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A Bella Notte of opera and nudes at the Gibbes



We’ve all been to events where someone gets on stage and speaks, but no one listens — the din continues and everyone is more concerned with the level of champagne in his or her glass than the presentation. Well, the Gibbes Museum of Art has solved that problem. Want to capture an audience’s attention? Send out two charismatic opera singers to belt out a performance and everyone will be rapt with attention.

The Gibbes’ philanthropic group, Society 1858, hosted their winter party, Luce e Colore: La Bella Notte Italiana, in celebration of local artist Jill Hooper’s solo exhibit. The captivating opera was a coming-to-life performance of Hooper’s paintings. An hour into the party, guests were led upstairs by a band of costumed harlequins to view the performance. Among Hooper’s paintings and the historic setting of the Gibbes, the operatic production was the pinnacle of the party.

For those who may have been fashionably late to the fête, Society 1858 conducted other artistic endeavours for revelers to witness. Rooms on the first floor were set up for local artists to practice their craft in front an audience. Hirona Matsuda sculpted a model’s face from clay, while in another room, a painter rendered a model’s (bare!) likeness on canvas; there was much excitement from party-goers about the naked lady in the room to the left. The band played through the night while guests sought out Italian fare from Oak and drinks from Icebox, all while contemplating the rich brushstrokes of Hooper’s work and the enigmatic stares of her subjects.

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