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Celebrating Multigenerational Philanthropy at Ars Lyrica’s Gems, Charms, and Treasures Gala

By: Lauren Ross

Grammy-nominated Baroque music organization Ars Lyrica Houston is gearing up to prepare for a spectacular 20th anniversary season in 2023-24. It will culminate with the much anticipated production of Handel’s stunning magic opera Amadigi di Gaula on May 26 and 27, 2024. On February 4, 2023, Ars Lyrica Houston hosted the Gems, Charms, and Treasures gala at the Houston Museum of Natural History to raise vital support for the production.

Houston philanthropist Connie Kwan-Wong was honored during the black-tie event. Her lovely daughters, Zoe and Elly Wong, Junior Stars, were also honored during the festive evening celebrating multigenerational philanthropy. As well as the awards from Ars Lyrica, all three received Congressional recognition, certificates of appreciation from the City of Houston, and a proclamation of CKW (Caring, Kindness, and Wisdom) Multigenerational Day from the City of Sugar Land.

An avid supporter of Ars Lyrica, Kwan-Wong has been a member of its Board of Directors since 2016. Her steadfast dedication to the organization’s mission is demonstrated by her service on the board, her support of opera productions as an Open Circle underwriter, and her sponsorship of numerous outreach programs. 

The stunning Gems, Charms, and Treasures gala experience centered around the idea of taking a musical journey back in time. Wandering musicians enlivened the cocktail reception, which was held in the Cabinet of Curiosities, a beguiling room filled with treasures of yester year. The main musical attraction of the evening took place in the Paleontology Hall. While dining on a three-course meal among the dinosaurs, attendees were treated to the exquisite voice of soprano Camille Ortiz accompanied by Ars Lyrica Artistic Director, Matthew Dirst, on harpsichord and an ensemble of Baroque instrumentalists performing an exclusive preview of Amadigi di Gaula.


Photo Credit: Pin Lim

Amadigi di Gaula will be Ars Lyrica Houston’s fourth fully staged opera production, and will be directed by Tara Faircloth and conducted by Matthew Dirst. Ortiz, internationally renowned for her captivating performances of baroque and concert repertoire, will be one of the principal artists for both performances. The title role of Amadigi will be sung by countertenor Randall Scotting.

Ars Lyrica Houston has become a leader in the performance of early music and now offers a Baroque opera every other season. Opera Circle sponsors play a vital role in providing a three-year commitment toward Ars Lyrica Houston’s biennial productions of Baroque opera. Opera Circle sponsorships allow Ars Lyrica to make Baroque opera resonate anew through imaginative staging in collaboration with the world’s most respected experts in dance, theater, and music. These sponsorships offer a range of benefits, including behind-the-scenes access to artists, recognition, special invitations to exclusive events, and more. 

If you are interested in joining Ars Lyrica Houston Opera Circle, please visit or contact Ars Lyrica Executive Director, Kinga Ferguson at or (713) 622-7443.  

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