Spunky and fresh faced, native Houstonian and Page Parkes model Charlotte Stevens may just be fashion’s next It Girl. After graduating from Stratford High in 2015, Stevens struck poses across Texas — including for CityBook’s inaugural issue in 2016 — before spending stints in Paris and Milan. The now New York-based model’s star rose even higher this year, when she appeared in Gucci’s print campaigns and in Fashion Weeks worldwide. And while agents at Page Parkes are somewhat tight-lipped, word is that in 2019, Stevens has even bigger projects afoot.
HOW DID YOU come together as a team? This fall, we are celebrating the introduction of an exciting real estate collaboration between Clare Leppert, longtime Houston Realtor®, and daughter Leigh Leppert. Clare shared a 20+ year real estate partnership with her mother, Bette Carpenter, until Bette’s death in 2016. Having worked solo for several years, Clare in 2021 was awarded Houston Business Journal’s No. 2 Luxury Realtor® in Houston. Leigh, who has been working in marketing for the past decade, has always shared a passion for real estate and watched Clare successfully balance family and career. We are excited to re-create the next generation of a mother-daughter duo at Compass!
Tell us about your business. What’s unique about your partnership and how does the relationship benefit the business? Clare’s experience in the luxury market for the last 20+ years is enhanced by Leigh’s fresh take on marketing and insight on the ever-evolving Houston neighborhoods. We recognize that real estate is so much more than just “the house.” Exceeding client expectations, marketing, negotiating, hand-holding, and successfully maneuvering in changing markets are what we do best.
What is the Leppert Ladies’ secret to success? We take a family approach to real estate. Clare and Leigh provide a combination of grit and grace, constantly striving to protect and honor clients’ privacy and to prioritize clients’ best interests.
What makes your partnership effective? Clients benefit from the expertise of not one but two Realtors! Clare is a top-producing, seasoned agent in the luxury market who grew up in River Oaks and knows the tried and true Houston neighborhoods. Leigh offers knowledge about current marketing and advertising strategies and is a connoisseur of Houston hotspots and happenings.
What can Houston expect from this duo? We specialize in assisting clients in all seasons of life. From leasing or purchasing for the first time to empty-nesting and beyond, Clare and Leigh will be there! Our goal is to be your real estate partner for generations to come.
SUPPORTERS OF THE Houston-based organization CanCare gathered at fine-dining stalwart Tony’s to toast the nonprofit — literally — during a sold-out wine dinner.
A three-course meal, beautifully prepared by exec chef Kate McLean, was served alongside wine pairings selected by sommelier Scott Banks. The crowd, which included Tony’s own Donna Vallone and Harris Health System CEO Esmaeil Porsa, raised more than $100,000 — thanks in part to a very full-bodied raffle prize. Winner Mark Alsop took home two dozen bottles of fine wine.
Co-chair and Kinder Morgan president John Schlosser and CanCare president Darcie Wells each spoke to the guests about the organization’s mission to “provide a survivor by the side of anyone facing cancer,” ensuring that patients experience greater healing and don’t lose hope.
Brad and Patty Jones
Vivek and Ishwaria Subbiah
Brig and Marcia Smart
Peter and Gordana Vickers
Norman and Donna Lewis
Ed and Denise Knight
Esmaeil and Alizia Porsa
Mark and Shannon Nini
Jeff and Barbara Steen
Lisa and Eric Elder
John Schlosser, Mel Edwards, and Susan and Kirby Greteman
Leslie and Val Brock
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NEW YORK-BASED TENOR Matthew Polenzani, who makes his Houston Grand Opera debut Friday, Jan. 27, singing the title role in Jules Massenet’s three-hankie opera Werther, sounds remarkably pleasant for someone speaking by phone from a car while stuck in Houston’s notorious rush-hour traffic.
“I’m still… kind of sitting still,” laughs Polenzani, who then graciously proceeds to unpack the definition of a “lyric tenor,” and the not-so-happy ending of Werther — which is as shocking for modern-day audiences as it was when the opera premiered in Vienna in 1892.
Based on Goethe’s epistolary Sturm und Drang-era novel The Sorrows of Young Werther, the opera tells the story of Werther, a poet in his 20s prone to moodiness and melodrama, and his doomed love for the beautiful (and much younger) Charlotte, who feels the same for Werther, but due to a promise she made to her dying mother, is betrothed to another man. Ironically, Charlotte’s fidelity is what Werther finds so admirable and attractive. Suffice it to say, over the course of four acts, things go from bad to worse, leading to the opera’s famous final scene where (spoiler alert) Werther tragically decides to take his own life.
Much has been written about the dynamic beauty of Polenzani’s voice, which cuts through the orchestra, yet lies comfortably somewhere between a light (or “spinto”) sound and the thunderous timbre required in the music of Wagner. “I absolutely think of myself as a lyric tenor,” says Polenzani, whose voice is particularly suited for the complex role of Werther. Polenzani is also known for the sheer variety of repertoire he has sung over the course of his 28-year career; doing so has stimulated his intellectual curiosity, allowed him to explore different vocal textures, and kept his voice from getting “stuck in a repertory rut.” In Werther, Polenzani uses the full spectrum of those colors and textures to express feelings his character’s feelings of wonder, happiness, sadness, anger, and desperation. “I can be very metallic and hard-edged, and I can also be soft-grained and long-lined,” says Polenzani, echoing the poetic language the young Werther might have used himself.
While the opera’s tragic story of requited love captured the imagination of its 19th-century audiences, Polenzani believes Werther’s final, desperate act has a different resonance in our time, when there is more awareness of and less stigma attached to mental illness. “I have experienced tremendous loss in my life,” says Polenzani, “and I understand the idea where looking ahead of you is blackness, and there’s not even a pinpoint of light that you might be able to hang your tiniest hope on.” Perhaps for Polenzani and his audiences, the music keeps Werther from being too grim and hopeless to enjoy.
“Massenet’s music pays me back the whole night,” says Polenzani with sincere gratitude in his voice. “It rewards my soul.”
If you’re thinking about suicide, or are worried about a friend or loved one, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, across the United States.
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