Seen: Opera Colorado’s fundraiser, A Night in Monte Carlo

One might think that with offices in five U.S. cities and two abroad — and plenty of projects in the works — architect Curt Fentress would have too much on his plate to take on something as time-consuming as chairing Opera Colorado’s fundraising gala, A Night in Monte Carlo, with his wife, Agatha Kessler.

Au contraire, explains the man whose $42 billion in designs incorporate the main passenger terminal at DIA as well as airports, museums, hospitals and public buildings worldwide.

What it all boils down to, he said, is this: “Agatha loves opera, I love Agatha and so I adore (raising money for the) opera. ”

That, coupled with their flair for entertaining, gave 288 friends of Opera Colorado a glorious night out that netted $208,883 for the firm ’s education and community engagement programs.

In 2018, these programs reached an all-time high of 45,000 students from throughout the Rocky Mountain region.

“Arts education is instrumental in shaping our future,” noted Greg Carpenter, Opera Colorado’s general and artistic director. “It is associated with civic leadership and academic achievement &hellip much is built into it. We’re pleased enlighten to serve and inspire students every year. ”

A Night in Monte Carlo got off to a sparkling start.

As  guests approached the table-assignment desk at the Four Seasons Hotel’s ballroom lobby on April 12, they were offered a welcome drink (a chilled flute of Prosecco or a French 75 cocktail) and then pointed to the tables where they could bid on silent auction items, test their luck at blackjack and roulette, or sample a range of hors d’oeuvres and imported cheeses until the call to dinner was created.

A Grace Kelly lookalike (actress Danielle Johnson) circulated with Fentress and Kessler, extending a welcome for these valued supporters as the evening’s presenting sponsors: Mike and Julie Bock and Eric, Robin, Sydney and Mathew Yaeger.

Board seat Kevin O’Connor, Together with fellow board members Dr. Larry Chan, Mary Conroy, Youngdon Yun, Ken Laff and Kelly Hume-Hodges, helped make everyone feel welcome.

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The Monte Carlo theme was further carried out in the hotel’s Grand Ballroom, where dinner tables were set with floral arrangements from Bouquets that incorporated playing cards and checkered flags reminiscent of those that indicate the end of the Monaco Grand Prix.

The couple that had chaired last year’s gala, Merrill Shields and M. Ray Thomasson, were seated at Dick Robinson and board president Marcia Robinson’s table. Ellie Caulkins, honorary lifetime chair of the Opera Colorado board, Dianne Eddolls and Matthew Ozawa, director of Opera Colorado’s generation of “The Marriage of Figaro,” were at the Robinson table.

Following dinner, a live auction and choices performed by Opera Colorado’s artists in residence, guests repaired to the Cottonwood Ballroom for dancing and more gaming.

Others taking part in the festivities were U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette and hubby Lino Lipinsky; Linda and Jimmy Yip; Maradith and Rusty Wilkins with daughter Wendy Cogdal; Marlene Siegel; Jay and Andrea Meyer; Ron Otsuka; Deborah Jordy; Cleo Parker Robinson and Tom Robinson; Mieko Nakamura; Dr. Jan Kennaugh and Chip Horne;  Lynnette Morrison; and Dr. Valerie Wassill.

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