The Metropolitan Opera Guild’s season-long celebration of its 75th anniversary reaches a high point on December 7 when stars and fans of opera, as well as an array of New York’s society, business and civic leaders, assemble in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf=Astoria for the Guild’s annual luncheon. The diamond-anniversary event will feature live musical tributes by Marcello Giordani, Nathan Gunn, Hei-Kyung Hong, Brandon Jovanovich and Susanna Phillips, spoken tributes by Susan Graham, Deborah Voigt and others, and rare video footage. Some 800 guests are expected to attend the luncheon, including numerous current and former stars of the Metropolitan Opera. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Guild’s education programs in New York City and throughout the country.
The Guild’s annual luncheon has been a highlight of every opera season for decades, an important and unique community gathering bringing artists together with passionate opera fans – many of them Guild members – for a celebration of leaders in the art form. In recent seasons, the Guild’s luncheon has paid tribute to such beloved artists as Frederica von Stade, Kiri Te Kanawa and Plácido Domingo, as well as director Franco Zeffirelli and former General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera, Joe Volpe. At this season’s luncheon, the Guild itself takes center stage, with honored guests reflecting on its remarkable achievements in the realms of fund-raising (more than a quarter of a billion dollars for the Metropolitan Opera so far!), education, audience development, and Opera News, which is now the world’s largest circulation magazine devoted to opera. The Guild’s pioneering founder, Eleanor Belmont, will also be a focal point of this year’s tributes.