It's an incredible thing that our very own Houston Ballet is celebrating its 50th anniversary season this year. Opening the 2019-20 calendar is Stanton Welch's Giselle, which pays tribute to the creation of the Houston Ballet five decades ago. In 1967, Pepita's Giselle was performed by a troupe of dancers in Houston, and it was after this performance that the city decided to support a company of its own.
Opening night was a memorable one, with an onstage dinner chaired by Jesse H. Jones II following the very first production of the Ballet's celebrated season. Nearly 200 dinner guests were in awe over the stage reveal, which made attendees feel like they were dining inside the story itself. Upstage, a string quartet was nestled between Giselle’s house and the Duke’s lodge. Hints of gold, lush creams, and blush pinks spread throughout floral centerpieces created by Bergner and Johnson honored both the 50th anniversary season celebration and key themes from the performance. Gold-rimmed glasses, Chiavari chairs, and hand-selected floral table linens completed the elegant table setting.
Serving a notable dinner following the such a momentous opening night performance was no simple feat. Jackson and Company greeted guests with a lobster parfait comprised of avocado, cucumber, mango, and mint. The main course was herb-crusted medallions of beef tenderloin with a Zinfandel sauce accompanied by bundles of haricots verts and sautéed spinach in a red ripe tomato. For dessert, guests enjoyed a “pear royale” consisting of a champagne-poached pear stuffed with walnuts and sundried fruits, and baked in a crisp puff pastry and served with local wildflower honey and honey gelato and crème anglaise.
This year’s event raised more than $230,000 for the Houston Ballet, marking it as the most successful onstage dinner the Ballet has ever seen, more than doubling its success since its inception. During the show's intermission the Houston Ballet honored Lynn Wyatt with a historical tribute. Wyatt has been a longtime, devoted supporter of the company.