LA Opera Party

Romeo, Juliet, Placido Domingo and More Cast Members Join LA Opera Party


The glamour quotient shot up Nov. 6 at the Los Angeles Opera, when the opera company re-launched Opening Night cast parties after Sunday’s performance of “Romeo and Juliet.”  The traditional parties, which had been absent in recent seasons, have now returned for upper level donors.

Following a standing ovation and raucous applause – encouraged with a touch of humor by Vittorio Grigolo, a.k.a. Romeo – the cast joined the after-party at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for conversation, picture-taking, drinks and a dinner buffet. Vanessa Williams of “Desperate Housewives” joined Placido Domingo for a brief backstage visit, before Domingo arrived at the early evening soiree to thank donors and introduce the cast. Domingo, the opera’s general director, conducted the matinee.

Alyce Williamson continued to wipe away tears as she met Nino Machaidze, who sang Juliet, soon after Machaidze’s emotional duet with Grigolo in the opera’s tragic ending.  “I’m still teary-eyed,” Williamson said.

“We love having something special for our donors,” said Carol Henry, president of the L.A. Opera, regarding the opera company’s decision to offer exclusive parties for contributors at the Opera Council level and above.    

Also at the LA Opera party were Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Stana Katic of “Castle;” Songwriters Hall of Famer Leslie Bricusse, composer of the Grammy Award-winning “What kind of Fool Am I?” Academy Award-winning “Talk to the Animals,” among numerous other hit songs; Richard Kendall and Lisa See, author of “Shanghai Girls,” “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan” and other novels; and Pat York and Michael York of the “Austin Powers” films.

More party-goers were Lenore and Bernard Greenberg, Alice Coulombe and Trader Joe’s Founder Joe Coulombe, Kathy Baxter and former U.S. Ambassador to Uruguay Frank Baxter, Marie-France and Paul Bloch, Jill Baldauf and Steven Grossman, Cindy and Dick Troop, Diane and Peter Gray, Penny and Harold Ray, Nancy and Barry Sanders, Joan and Arnold Seidel, Christine Adams and Jim Asperger, Eileen and Charles Read, Ellen and Jim Strauss, Cathy and Paul Tosetti and Haig Bagerdjian. (Although not among party-goers, Kirk Douglas was spotted at intermission in the Founders Room.)  

To see the reason for the raucous applause, click here to see Mark Swed’s review of Sunday’s production of “Romeo and Juliet” in the Los Angeles Times.

Photos: from top, Vanessa Williams of “Desperate Housewives” with Vittorio Grigolo, a.k.a., Romeo (credit: Steve Cohn/ Steve Cohn Photography); Vanessa Williams with Placido Domingo (credit: Steve Cohn/ Steve Cohn Photography); Stana Katic of “Castle” and Hall of Fame songwriter Leslie Bricusse at the LA Opera party.



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LA Opera Party

Published Nov. 7, 2011 – Ellen Olivier, Society News LA