The President's Elixir of an Update

Ana María Martínez, Poor Butterfly

March didn’t come in like a lion, but it did bring an elixir.

The first Sunday of the month saw Opera Leaguers including myself hop aboard the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner for a scenic trek up the coast to Santa Barbara, the ocean scenery made all the more postcard perfect courtesy of the unbeatable weather. Because life, unlike a Wagner opera, is too short, we spoiled ourselves with business class seats. Translation? Free wine! Oh, and did I mention the opera? We caught a matinee of The Elixir of Love. You couldn’t ask for a more perfect day for an opera like that. Fellow train trekkers, am I right? What’s more, our fearless leader Brita Millard turned efficiency into an art and a science. Really, when you’re with her, you can stop thinking for yourself. Just follow that red umbrella. Cap it off with a wonderful lunch, and the rest is gravy.

Brita’s next trip will be Santa Fe in August. Keep your eyes peeled for the eBlast, but if you’d like more information now, email

Would like to create a masterpiece? No, I don’t mean an opera. I’m talking food. On March 7, we stuffed silly over 110 cast members including Ana María Martínez disguised as a certain Butterfly. Cast dinners are the perfect venue to show off your culinary skills and partake with a group of fellow chefs dedicated to making sure LA Opera’s singers don’t starve in the middle of rehearsal. Of course, attending at a cast dinner affords you a glimpse of the technical rehearsals that only few have the opportunity to watch. Believe me, the cast is always grateful. A diva’s gotta eat, right? And you want to know the best part? When the cast gets back to work, we Leaguers can scarf the buffet. Few experiences can match stuffed grape leaves chased down with great wine to the soundtrack of a gorgeously sung tragic aria. A wise person summed it up best: “Sublime!”

The highlight of the past month would have to be the master class on March 11. A collaboration between the Opera League and LA Opera, over 125 music lovers, LAO patrons in addition to Opera Leaguers, were googly-eyed as Ana María Martínez instructed Vanessa Becerra, Summer Hassan and Elizabeth Zharoff from LA Opera’s Young Artist program. No, it’s not all about the singing per se. Ana María showed that it’s key to be in touch with your physicality, and then harnessing that newfound awareness to inform the power of your voice.

As I write this, I am watching Nancy Reagan’s funeral. Want to know what I see? Ana María singing “Ave Maria” accompanied by our own Nino Sanikidze. Her voice looms over the crowd like an angel, so beautiful and pure. The audience has tears in their eyes.

At the master class, Ana María remarked that music evokes the power of emotion. Opera Leaguers were privileged to see this world-class star up close and personal in an intimate setting.

What’s on the docket for April? Can anyone say “Hemmings?” Be sure to get your tickets now, if you haven’t already, for the League’s premier annual gala. Click here to read about honoree Zev Yaroslavsky.

In mid April you can look forward to the spring issue of BRAVO.

By the way, if you’d like to see photos from the master class, the Santa Barbara trip, and many other League events, please visit our Facebook page and be sure to Like the page so you can follow us in your homepage newsfeed.

See you next time!


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Author: Thomas Lady

Categories: President's MessageNumber of views: 2210