The sound of music took command of the evening’s earlier inclement weather to assure Opera Arts/Palm Springs’ Opera Under the Stars event would be absolutely perfect.
More than 100 guests gathered in the Rose Garden of the Renaissance Esmeralda to share quality musical performances with emphasis on opera and operetta as well as visual arts.
Cocktails and a beautiful dinner catered by Lulu’s California Bistro were followed by a few words of thanks and praise from Arlene Rosenthal, president of the Board of Directors of Opera Arts. The evening was dedicated to Barbara and Jerry Keller, who received the St. Cecilia Patron of Music Award for nurturing and supporting music in the Coachella Valley.
The Kellers commented that Rosenthal was a shining example of how a person can make the world a better place, and admired her ability to balance her life with art and opera while helping the less fortunate. Rosenthal is also president of Well in the Desert, which feeds the less fortunate in the Coachella Valley.
It has become a tradition to have a local artist present a sculpture or painting to the evening’s honorees. Tim Townsley created a painting in a muralist style painting that represented Madame Butterfly, The Phantom of the Opera, the Sorcerer’s Apprentice and other aspects of the arts that are significant to the Kellers.
Last year’s award was given posthumously to Milton Jones, publisher of Palm Springs Life Magazine.
Dinner was accompanied with the introduction of Victoria Kirsch, musical director and pianist for Opera Arts. Kirsch has worked with national and regional opera companies, and has served as an official pianist for the Operalia Competition and the Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Auditions in Los Angeles. She has toured the world for many years with singing actress, Julia Migenes.
Kirsch introduced the program featuring Jamie Chamberlain, soprano, and Danielle Marcelle Bond, mezzo-soprano.
The performance for the evening told the story of two American girls travelling in Paris. The tales of their travels and emotions were illustrated with arias including “Habanera” from Carmen, “Amour, viens aider” from Samson et Dalila, “What a Movie” from Trouble in Tahiti, “Glitter and be Gay” from Leonard Bernstein’s Candide, and a duet of West Side Story songs, “A Boy Like That” and “I Had a Love”.
The performance also included a piano solo by Kirsch,
All three performers received a rousing standing ovation and many “Bravas” from the audience of opera aficionados and Opera Arts supporters, which proved that art, opera, talent and Mother Nature could all work hand-in-hand to create an entertaining and memorable evening.
OperaArts Palm Springs
P.O. Box 5722, Palm Springs, CA 92263
Photography by Loretta Vlach