Austin Opera Guild Hosts Annual Serenata Wine Dinner & Auction Gala
By Rose Betty Williams Photography by Marjorie Kamys
THE SETTING: Pre-COVID-19, Austin Opera Guild and Austin Opera celebrated the 10th annual Serenata Wine Dinner & Auction at the Four Seasons Hotel Austin with dinner, dancing, and live performances in an evening glittered with Viennese music, cuisine and a memorable tribute to event honorees Elisabeth and Steffen Waltz.
THE STYLE: Television personality Ron Oliveira emceed Serenata that began with a red carpet welcome replete with eye-catching human statues posed as opera characters, hors d’oeuvres, a cocktail hour and bidding on the silent auction. Once guests were seated in the ballroom, two professional dancers wowed the crowd with a dramatic and colorful waltz. Austin Opera’s General Director & CEO Annie Burridge, Austin Opera Board President Jeff Kodosky and Austin Opera Guild President Cathy Collins thanked event co-chairs Suzanne Breitbach, Paula Damore, Michael Garza and Roger Kahlbau, Austin Opera supporters, event sponsors, underwriters, auction donors, Guild members, and attendees for their tireless efforts and generosity. Serenata featured a stunning performance by opera soprano Alexandra Loutsion followed by a four-course wine dinner, the presentation honoring the Waltzes, the live auction and dancing to the music of The Grooves.
THE PURPOSE: In addition to the event chairs, the 2020 Serenata committee was comprised of committee chairs Tina Barrett, Megan Bjorkman, Kim Cade, Jennifer Davis, Jim Green, Sue Hoke, Barbara Johnson, Jessica Jones, Monica Servidio and Sharon Sneed and more than 30 Austin Opera Guild volunteers. This is Austin Opera’s largest fundraiser, each year raising more than a quarter-million dollars in support of AOs goal to produce live opera performances for the community and to provide excellent music education to school children. Austin Opera reaches 30,000 community members annually, including 14,000 children through in-person programming, plus thousands more through new digital offerings.