Palm Springs Life magazine took center stage at the Opera Under the Stars event, produced by Opera Arts’ president Arlene Rosenthal, on April 19 at Renaissance Esmeralda Hotel & Spa in Indian Wells.
Large magazine cover blow ups were scattered throughout the area for all to enjoy. Last year’s honoree, Nancy Harris of the Coeta and Donald Barker Foundation, introduced Palm Springs Life publisher Frank Jones as he accepted the St. Cecilia Patron of Music Award on behalf of his late father, Milt Jones.
Frank Jones said Palm Springs Life reflects back to the community the strong support of the arts by donors, artists, and appreciative desert audiences. Renowned artists and desert residents Karen and Tony Barone unveiled and presented a special “For the Love of Music” sculpture to Jones. The sculpture was created and donated to OperaArts by the Barones.
Board members Elizabeth and Jeffrey Moritz and Kira Klatchko welcomed the 100-plus attendees to the luscious lawn outside the Emerald Ballroom at the rear of the Renaissance Esmeralda Hotel. Palm Desert Mayor Susan Marie Weber was there, as were Mitch Blumberg of Desert Arc, Marion Schaefer of Opera Showcase of the Desert, Ruth Moir of Steinway Society of Riverside County and Leo Milmet of Well in the Desert. Also in attendance were Atma Wiseman, Desiree Langager, Sarah Milmet, Darby Deal, George Barros, and Connie Taylor escorting two young opera fans, Samira Diaz, and Rey Mancilla from the Desert Hot Springs Boys and Girls Club, and Gloria Greer, social editor for Palm Springs Life, who Rosenthal announced will receive the 2016 St. Celia Patron of Music Award.
The evening opened with jazz by D Company, with Denise Motto and Doug Ledesma providing piano music. A cheese, crackers, and dried fruits table with a no-host bar was offered for cocktails. Popular classical pianist Gale Enger entertained during dinner, playing a plethora of well known pieces from all genres. Music director Victoria Kirsch accompanied the two operatic soloists soprano Shana Blake Hill and baritone Zachary Gordin following dinner.
The program featured arias by Puccini, Verdi and Leoncavallo. Light opera was represented by Franz Lehar, and two solos from Carl Orff’s master choral work, Carmina Burana. Kirsch played a haunting and lovely Satie piece as the Waltz Surprise to give the singers a quick break.