In some editions of yesterday's Style section, a photograph of Mary Day, artistic director of the Washington Ballet, was incorrectly identified as that of Anne Merete Petrignani, wife of the Italian ambassador.
Baron Enrico di Portanova, of Houston, Rome, Acapulco and Washington, lifted Mary Day's hand like a fine piece of porcelain. "You have a fine dance company," he said in his lilting Italian accent, quickly bowing and pecking the hand.
Italian Ambassador Rinaldo Petrignani and his wife, Anne Merete, last night hosted a formal and rather social dinner in honor of Day, the artistic director of the Washington Ballet, on the eve of the troupe's first European tour. It begins at the prestigious Spoleto Festival in Italy.
Held at the ambassador's residence--the impressive old Guggenheim estate--it was a party, in the words of one guest, at which the crowd of about 50 was "very pretty" and the jewels were "90 percent real." The printed guest list was neatly divided into categories that included The Washington Ballet, Political Personalities, and Social Personalities.
There were four "social personalities" there, according to the list: the di Portanovas, Polly Logan and Olga Hirshhorn. The di Portanovas, who are rich, attractive and new to town, have become the center of attention at many Washington parties. She was part of the "90 percent" wearing real emeralds and diamonds. They will be making Washington one of their four homes soon.
"We're looking for a house; we don't want an apartment, and not too big and not too small," explained the baroness. "It seems we've been here once a month looking. But every one I like, he doesn't, and every one he likes, I don't."
And speaking of houses, Polly Logan, formerly Polly Guggenheim, is finally at peace with the way her old house is looking these days.
"It looked hideous when the former ambassadors had it," said Logan with characteristic bluntness. "The drawing room looked whitewashed. But those people didn't go out and never invited anyone here except me because I used to live here."
The "political personalities" on the list included Nancy Reagan's chief of staff, James Rosebush, and his wife Nancy; Sargent Shriver; deputy chief of protocol Tom Nassif, and Joseph Wright from the Office of Management and Budget. No one seemed anxious to talk about the John Hinckley verdict.
"Oh, we had a lot to say about it on the way over here," said Nancy Rosebush.
"I have plenty of opinions but I don't think it would be appropriate to comment," said Jim Rosebush. "But I would be very interested to see if this verdict galvanizes public opinion to reform the judicial system."
And how did the first lady react to the verdict?
"You can imagine," he said.
"I was shocked," said Nassif. "I don't think there are any murderers who you can say are not crazy."
Healthy but elegant portions of pasta, veal and raspberry sherbert were served on sterling tableware.
"Bread and water for you tomorrow, Amanda," ballet board member Victor Shargai told Amanda McKerrow, winner of last year's Moscow International Ballet Competition.
At the end, after the champagne and Italian chocolates had been served, the ambassador toasted the ballet company "in anticipation of a warm Italian welcome . . . and another link in the beautiful chain of friendship between Washington and Italy."