Three hundred opera-loving guests gathered on Monday night at the San Francisco Opera House to pay tribute to composer/vintner/businessman Gordon Getty. The dinner party, planned by Ann Getty and Maria Manetti Shrem with the Opera Guild, was timed to honor Getty’s new opera composition, “Usher House,” which opens Tuesday night at the opera house.
“Gordon is so talented and full of great ideas for his music,” said Manetti Shrem. “He is surprisingly avant-garde. His music has a classical inspiration, but it’s very much of today.”
“I am happy to be surrounded by opera fans and music lovers,” said Getty, who was clearly moved by the outpouring. “I hope everyone enjoys it.”
Getty’s production is part of San Francisco Opera’s double bill titled “The Fall of the House of Usher.” The Getty opera, a coproduction with Welsh National Opera, is paired with Robert Orledge’s reconstruction of Debussy’s uncompleted score, “La Chute de la Maison Usher.” Both were inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s story. For Getty, video art and cinematic techniques were designed by David Haneke to give a multidimensional, haunting, hallucinatory effect.
The party was less gloomy. Sipping on Gordon Getty’s Plump Jack Winery Cade 2014 Sauvignon Blanc were Charlotte and George Shultz, Serge and Tatiana Sorokko, Barbara Brown, Komal Shah, Beth Townsend, Maria Quiros and Vanessa and Billy Getty.
The black-tie evening took place on the opera house’s stage, which was transformed by Riccardo Benavides into a baroque villa. Tables surrounded by gilded chairs were topped with taffeta tablecloths, and elaborate gilded candelabra, and bouquets of entwined pink roses, blue hydrangea and green grapes.
“I was inspired by the richly colored interiors Ann Getty created for her residence in San Francisco,” he said. “It’s an homage to the Getty style.”