Butterflies for Opera’s Opening Night

Butterflies are all over invitations for the Los Angeles Music Center Opera’s Sept. 12 opening night at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. A new production of Giacomo Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” starring Placido Domingo launches the season.

Ginny Mancini chairs the post-performance gala benefit party, to be held on the Music Center Plaza. The committee is sandwiching details between summer travels hither and yon. Carol Henry is in Paris. Joan Thompson is back from Manila.

More on the committee: Dorothy Brown, Hannah Carter, Annette O’Malley, Margaret Perenchio, Ruth Shannon, Dorothy Straus, Flora Thornton. Gala tickets are $650 each.


GUSSIED UP: Meanwhile, opera calls for glamour. Saks Fifth Avenue, Beverly Hills, hosts a cocktail reception and fashion show of eveningwear July 30 at the Bel-Air Hotel to salute the Los Angeles Music Center Opera.

Whammy ideas are promised not only for opening night but also for a Jan. 22 party to salute the company’s presentation of Bizet’s “Carmen” and for an onstage party June 20 amid the sets of “Hansel & Gretel.” Doesn’t that call for three purchases?

MEDICI: “Why are we here?” asked dinner chairman Richard Ferry. “Because the partnership between the arts and the business of Los Angeles is important.”

With Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce Chairman Byron Allumbaugh reflecting that the great Medici family contributed to the renaissance of art in the 15th Century, the chamber bestowed six 1991 Medici Awards at a black-tie dinner at the Ritz-Carlton, Huntington.

Recipients: the Ahmanson Foundation, for its history of giving; O’Melveny & Myers, for pro bono legal services; FHP Health Care, for imaginative use of employee involvement; Fishking Processors Inc., for commitment by a family owned company; Mervyn’s, for corporate philanthropy, and Yukiyaso Togo, president and CEO of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., for personal commitment.

Barbara Bain announced the awards. Dinner co-chair Peter Mullin participated in the presentation of a Baccarat butterfly to Caroline Ahmanson, dinner founder.

In the audience: Richard and Dee Sherwood, Maud Ferry, Pam Mullin, Kim and Bob Rollo, Maury and Carolyn DeWald, Jiro Ishizaka, Frank and Betsy Ulf, Joanne Hale, and Sandy and Shel Ausman.

A KICK: Everyone was commenting on U. S. Ambassador to Jamaica Glen Holden and his terrific back-arm as he played in the eighth annual Golden Mallet Invitational Polo Tournament Saturday at the Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet Club. The tournament benefits the Assistance League’s Day Nursery Auxiliary.

On Holden’s Gehache team were Kingston banker Dennis Lalor, Holden’s son-in-law Michael Sheller and six-goal player Martin Gonzales. But they weren’t enough to stop the winning Bagatelle team led by Gene Fortugno.

Under a semi-cloudy sky and colorful umbrellas, the day was most pleasant for the alfresco luncheon staged by Geannie Holden Sheller and auxiliary chairman Eva Elkins. Gloria Holden, wife of the ambassador, took the microphone to welcome the crowd.

Feasting on the panoply of activity--biplanes overhead, pony races, Jawge’s steel band reggae, trophy presentations--were several hundred, including Beverly and Larry Thrall, Katie Porter with son Clark, Robby and Lizzy Clifford, Milan and Maede Smith, Virginia and Michael Kazanjian, Bob and Elizabeth Skene, Robert Mitchum, and Joni and Clark Smith, who drove their Rolls up from Los Angeles at 40 miles an hour because of mechanical problems.

WILD CHEERS: Delegates representing more than 500 supporting chapters for the City of Hope answered “The Roll Call of the Nation” at their 78th anniversary National Biennial Convention Sunday at the Beverly Hilton. The chapters from 208 cities across the country turned in $54 million for the medical center.

Richard S. Ziman was reelected board chairman. Iris Rothstein chaired the convention. David Marks headed convention planning. Gene Barry and Norm Crosby, the City of Hope’s Ambassador of Goodwill, headlined Saturday’s black-tie opening entertainment. Macdonald Carey and Vikki Carr brought down the curtain for the starry dinner Monday evening.

NEWPORT BEACH: More than 38,000 people are served each year by the emergency care unit at Hoag Hospital. Next Thursday’s “Doc Hollywood” movie premiere at Edwards Newport Center will raise funds for its renovation.

Comedian Joey Bishop will emcee the 552 Club support group event starring Michael J. Fox. The movie’s a medical natural: It’s the story of a young medic on his way to Los Angeles who gets stuck in the rural South when his car breaks down and he falls in love with a young ambulance driver. Thus, a decorated ambulance-limo will escort VIPs to the theater door. Volunteers will dress in surgical greens.

CLEVER: It’s the last year the Monte Carlo Ball will be held in the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art; the museum is scheduled to undergo major expansion.

Thus, Pam Allison, Connie Golden and Dorothy O’Neil take the theme “Raise the Roof” for the party Aug. 10. Distinguished volunteer Betty DeBakcsy is the chairman, with a lot of support from a committee of 60 including Kathy Pardee, Jean Hahn and Joanne Warren.