Palm Springs Opera Guild of the Desert delivered an afternoon of glorious singing at the 19th annual Opera in the Park, organized by a winning trio — president Bruce Johansen, artistic director Andrew Eisenmann, and musical director Mona Lands.
Joanne Vilardi, the guild’s executive director, welcomed guests to the program at Sunrise Park in Palm Springs before turning the stage over to Johansen. Palm Springs Mayor Robert Moon presented a proclamation to Eisenmann for his work with educational outreach programs in local schools. The two-act program full of evergreen chestnut arias by Puccini, Verdi, Bizet, Rossini, and Donizetti had the crowd of 4,000-plus attendees cheering and hollering within minutes.
The extremely difficult “Glitter and Be Gay,” sung by soprano Jacquelynne Fontaine was an absolute delight. Riffing off of the successful Three Tenors, the second act included three famous tenor arias jointly sung by Ricardo Garcia, Marcus Klotz, and Joshua Wheeker. The rest of the singers were baritone Ben Lowe, mezzo-soprano Guadalupe Paz, and sopranos Amina Edris and Madison Leonard. Masetro Valery Ryvkin, who has wowed in years past, returned as conductor. The event was produced by Richard DeSantis.
Opera Guild major supporters who attended the event included Leo Mavrovitis with The Augustine Foundation, Patty and Arthur Newman with Newman’s Own Foundation, Steve Tobin with the Grace Helen Spearman Foundation, and Gary Hall with Wells Fargo. Other supporters seen were Ernest Phinney and Robert Walker representing The Frank H. & Eva B. Buck Foundation, Peggy Cravens, Ronald Lavo, Donna MacMillan, Yvonne and Steven Maloney, Thomas Patrick, and Stephen Rulo.
Board members on hand included Terry Hendrix, Renée Glickman, Jordan Varela, Jean Carrus, Barbara Pomar, Jerry Green, and Patrick Mundt. Long-time guild supporters also spied in the masses were Audrey and Courtney Moe, Kathy Sanders, and John Nocita.
Palm Springs Opera Guild of the Desert
2150 E. Tahquitz Canyon, Ste. 6
Palm Springs, CA 92262
Photography by Pat Krause