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San Francisco Gets Social With Symphony and Opera Openings

Patrons on the city's gala circuit had plenty to celebrate this month.

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The San Francisco Symphony opened a vivid season this month with the flash of patron Dede Wilsey’s de Grisogono diamonds, and the ebullience of Yurie Pascarella’s black satin Andrew Gn ballgown flying aloft in a sudden evening gust.


“It just arrived from Paris, and I did not have time to have it shortened,” said Pascarella, attempting to smooth her skirt.

 

Michael Tilson Thomas conducted “An American in Paris,” guests enjoyed a jazz age-inspired tented dinner and for everyone it was a mad dash to get it totally together at the Sept. 3 event after a summer spent lolling in the sun.


Well, not everyone was larking about. Marissa Mayer, a longtime supporter of San Francisco’s cultural life, swooped in late from Yahoo’s Sunnyvale headquarters, looking soigné.


“I put my makeup on in the car,” she said.


Hair?


“No, I did it myself,” Mayer said. “I once tried having a hairstylist along for the drive, for efficiency, but it just didn’t work. There are some areas where you can’t multitask.”


Post-dinner, Lexie Fisher found a handsome watch beneath the chair of a departed dinner guest.


“Oh, it must be Gordon Getty’s,” said Fisher, glancing at the name inscribed on the place card adjacent to the seat. “Oh, I live not far from the Gettys. I’ll get it back to him tomorrow.”


A check later with the music philanthropist confirmed that Getty had indeed lost his watch.
“Don’t worry,” he was consoled. “Lexie Fisher will return it tomorrow.”


Also singing along with Audra McDonald during the concert were Ann Getty, Elisa Stephens, Annie Costner, Rose and Remy Fisher, Bonnie Raitt, Nancy Pelosi (celebrating her 50th wedding anniversary), Sabrina Buell and protocol chief Charlotte Shultz.


On Sept. 6, the San Francisco Opera launched its lively season with a “Garden of Good and Evil”-themed dinner beneath the baroque city hall rotunda. It was decorated with looming birds by Colin Cowie, who recently opened an office in the city.


“Be sure to come to the after party,” said Cowie. “It’s going to be Sodom and Gomorrah.”


The evening’s theme was inspired by the slightly naughty new production of “Mefistofele”  featuring fortissimo singers, a crowded stage of writhing theatrical nudity and such diversions as jiggling body parts that had everyone peering into their opera glasses.


“Only four breasts and one penis were real,” whispered an opera insider who had attended the dress rehearsal.


Meanwhile, tech whizz Deepa Pakianathan caused a frisson or two with her dramatic McQueen-jeweled-cage headgear.


“I had to move heaven and earth to get this,” she said. “After weeks of negotiation, it arrived with just two hours to spare. I’ve never been so pleased to see my FedEx guy.”


Jennifer Newsom dashed in late with Alan Malouf.


“It takes more time to get ready now that I have three children,” said Newsom, who recently welcomed baby daughter Brooklynn. Also checking the onstage high jinks were Paula Carano, OJ Shansby, Alex Chases, Jason Lewis, Komal Shah, Jack Calhoun, Barbara Brown and Maria Manetti Shrem.

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