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Opera Carolina’s Bella Notte gala throws the ultimate garden party

Preethi Deshmukh in Aidan Mattox with jewelry by Oscar de la Renta and her husband, Dr. Vinay Deshmukh.
Preethi Deshmukh in Aidan Mattox with jewelry by Oscar de la Renta and her husband, Dr. Vinay Deshmukh.

Guests at Opera Carolina’s Bella Notte Oct. 24 gala at uptown’s Belk enjoyed the sensation of stepping into an intimate garden party as the evening began. Floral designer John Lupton created a dramatic, lush arch from greenery, which the women in chic gowns and men in sleek tuxedos stepped through to join the gala.

After sipping Champagne and cocktails outside the theater, guests were invited to the annual gala’s stage-seating arrangement with round tables in front of a projected night sky backdrop from Opera Carolina’s “Fidelio” production. Lavender and pink flowers on candlelit tables in front of the starry sky projection created an ethereal feeling on the stage.

As guests dined on North Carolina lump blue crab salad and a roasted rack of lamb from Best Impressions Caterers, Charlotte’s Ziad Jazz Quartet, featuring singer Robin Springer, performed. During dinner, Maestro James Meena introduced opera singers Jonathan White, Kyle Pfortmiller and Brian Areola, who performed songs from “Fidelio.”

It was a sophisticated and stylish group of guests, many of whom are part of the next city’s generation of philanthropists. And nowhere were the fresh faces more obvious than on the dance floor, when The MAXX band performed after dinner. The elegant evening ended as each female guest left with a parting gift – a Leontine satin eye mask with quilted lashes – in lavender, of course. Sarah Crosland

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