The Valley Line: Dominigo stars in a night at the opera

It's hard to believe, but the first day of spring, March 20, is nearly here. We have already sprung an hour ahead and we are now thankfully into daylight saving time. I love having the sun shine later into the evening.

An afternoon performance of Giuseppe Verdi's opera, “Simon Boccanegra,” conducted by James Conlon, with the title role sung by Placido Domingo, was an exciting beginning to the 14th annual Placido Domingo Awards Dinner that was held in the Eva and Marc Stern Grand Hall of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

The event, presented by Hispanics for LAOpera, was a grand affair. Ed and Alicia Clark were front-and-center as the events of the evening unfolded. Ed, who is chair of the Hispanics for LAOpera steering committee, welcomed the guests. Alicia, who founded Hispanics for LAOpera, stepped to the podium to introduce Domingo.

Domingo first introduced the cast of the opera, who were performing in what was a first production of Verdi's opera here in Los Angeles. Domingo then introduced the honorees: Chilean writer, educator, and diplomat Antonio Skarmeta and community leaders Nicandro and Betty Juarez, who are also members of the Hispanics for LAOpera board of advisors.

Skarmeta is the author of “Ardiente Paciencia” which inspired the 1994 Academy Award-winning movie “Il Postino” and composer and librettist Daniel Catan's opera, “Il Postino,” written in Spanish, which premiered in Los Angeles last year to packed houses each night.

During the opera intermission, I bumped into La Cañadans Barbara and Jack Dawson, who are devoted opera-goers who usually sit in the Founders Circle.

Chuck Terhune, the new publicity chairman for the La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Assn., reports that the group's first Happy Hour of the year was held at the home of Rob and Barbara McLinn.

About 100 association members turned out for the event, strolling through the gardens and home, sipping beverages and nibbling on appetizers.

Attendees included Laura and Jason Berns, Sherrill Carbonetti, Sue Beatty, Mary and Daryl Gant, Claire Slaughter, Jean and Don Spomer (who will host the next happy hour, on March 23), Richard Grippi, Pat and Otis Hutchins, Sarah and Mayfield Marshall, Gloria Winkley, David Moffett, Trish and Ron Diaz, Ruth and Charlie Plowman, Pat and Dick Anderson, Gloria and Terry Beyer, Irene and Carl Christensen, Becky and Chuck Gelhaar, Adene and Jim Misamore, Diane and John Landrum, Joey and Dave Mitchell, Joyce and Bob Covey, Nancy Thurston, Julie Thurston, Dee Montgomery, Jean and Jerry Martin, and JoAnn and Gil McCoy.

Also present were Ann and Bob Neilson, Mary and Duane Batanhorst, Sharlyn French, Bobbie and Clyde Hemphill, Cathy and Pete Palermo, Art Johnson, Nancy and Mike Walizer, Rachel Larsen, Dee and Fraser Draper, Marlene Warschilka, Pam Wiedenbeck, Corkie and Dave MacPherson, Betty and Bob Keller, Darleen and Joel Peterson, Doris Horwith, Malak Peterman, Patti and Ross Newton, Jenny Pass, Nana and Joel Smith, Jean and Ron Zink, Pat and Larry Knudsen, Julie Cameron and David Granish, Pattie Prata, Betty Jones, Penelope Verner, Peggy Hotaling, Jackie Hollingsworth, Dave, Andy and Steve Spence, Joe and Lynne Thompson, Joan and Chuck McGee, Liz and Bob Craven, Eremita Miranda and Larry Andreason, Nancy Wyman, Helen and David Gilstrap.

JANE NAPIER NEELY covers the La Cañada social scene. Email her at

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