Two years ago I had the glorious task of interviewing all fourteen of the Opera League past presidents who were honored at the Hemmings Awards dinner in 2012. It was an enlightening and humbling experience. I wondered then – and still do as I write this – if I am up to the task of following in their footsteps. They accomplished so much – without them, there would not be an Opera League today. Following our 15th past president will be no easy task either.
Diane Gray achieved many things for the Opera League – the change to a full-color Bravo under the far- sighted and sophisticated work of Editor Susan Heard; the upgrade of the website through truly uncountable hours from Webmaster Bill Green; and the able guidance of Membership Chair Trevor Roper, who devoted numerous hours to the membership and “store” components. These achievements are an amazing legacy. Diane did a wonderful job fundraising to ensure that the Student Bus Transportation Fund will enable school children – operagoers of the future – to attend LA Opera dress rehearsals for years to come, regardless of public school funding cutbacks.
I hope you will enjoy the events we are planning this year. Last spring we emailed a survey to 500 members to help us plan League seminars. We asked which operas we should feature in seminars and when seminars should be held. As a result of the extraordinary 36% response rate, we will hold seminars on Einstein on the Beach, Thaïs, Falstaff and Lucia de Lammermoor. We also will plan special events to focus on Billy Budd and The Magic Flute. Finally, League members preferred Sunday afternoons and Saturday mornings (but not too early), and favored the lunch and social time. As we plan our activities, we will try to avoid conflicts with other musical events on days we select.
Our Einstein seminar speaker is the Executive and Artistic Director of UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance (CAP), Kristy Edmunds. She will tell us about this contemporary opera and how LA Opera and CAP partnered to bring it to Los Angeles. We follow that with the Master Class by renowned impresario Tito Capobianco. We hope to see you at these and other events. Photos and write-ups will be on the website soon after each event.
I am excited to report that we are making progress in partnering with LAO’s Aria program to reach out to young professionals and bring them into our Opera League fold. You will hear shortly of our plans for a fall membership drive. I invite your thoughts on reaching out to other opera lovers in the LA basin.
We invite members who enjoy writing and have experience in word processing and text editing to help produce our Bravo newsletter and maintain current content on our newly designed website. Volunteers will learn about League activities and events by conducting interviews and helping to write articles. If you have the time and skills, I would love to hear from you at email@example.com.