thomas

Photo Credit: Moanalani Jeffrey Photography

Last week the San Francisco fall social season started with a triumphant bang, at the Symphony Opening Gala. Over 1,000 guests, dressed in ball gowns and tuxedos, descended on City Hall and Davies Symphony Hall for the extravagantly fabulous event. The evening commenced promptly at 5 p.m. with several champagne receptions. Haute Living was on the scene at City Hall, where the Symphony Supper and Symphonix Dinners took place. Large bouquets of white dahlias and green foliage served as the focal point of the grey tables at the Symphony Supper underneath the rotunda. The Symphonix Dinner, which was set up next door in the North Light Court, had a lighter color palette of cream, gold, and olive green.

The Symphony Supper inside City Hall's Grand Rotunda
The Symphony Supper inside City Hall’s Grand Rotunda

Photo Credit: Moanalani Jeffrey Photography

The Symphonix Dinner Party co-chairs were Whitney Hudak, who looked absolutely regal in a strapless gown with a green satin bodice and striped, full length, A-line skirt, and Jesse Hunt, dapper in a navy tux with black lapel and bowtie. Hunt was an exceptionally gracious host, making sure that everyone at our table was well acquainted before standing in front of the 395 attendees to welcome them to the dinner. Placecards were beautifully written by hand and a menu describing the three course meal, crafted by McCall Catering and Events, awaited each guest at their place setting. The dinner included a light and fresh heirloom tomato salad with parmesan frico, melt-in-your-mouth short ribs with pillowy horseradish potato puree, and a sweet fruity peach and raspberry cake, served in individual jars. At 7:30 p.m., all dinner attendees were shepherded out of City Hall through the back entrance. A sophisticated and lively parade of colorful skirts and stylish suits ensued—with everyone crossing Van Ness Street as they made their way to Davies Symphony Hall.

Willie Brown and Sonja Molodetskaya
Willie Brown and Sonja Molodetskaya

Photo Credit: Moanalani Jeffrey Photography

Spotted in the crowd were some of San Francisco’s most stylish swans. Allison Speer sported a black and gold one-shoulder gown by Andrew Gn, Vanessa Getty looked lovely in a silver Naeem Khan number, and Sako Fisher glowed in a Monique Lhullier dress, styled by our favorite local fashion star, Mary Gonsalves Kinney. Haute Living’s fashion ambassador, Sonya Molodetskaya, opted to skip the typical gown and went with a skin-hugging, long-sleeved, pink velvet dress from Preen by Thornton Bregazzi. With her platinum blonde hair sleek and straight, the sensational look was fashion forward and on trend—velvet is huge for fall.

Komal Shah and San Francisco Symphony President Sako Fisher
Komal Shah and San Francisco Symphony President Sako Fisher

Photo Credit: Moanalani Jeffrey Photography

When all of the 1250 concert goers were seated, Michael Tilson Thomas took the stage for the 22nd time as the music director of the symphony. Rossini’s Overture to William Tell was the energetic and moving start to a spectacular show. Two of opera’s leading ladies, Susan Graham and Renée Fleming, serenaded the crowd with glittering renditions of Fascinating Rhythm and Summertime. The highlight was when the divas sang the broadway tune, Anything You Can Do from Annie Get Your Gun. Graham and Fleming playfully one-upped each other in the upbeat classic. After the unforgettable performance, guests moved into the tented after party. A live band performed modern hits, while local eateries like Tratto and Corridor Restaurant offered savory bites. It was truly a wonderful evening. To see what all the gala chair members wore, check out our exclusive slideshow below. 

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