For San Franciscans, a highlight each fall is the celebrated high-brow kick-off of the much-anticipated Opera Season and the dizzying swirl of dazzling soirees that follow in its euphoric wake.
The 2011 spectacular Gala at the War Memorial Opera House, for instance, was no exception..
The town's power-elite turned out and hob-nobbed 'til the witching hour with wild exuberant abandon non-stop.
Nimble dancers parading as Chinese Imperial Courteurs adorned in brilliant Royal Red joyously entertained the monied-set.
Elegant socialites took a cue!
The Opera House foyer was awash with glamorous frocks in the "hue du jour" designed by such luminaries
as Oscar de la Renta, Lily Sanii, Karen Caldwell, and the late great Alexander McQueen.
Precious gems added sparkle as the city's finest mixed-and-mingled over cocktails and surreptiously engaged in a smattering of idle gossip.
Inside, towering urns of exquisite lush red roses and Stanlee-Gatti designed fragrant carnations, enlivened the opera house boxes and elevated the festive event to "wow" proportions.
First-nighters included Mayor Lee, cartoonist William Hamilton, Cathy and Rick Hilton, Opera Guild President Ann Girard, and former Secretary of State George Schultz.
The season opener?
Puccinni's beloved classic - Turandot - conducted by Music Director Nicola Luisotti .
Legendary artist - David Hockney (he of California swimming-pool fame) - conjured up eye-popping sets that just about stole the show!
For those of opera fans who missed opening night, catch a free simulcast slated to screen at the AT & T ballpark in San Francisco on Sunday September 25th at 2 p.m.
Think Royal Red when planning your scintillating wardrobe for what is expected to be an awesome open-air event.
At press time, show organizers noted that there will be a handful of special family activities before and during the simulcast (including face painting, art projects, singing, storytelling, and an appearance by the Giant's Mascot Lou Seal).
Hot dogs and garlic fries are sure to hit the spot.
See 'ya there!