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Lyric Opera Guild Board puts on ‘Fantasy’ party fit for royalty

Raffle chairman AllisAlexander (from left) Fantasy Operco-chairmen Courtney Rosen Nancy Temple silent auctichairman Julie Anne Benson. The annual fund-raising event

Raffle chairman Allison Alexander (from left), Fantasy of the Opera co-chairmen Courtney Rosen and Nancy Temple, and silent auction chairman Julie Anne Benson. The annual fund-raising event attracted more than 400 attendees.

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Updated: March 1, 2012 9:46AM

The Lyric Opera’s Guild Board presented a decadent, Russian-themed fete fit for a czar at the Fantasy of the Opera Ball on Friday night at the Civic Opera House.

Gentlemen sported tuxedos and ladies donned their finest gowns adorned with fur stoles and sparkling jewels to party like royalty at the 28th annual soiree.

In addition to more than 400 Guild guests, who tend to skew a tad older, the party welcomed Lyric’s young professionals chapter — led by Aleksandra Efimova — to join the festivities. With tickets priced at just $150, about 75 young partygoers came out to celebrate with their Guild Board cohorts and enjoy champagne, delicious eats and a special cabaret performance from Lyric Opera singers.

Anthony Freud, the opera’s new general director, made his “Fantasy” debut and acted as emcee for the program that featured Lyric’s singers show tunes. Numbers included “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” sung by Ashley Brown and “Ol’ Man River” performed by Morris Robinson from “Show Boat,” which will open Feb. 12 at the Civic Opera House.

Nancy Temple chaired the event, which netted about $470,000 for Lyric, while Courtney Rosen, Julie Anne Benson and Allison Alexander acted as co-chairs, heading up raffle and silent auction duties.


On Saturday night, the Museum of Science and Industry hosted the 29th annual Black Creativity Gala, celebrating the annual Black Creativity Program that highlights the culture, heritage and contributions to science of African Americans. More than 700 partygoers, including prominent business leaders and politicians, gathered to drink, dance and eat. During dinner, guests enjoyed music from Grammy-nominated artist Freddie Jackson, who later autographed photos for fans at the afterparty.

Gale Foster Farley acted as gala chairwoman, and Shari Runner of the Chicago Urban League headed up the Black Creativity executive committee.

Other notable names included Gregory T. Hinton of the Democratic National Committee, Anita Green, and NBC-Channel 5’s Marion Brooks, who emceed the evening’s program.

Tickets to the gala began at $350 and in total, nearly $500,000 was raised for the museum.

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