Special Performances of 2016 Gala

We are proud to present our 4th Annual Firebird Gala, a glowing celebration of culture and heritage of the Eurasian countries. 

Special performances include: Ballet, Opera, and Gymnastics.

4-Course Russian-inspired menu by Executive Chef of Union League Club Michael Garbin.

Live Band dancing and, of course, vodka tasting over ice sculpture luge!



“The Nightingale”, Composer Alexandr Alyabyev


Dazzling Russian coloratura soprano Albina Shagimuratova first came to international attention as the Gold Medal winner in the 2007 Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. This was followed quickly by her European opera debut as the Queen of the Night at the Salzburg Festival under the baton of Riccardo Muti. She has been hailed by Opera News as “a phenomenon that must be heard to be believed” and by the New York Times for her “riveting Lucia.”

Regarded as the world’s leading interpreter of the Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte, she has sung the role with the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala (available on DVD), Wiener Staatsoper, Bayerische Staatsoper, Deutsche Oper Berlin, San Francisco Opera, Bolshoi Theater, Los Angeles Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Hamburg Staatsoper, and the Lucerne Festival, among others. It also served as her debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in the celebrated Sir David McVicar production.

Meet the Performers


A&A Ballet

A&A Ballet A&A Ballet is devoted to training in strong, versatile dance technique, as well as the development of personality, independence  and artistry in young dancers. Led by internationally acclaimed artists and former Founding Artistic Directors of the Joffrey Academy and Joffrey Studio Company, Anna Reznik and Alexei Kremnev.

The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago

The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center was established in 1974 as the professional artist-development program for Lyric Opera of Chicago. Since its inception, it has been recognized as one of the premier programs of its kind in the world.                                                        


Vitrychenko Academy

Vitrychenko Academy offers top-level training in rhythmic gymnastics for all ages/levels. Vitrychenko Academy is led by Olympic Bronze medalist and 12 time European champion, Olena Vitrychenko, and aims for each gymnast to achieve their personal best by learning proper technique, body alignment, and apparatus mastery.


Verzatile Band was formed in 2003 in Chicago, IL. The band performed everywhere from banquets to NAACP functions, and even served as the band for Chicago's very own, President Barak Obama during his Senate run. As a band, they've stumbled across some of the most amazing artists in Chicago, in this nation, and beyond.