Being a guest at the Live on Stage gala presented a chance to try a number of unique and delicious experiences, the first one being the opportunity to be center stage right there at SPAC. Friday night guests shared the same stage that has hosted world class musicians and dancers as Honorary Chairs Julie and Sonny Bonacio, The Galesi Group and Jim Loiselle welcomed SPAC supporters to the elegant event. As the evening kicked off with sparkling wines from festival presenter Antica Cantina di Canelli, the Tattlers spotted Master Tailor Martin Greenfield, Linda and Michael Toohey, Master Wine Connoisseur Kevin Zraly, Colleen and Skip Carlson, Sally and Larry King and Ed and Maureen Lewi.
The stars of Friday night not only included Top Chef Master Suvir Saran, but also the incredible Italian wines and the absolutely amazing food. Guests enjoyed passed hors d’oeuvres including Arancini di Riso and mini Caprese Sputini as well as a luscious baked Crab Souffle. The stage was absolutely transformed and front and center DJ Dragonette set the tone perfectly as a runway show played on a big screen behind him. President and Executive Director of SPAC Marcia White, looking gorgeous in George Jensen jewelry welcomed guests to the evening. In attendance there were many very special guests, including Dr. Aniello Musella, the Italian Trade Commissioner and his wife and the Consul General of Italy Natalia Quintavalle, whose presence underscored Italy’s commitment to trade growth and excellence. Festival Celebrity Chef, Suvir Saran was there with partner Charlie Burd, seated with Tom Thibeault with wife Laura and mom Debbie. Marcia thanked Angelo Mazzone and his team for making the night such a memorable experience for guests.
DJ Dragonette setting the mood perfectly
Marcia addressed guests and thanked everyone for coming and helping SPAC “continue it’s dream to bringing world class programming to the stage”. Mayor Scott Johnson spoke to guests next and issued a Proclamation for the event, which he described as getting better and better each and every year and recognized new festival partner Saratoga Polo, with Managing Partner of Saratoga Polo Jim Rossi and Chairman Mike Bucci in attendance.. The week was proclaimed as Italian Wine Week in Saratoga Springs, “a celebration of wine making, history, tradition, and innovation of Antica di Canelli here in the city of Saratoga Springs”.
The Mayor then welcomed Natalia Quintavalle to the stage and presented her with the proclamation. “It’s a pleasure to join first hand the role that the Italian Trade Commission plays as a partner in this festival.” She shared the pride of the results of the hard work of the Italian Trade Commission with Aniello Musella and his wife. She expressed how excited she was to share with festival guests “the real flavors of Italy, by experiencing Italian wine, food and Italian lifestyle firsthand”.
Top Chef Master and Festival Chef of 2012 Suvir Saran spoke to guests next. A respected culinary authority and renowned for his accessible approach to Indian flavors and techniques he is the Executive Chef of Devi, the first Indian restaurant in the US to earn a Michelin star. Suvir has penned three cookbooks, including Masala Farm: Stories and Recipes from an Uncommon Life in the Country which was a James Beard Award Finalist for Best American Cookbook for 2011. Suvir had guests laughing right away as he described Italians as the “Indians of Europe and Indians are the Italians of Asia, because Italians and Indians love to live, and they live to love”. He urged guests to support SPAC and to not forget about the arts, because “None of us would be smiling and living happily without it”. Suvir made a special mention of thanks to Shane Williams-Ness, whom he called “the workhorse, the lady who makes this all happen” and guests broke into a spirited round of applause for Shane and all of her hard work.
Marcia then also thanked her team at SPAC for all of their dedicated hard work, day and night, and said tonight “We are all Italian” and announced that the festivities would begin! The Epicurean Exploration chronicled by Kevin Zraly commenced, and the expert team from Mazzone went to work gracefully pouring the Antica di Canelli wines and serving up an incredible antipasto of cured Yellowtail Hamachi. Our table, including singer Jes Hudak from Bravo’s Platinum Hit, were just overjoyed with the incredibly well thought out menu. A fusilli with shaved black truffles was exquisite and everyone enjoyed the marinated Maine lobster course paired with a perfect Chardonnay.
Kevin Zraly took the stage next as items from the Salute to Fashion at SPAC live auction came out. Michele Riggi and Julie Bonacio tried on luxe furs and a fabulous Max Mara cream wool calcut coat. The Tattlers had our eye on a stunning Douglas Hannant Maxi dress and a knockout pair of python boots were auctioned off. Julie looked beautiful in a vintage Custom Women’s mink donated by Sheila Johnson.
Some of the luxurious live auction items
Everyone’s next stop was the opulent Willy Wonka Dessert Room where the decadent options seemed endless. Guests filled up their plates with pistachio cannolis, chocolate and incredible pastries and tarts. Cheesecake mousse and an assortment of gelato and sorbet were among the mouth watering options and every bite was just as perfect as the next. Dancing on the stage was next with DJ Dragonette, such a fresh and sophisticated touch to the evening and one that really suited the “Salute to Style” theme for this year’s festival. Guests went home that night completely feeling the “La Dolce Vita” vibe, ready for an elegant weekend of living to love, and loving to live with Saratoga Performing Arts Center.