Malibu Seen

LA PHIL OL…

The Los Angeles Philharmonic’s 2006-07 season got off to a sizzling start with a splashy Spanish-themed gala that was flat out fantastico! Music-loving ladies looked lovely in strapless beaded columns, angelic chiffon confections and sexy off-the-shoulder creations-all in black, red or white.

At the pre-performance cocktail party, tables were done up with giant white sequins and elegant blooms while servers made the rounds with platters of traditional tapas, red and blond sangria and champagne.

Eli and Edye Broad mingled with Malibu neighbors Mark and Eva Stern, and Ginny Mancini. Carla Sands caught up with Philharmonic prez Deborah Borda, as well as gala-goers like Jacklyn Smith, Jerry Kattel and Valerie Harper.

Carla opted for a dramatic black taffeta gown while actress Anne Jeffries selected cherry red with black polka dots for the occasion. Music man Esa-Pekka Salonen took his cues from the George Clooney school of fashion, wearing a black-on-black satin trim suit with a spiffy Nehru collar.

It’s hard to believe that the celebrated conductor is starting his 15th year with the orchestra. Although Walt Disney Concert Hall has now become home, EPS is still taking it all in: “This is the fourth gala at Walt Disney Concert Hall. I had to do the math because I couldn’t believe it. The only other thing I can’t believe that this is my 15th season.” My how time flies when you’re making world class music!

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Soon it was show time. EPS took the stage leading the orchestra in Maurice Ravel’s “Mother Goose Suite” and a unique performance of Manuel de Falla’s “Master Peter’s Puppet Show” featuring life-sized marionettes. The puppet show was followed by a flawless performance of Ravel’s “Bolero,” with sounds so crystal-clear you couldn’t help but marvel at the hall’s outstanding acoustics.

The extraordinary performance brought the audience to its feet. After a standing ovation amid a shower of golden confetti, it was time to head out to Grand Avenue for a glorious gala under the stars.

The enormous party tent was open to the sky and decked out in the evening’s colors of red, white and black. We were greeted by traditional flamenco dancers stomping away in ruffled shirts, brightly colored scarves and fringed shawls. The tables were dressed for drama in black with curvaceous red crimson centerpieces packed with white orchids.

Much of the party conversation centered on the evening’s stellar performance. “I was blown away,” said gala guest Harriet Nichols. “I’ve love “Bolero” but I’ve never heard it live. All I can say is ‘wow.'”

The first-class feast was muy sabroso as music lovers tucked into an Iberian-inspired dinner that included a premier plato of piquillo pepper stuffed with Spanish chorizo, braised calamari and mushrooms, grilled tomato gazpacho and olive roasted baby lamb chop followed by a delicioso bacalao with garlic mashed potatoes and finished off with a chocolate tasting platter all courtesy of celeb chef Joachim Splichal.

In keeping with tradition, the gala was nothing short of spectacular-an A+ on every level. The stand out celebration raised more than a million dollars for the Phil’s music education programs and musicians’ pension fund. Magnífíco!

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