Monday, May 28 , 2018, 1:46 am | Mostly Cloudy 58º


Opera Santa Barbara Fundraiser Gala Treats Guests to the ‘Sweet Life’

'La Dolce Vita'-themed event features an evening of fine wine, fine fashion and fine art, with The Granada reminiscent of Little Italy

Sunday evening was a “taste of the sweet life” for those who attended the annual Opera Santa Barbara fundraiser event with the theme “La Dolce Vita” at The Granada.

A night sweetened with 1960s cocktail glamour and sophistication transpired as guests arrived donned in pinstriped suits, stylish dinner jackets, luxurious fur stoles, decorative pillbox hats and glamorous vintage gowns from iconic Italian designers Valentino, Gucci and Versace.

Party-goers headed toward the main stage, and many stopped in the reception area to greet the guests of honor, Roger and Sarah Chrisman, and to pose for photos beside a vintage Fiat, or to sit on a stylish fire engine red Vespa that was one of the unique items for raffle.

Guests gathered around the martini bar provided by the Ventura Limoncello Company in celebration of “the sweet life,” and mingled while viewing an array of items displayed during the silent auction.

The stage area was lined with installation art, provided by architect and owner of Studio 7, Britt Jewett, and featured enchanting paintings of piazzas and fountains that transformed the interior space into a Little Italy.

Opera Santa Barbara President Duncan Mellichamp welcomed the fashion savvy guests, and event chair Sandy Urquhart thanked attendees for joining Opera Santa Barbara in honor of the Chrismans’ continued support for the arts.

A song of appreciation was dedicated to the Chrismans as stunning soprano Jessica Medoff sang a beautiful version of “Bella Notte” from the movie Lady and the Tramp.

Andy Granatelli, philanthropist and International Motorsports Hall of Fame member, also received a standing ovation for his years of contribution to the arts.

Guests were treated to an Italian buffet catered by Via Maestra and Italian wines presented by Palmina Winery, followed by a slide show presentation and live auction hosted by Steven Sharpe, general director of Opera Santa Barbara.

Eight items were offered in the live auction, including a weeklong vacation to Florence, Italy, four box seats to the opening nights of Opera Santa Barbara’s 2011-12 production’s of La Boheme and Le Nozze di Figaro, and a collection of nine tempera on paper signed costume paintings by Polish artist Sophia Stryjenska (1891-1974).

Proceeds from the live auction went to the Stand Up for Youth program and Opera Santa Barbara.

The celebration continued into the night as guests danced to live entertainment from local Italian dance band Bella Musica.

Sponsors of the “La Dolce Vita” event included Shaver Automotive Group, Fiat of Thousand Oaks, Vespa of Thousand Oaks, Britt Jewett; Studio 7 Architecture & Allied Arts, Palmina Winery, Ventura Limoncello Company, Via Maestra and The Tent Merchant.

— Noozhawk society correspondent Melissa Walker can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews, and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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