The fall gala season in New York is back, and the city’s social scene was ready for its grand debut. The Metropolitan Opera kicked things off on Tuesday night with a black tie gala and rarely performed opera to start its new season.
“This is the first really big black tie of the fall season, and so I wanted to wear something happy and festive and big,” said Jean Shafiroff of her aquamarine floral Oscar de la Renta ballgown, as she made her way inside the Met Opera House.
It was a packed house for the premiere of “Medea,” being staged by the Met for the first time. The opera features Sondra Radvanovsky in the titular role, which was made famous by the late renowned soprano Maria Callas.
“It’s a very unknown opera, so this is something new,” Shafiroff added. “And everyone loves new.”
“I love classical music, and I’ve never seen this opera and I look forward to it,” said Ellen Burstyn. “I’ve heard Maria Callas’ recording, but this is my first time being able to see the whole thing. Of course, I’m very familiar with the play,” she added; the actress starred in a 1978 film adaptation of Medea’s myth “A Dream of Passion.”
Like Shafiroff, Jordan Roth understood the evening’s fashion assignment — go big — and donned a sculptural Comme des Garçons look and red mohawk hairpiece that angled upward. Other dressed-up guests included Brooke Shields; Ann Ziff — who matched her feathered lilac gown with a purple rhinestone face mask; Christine Baranski; Molly Ringwald; Renee Fleming; Sigourney Weaver; ”The Bear” star Ebon Moss-Bachrach; Helena Christensen; Gina Gershon; Zoe Lister-Jones; Jeremy O. Harris; Odelya Halevi; Paul Feig; Nico Tortorella; Cynthia Rowley; Gideon Glick, and others.
Following pre-show cocktails on the balcony, guests filed into the theater for the main event: the opera. Inside and seated, masks were mandatory — a visual reminder of the challenges still facing the live arts navigating the new COVID-19 era.
After the cast took their final bows, the evening continued upstairs with a lively late-night seated dinner — the first of many to come in the months ahead.