By Gayle Kirschbaum
I revel in the artistry that is so much a part of an opera performance.
For some of you it is the intense drama that captivates you the most, or the gorgeous blending of voice and orchestra, or costume and set design. If you love the world of dance, it might be the flamenco dancers in Carmen or Joffrey Ballet’s role in the upcoming Orpheus and Eurydice that feeds your soul and delights your senses.
It is this notion of full theater and our communal sharing of this expression that keeps me returning time and again to LA Opera and to the myriad events we offer as a League. We interact with spectator, fellow volunteers, performing artists, and LA Opera to bring those we touch closer and connect them more deeply to the operatic world.
We share a special affinity for the energies and commitment of the artists who appear on the stage. During our two in-depth seminars in the fall of 2017, two very gifted LA Opera Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artists sang the duet from The Pearl Fishers. At our second seminar, tenor Mario Chang sang for us while also headlining LA Opera’s Nabucco. We brought you the Veterans Day Musicale in November with arias and duets on a theme of war and peace, and African Americans for LA Opera (AALAO) brought you an intimate recital. AALAO is a part of our Opera League, and we always love the emerging talent they showcase at our many recitals and salons.
Many of you help feed the cast and crew during working rehearsals for LA Opera’s productions, and you’ve heard Plácido Domingo, James Conlon, Christopher Koelsch and Marc Stern all tell us, personally, how highly we are regarded by visiting artists, the chorus and LA Opera orchestra, because of the caring we provide for them. It’s no secret we love to watch them in rehearsals!
Do you know we have over 80 volunteers who drive visiting artists to and from the airport, sometimes at the wee hours of the morning, or take them to the doctor or to get groceries? You’ll want to check out the BRAVO 47 article on LA Opera’s “Lyft.”
Do you know we also have over 40 League volunteers who are specially trained by LA Opera to be Community Educators? They fan out across the county and beyond to give free talks at libraries, senior facilities and other venues. They spend untold hours preparing their presentations. In BRAVO 47 we interview one such Community Educator: Jessica Gonzalez-Rodriguez. An opera singer herself, Jessica’s talks focus on the operas from the singer’s point-of-view.
League volunteers assist hundreds of young and old, students, teachers and others, who arrive regularly at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion to watch rehearsals and attend workshops. They often arrive in buses courtesy of funds provided by the Opera League. Attendees at all these events experience opera in ways that can truly captivate them. If you follow the League’s Facebook page, you’ve no doubt seen the oodles of photos from these events.
Mark your calendars for April 7 for the Opera League’s Annual Hemmings Gala at the California Club. This year we proudly honor the warm and genuine Gene and Mindy Stein, who have been devoted to LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program. Proceeds from the Hemmings Gala fund Opera Camp, a program of LA Opera’s Education and Community outreach. Don’t miss the excellent cover story on the Steins in BRAVO 47.
With so many stimulating and meaningful events just around the corner, we look forward to seeing you again very soon.
By the way, don’t forget to follow the Opera League of Los Angeles on Facebook. Just click here and click the Like button on our Facebook page.
PHOTO CREDIT: Alma Guzman