Party On: S.F. Kicks Off the Cultural Season With a Perfect Pair of Galas

The social set showed their support for the city’s symphony and opera communities with two dazzling soirees in the same week



The San Francisco Symphony launched its 25th season with a sold-out opening night gala on Wednesday, Sept. 4, at Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall. Music lovers such as Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Brown and Vanessa Getty gathered for a toast followed by a celebratory dinner in the dazzling Patrons’ Pavilion to honor music director Michael Tilson Thomas’ final season with the symphony.

Blueprint Studios and GotLight designed the grand and glamorous tented pavilion with shimmering chandeliers and dramatic bouquets of magenta orchids on white linen-covered tables, where patrons socialized with friends throughout the evening. Out in force were the city’s tech titans, including Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang, Matt and Pia Cohler, Natasha and Dagmar Dolby, and Kevin and Nicole Systrom.

As supporters looked on, Tilson Thomas conducted a highly personal concert, including an expressive arrangement of “Shenandoah” by local composer and philanthropist Gordon Getty. Offering their enthusiastic applause were Ken Fulk, and Sloan and Roger Barnett, among many others who turned out to show their support for the symphony’s artistic, education and community programs.

Later in the week, on Friday, Sept. 6, the San Francisco Opera invited friends to the War Memorial Opera House to fete the beginning of its fall season with a dramatic performance of Charles Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet, starring Nadine Sierra and Pene Pati. The event, which benefits a myriad of community initiatives, featured decor by Riccardo Benavides and included a lively masked ball, glamorous costumes and dancing long into the night.

Cheering on general director Matthew Shilvock and his creative team were Dede Wilsey (a sponsor of the opening weekend’s festivities), along with Charlotte and George Shultz, Samantha and Darren Bechtel, Jay Jeffers, David Oldroyd, Maria Manetti Shrem and Chrisa Pappas.

The 97th San Francisco Opera season continues through December with international productions of Billy Budd, The Marriage of Figaro, Manon Lescaut and Hansel and Gretel.


Feature image: KOMAL SHAH, in a gown by Christian Siriano, at the S.F. Opera ball.


Sept. 10, 2019


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