And man, did it happen. Oh my gosh, that was a darn good party.
Last Friday, the Detroit Opera House hosted it’s annual BravoBravo! Fundraiser and it was a raving success. A success to the tune of over $205,000 cash money raised. Put that money in the bank, baby.
First of all, it was a sell-out. 2,300 people, partying their butts off, and literally hanging from the balcony. Second, I didn’t know so many good looking people lived around here. Third, it proved in my mind that the only reason why Detroit doesn’t have the stuff other big cool cities have is that we don’t try enough. Because when we do try, we do it right.
For those of you who have no idea about BravoBravo!, it was started 9 years ago as a way to raise badly needed capital improvement funding for the Opera House and to generate interest in Michigan Opera Theatre with an age group that’s not exactly represented with big numbers in most opera audiences.
BravoBravo! brings together Detroit’s top restaurants and bars, each of which donate food and drinks to the cause. Patrons pay one price for their ticket, and once through the Opera House doors, it’s on, baby. As much as they want to eat and drink, all free. Here’s a full list of all restaurants and companies that donated. From the bottom of my heart (and stomach) – THANK YOU!!!
The drinks were flowing freely from the ice bar (yes, an entire bar made of ice) on the Opera House stage. The food was amazing and there were a couple of DJs and a band. Plus some local make-up and hair stylists were doing cat designs on those brave enough.
But what I really want to talk about are two things that struck me as I wandered around the party. It dawned on me just how far the Opera House has come since the days when I was an administrative intern for Michigan Opera Theatre. I remember having to go up on the roof with one of the renovation contractors and secure a tarp over a huge hole that was letting buckets of rainwater in. Or the 4 feet of sludge/sewage water that was in the orchestra pit. The Opera House was neglected and had been vacant for nearly a decade, abandoned by its former owners after a short stint as a punk rock music venue. It looked like something out of the apocalypse. Today it looks like something out of heaven.
It’s all due to the vision of Dr. David DiChiera and the leaders of Michigan Opera Theatre, who saw a diamond in the rough and raised millions to make it shine. And man, does it shine today. It’s one of the most beautiful theaters I’ve even seen. The economic impact of the Opera House is huge also. I have no idea how many folks are employed directly or indirectly through the Opera House and its events, but in a place where unemployment is near the highest in the nation, every job counts.
Second, the diversity of the partygoers made me take notice. Detroit is known as one of the most segregated metro areas in the country, but you wouldn’t have known it if you attended BravoBravo! People of all colors, creeds, sizes, (and probably religions) were happily mingling amongst one another, enjoying themselves for a good cause. It’s not something we see often around here and it’s really refreshing. That’s the way it should be. The world is diverse. Parties should be also.
So, three bravos for BravoBravo! The Detroit Opera House and Michigan Opera Theatre put together a great event that was bigger than just the party. It showed what Detroit can be. It just takes more people like Dr. DiChiera, with a passion, a dream and the foolishness to actually believe their dreams can come true. They can. BravoBravo! proved that.
And if just a few of the partygoers who’ve never attended an opera get curious and check one out, that’s good too.
Because ice bars aside, this really is about preserving and promoting opera for generations to come. To that I say Bravo! (Bravo).