Minnesota Opera has always been a prestigious company leading the creation of new works and setting trends in the opera industry—and is now on the forefront for setting a new standard in how we entertain and style events. I was more than excited to partner with this organization to help transform the event culture and add my signature touches to help propel the company a bit further in its new mission.
When I envision an event, I focus on the purpose of the event all while considering worldly trends and influence. I study and reflect on what is trending on the runway, what patterns and colors are predominant across all mediums, what textures local restaurants and hotels are using in their kitchen and lounge furniture, and ask myself what is on the forefront. Then, I combine a little bit of everything and interpret what is trending in my own way.
Reimagining Minnesota Opera’s events has truly been a wonderful and challenging opportunity. I take my existing approach and draw inspiration from what is being produced on the stage.
For “Thaïs,” the opening night dinner was designed to complement the Egyptian elements of the show, while invoking the powerful spiritual influence portrayed in the production. This production was very grand and unique to Minnesota Opera in that it was categorized as a French Grand Opera for its opulent costumes and scenery, complex lighting, and incorporation of a full chorus and ballet.
The notable trends for this dinner were color blocking with the high contrast jet black and sand colors. Texture played a major role in this design with heavy velvet table linens, handmade paper place cards, polished metals, high contrast chairs, pottery, and marble table numbers and candle holders to complement the elements of the space. Some floral elements included in this look were rye, bunny tails, olive branches, and dwarf pampas grass, which is heavily trending right now and perfect for this palet.
We added a unique touch of gold peacocks and panthers for a subtle elegant touch. I wanted something very subdued, but with a lot of character that complemented the space.
Aside from meticulously focusing on every detail, I love to work collaboratively with local vendors, while thinking about how to incorporate the community at large. Our 55th Anniversary Season Gala was a pivotal point for Minnesota Opera in that we partnered with Jujubee, of Ru Paul’s Drag Race, along with other talent, to produce the opera’s firstever drag show. The event sold out and was the highest grossing gala in Minnesota Opera’s history.
It will almost be two years now, and I get calls from other local organizations and companies wanting to know how we did something, how they can collaborate with us, or even what we are up to next. This is truly a humbling feeling, and am glad we are challenging others to also rethink their events, all while making a community impact. Today, Minnesota Opera focuses on breaking conventions and setting new standards—and I am here to do just that.
ANTHONY DIAZ IS THE OWNER AND CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF THE MINNEAPOLIS-BASED EVENT PLANNING AND DESIGN FIRM ANTHONY & STORK AND THE ASSOCIATE EVENTS DIRECTOR OF MINNESOTA OPERA. BRIDGING THE WORLDS OF ART, FASHION, AND INDUSTRIAL DESIGN, ANTHONY’S WORK IS KNOWN FOR ITS MODERN GLAMOUR, IMAGINATION, AND CURATORIAL VISION. ANTHONYANDSTORK.COM