The Wonderland Ball

Presented by Young Patronesses of the Opera

Patricia Scerpella, Violeta Cepeda, Barbara Waters, Nicole Unternaehrer & Michele Reese

More than 250 opera lovers and philanthropists walked through the looking glass with the Young Patronesses of the Opera for their 63rd annual gala, “The Wonderland Ball” at the Four Seasons Hotel.

After entering through a 12 foot tall story book, guests were met by living flowers and a towering queen of hearts on stilts and were treated to cocktails donated by Bacardi as they bid on exquisite silent auction items, including over 200 items with luxury vacations including a Mediterranean voyage onboard Sea Dream Yacht Club Cruises, a luxury trip to Peru, a 5-star river cruise through Vietnam and Cambodia, just to name a few.

As they made their way to the ballroom, they went down the rabbit hole or entered through the queen’s gate to their tables which were adorned with candelabras wrapped with florals or branches dripping in purple orchids. Guests were also greeted by the mad hatter who made his way through the maze of tables on stilts. The fantastical décor was imagined by gala chairs Violeta Cepeda, Michele Reese, Patricia Scerpella, Barbara Waters, Nicole Unternaehrer, and YPO President Lise-Marie Wertanzl, and was brought to life by Fantasy Designers.

After Wertanzl thanked the events top benefactors, Swanee and Paul DiMare, Trish and Dan Bell, The Wilder Foundation, and The Dunspaugh Dalton Foundation, a special surprise operatic performance by KahLee Productions wowed the crowd with the renditions of several popular arias set to techno music. The whimsically attired group then danced the night away to the sounds of the Drew T Band.

The funds raised for the gala support YPO’s opera educational programs that reach more than 20,000 school children every year in South Florida. The event’s gracious benefactors included Swanee and Paul DiMare, Trish and Dan Bell, The Wilder Foundation, and The Dunspaugh Dalton Foundation. For more information on YPO visit

Young Patronesses of the Opera would like to thank its sponsors: Trish and Dan Bell, Swanee and Paul DiMarie, the Wilder Foundation, Dunspaugh Dalton Foundation, Bacardi, USAExcelAg, Corp. USA, Sterling Journeys, Celebrity Cruises, Jennie Lou and Benjamine Reid, Victory Cruise Lines, Dr. Brandt Skincare, Aqua Expeditions, SeaDream Yacht Club, Peru Empire, Property Markets Group, Gerard Bertrand Wines, Selecta Magazine, Holland America Line, Abercrombie & Kent, Royal Caribbean International, Belmond Hotels, Burberry, Figenza Vodka, Hilton, MSC Cruises, Polestar Labs, South Luxury Guide, Atemporal, Inkaterra Hotels, The Agatston Center for Private Medicine, The Ritz-Carlton, Titilaka, Maurice’s Jewelers, and Press Concepts.

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