“I used to sing here in the children’s chorus,” Rossum said. “I once dropped a shoe into the orchestra pit. I think it fell on a trombone. We were sitting on the edge of the stage - maybe it was ‘Falstaff’? -- and the shoe just fell off. It was too big.”
The performance last night had no wardrobe mishaps. The Belle Epoque frocks on stage were a highlight of the dark production, the work of Laurent Pelly, who also directed the Massenet opera.
As for guests, the fact that Rossum’s magenta gown fit very well wasn’t a surprise, since fashion house Yves Saint Laurent (YSLG) had underwritten the gala benefit and dressed her and several other actresses for the evening.
January Jones turned heads in her backless, long-sleeved gown with a small metal chain-link design on the bodice. Sweeping an errant strand of silky blond hair off her face, the “Mad Men” star greeted Ingrid Sischy, a contributing editor of Vanity Fair, and Cindi Leive, editor of Glamour on the Grand Tier.
Not too far away and drawing a little less attention were Willem Kooyker, founder, chairman and chief executive of Blenheim Capital Management LLC, a commodities hedge fund, and Roberto Paula, general manager of the Brazilian bank Bradesco, who said the only thing he envies about the state-owned Banco do Brasil is that Gisele Bundchen appears in its television commercials.
David Koch, co-owner and executive vice president of Koch Industries, shared a table with Mercedes Bass, hard to miss in a bright red sheath, Howard Stringer, chairman and chief executive of Sony Corp., and Barbara Walters.
Met Opera chairman Ann Ziff spoke briefly, thanking the chief executive officer of Yves Saint Laurent, Paul Deneve, for the company’s five years of support and noting the event had raised more than $1.3 million.
As guests finished off their sauteed sole, regular ticket- holders arrived and picked through merchandise tables offering paperbacks of Abbe Prevost’s 18th-century novel “Manon Lescaut,” the inspiration for the opera, and recordings by Anna Netrebko, the Russian diva who sang the part of the doomed teenager too besotted with material things.
Adrienne Arsht, a Met Opera board member in a cobalt-blue Yves Saint Laurent gown, and Julie Macklowe, who left hedge funds to found her cosmetics company vBeaute, both wore waterproof mascara just in case they cried at the end.
Afterwards, Met sponsor Louis Roederer Champagne presented Netrebko with a gift meant to be saved for another occasion: a bottle of Louis Roederer Cristal, the design of which was created in 1876 for Czar Alexander II of Russia.
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at firstname.lastname@example.org.