Renée Fleming and Glam Crowd Gather for Houston Symphony’s Opening Night

Bobby and Phoebe Tudor

HOUSTON'S CLEAR DESIRE to return to normal times now has a soundtrack. The Houston Symphony, with a powerful assist by international opera diva and Tony-nominated Broadway star Renée Fleming, opened its 2021-2022 season with a rousing concert followed by a glamorous dinner.


With nods to the 9/11 anniversary of the same day, the orchestra, conducted by Houston Symphony's Principal POPS Conductor Steven Reineke, presented an eclectic program of French and Italian operas and American Broadway fare, highlighting its impressive range, and that of Fleming, who, in a flared aqua gown and suite of glittering diamonds, sang along. Highlights included the symphony on The Great White Way's "Carousel Waltz" and Fleming belting out the cute, comical "The Diva," a new song written by Andrew Lippa for Fleming, which was the tuned punchy tune guests won't have been able to get out of their heads since.

After the show, many masked concertgoers — who'd been treated to a Champagne reception before the performance — boarded busses en route to the Corinthian event space a few blocks away for a lavish celebratory dinner, per the annual event's custon. Under twinkling chandeliers, and amid the faint scent of the purple hydrangeas and deep lavender-colored roses that superstar event planner Richard Flowers had placed voluptuously on every table, guest enjoyed the Richard Brown Orchestra playing dinnertime standards — "Fly Me to the Moon," anyone — and dinner of pistachio-topped roasted halibut.

The glam cultural event, sponsored by ConocoPhillips, raised $600,000 for the Symphony's educational and community-oriented programming, which a rep for the company touts as "industry-leading." Initiative include "embedding" musicians at Texas Children's Hospital serving pediatric cancer patients.

Spotted in the crowd: Margaret Alkek Williams, Lynn Wyatt, Tony Bradfield, Kevin Black, Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, John Mangum, Robin Angly, Miles Smith, John and Lindy Rydman, Janet Clark, Nick and Cari Olds, Anne and Albert Chao, Sippi and Ajay Khurana, Jim and Whitney Crane, Mady and Ken Kades, Vicki West, Ralph Burch, Beth Wolff and Leslie Siller.

Lynn Wyatt

Renée Fleming and Steven Reineke with the Houston Symphony

Vicki West and Ralph Burch

Ishwaria and Vivek Subbiah

Margaret Alkek Williams and John Mangum

Ron Franklin and Janet Gurwitch

Jim and Whitney Crane

Leslie Siller and Cynthia Wolff

People + Places

AN INTERVIEW WITH Patty Dominguez, VP of Architecture & Design Sales at Cosentino North America

How did you adjust and overcome obstacles? How did you reset? I believe at Cosentino our biggest challenge was ensuring that we were able to keep the balance between the safety and health of our employees as the main priority and finding a way to continue to operate the daily business worldwide. Similar to other companies we adapted to the virtual world as a way of living and to continue doing business. Since we are a company where our greatest value is personal relationships virtual meetings and visits were very important. It was difficult to adapt at first but we found ways to make this successful.

Keep Reading Show less

Stages' production of 'The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee' / Photo by Melissa Taylor

From its humble beginnings in 1978 in the basement of a downtown brewery, to its current location The Gordy, a beautifully designed, thoroughly modern facility with three unique performance spaces, Stages has not only expanded in size, but in its ambition to speak to and celebrate the diverse culture and experiences of Houston audiences.

Keep Reading Show less
Art + Entertainment

Debbie Guinn, Vandi Hodges, Danette Scheffler and Mary Lynn Khater

Last weekend, as they do twice a year, design-loving Houstonians headed to Round Top for shopping, sips and soirees. Houston-based Ginger Barber Interior Design and crowd-fave vendor Paul Michael Company teamed up for a philanthropic evening benefiting nonprofit Habitat for Horses.

Keep Reading Show less
People + Places