People & Places: Tulsa Opera donors celebrate with performers at 'One Starry Night'
BY DANNA SUE WALKER World Staff Writer
Thursday, November 15, 2012
11/15/12 at 3:24 AM
Members of Tulsa Opera's President's Council attended "One Starry Night" of music and fine dining when they were honored during a recent kickoff of the company's 65th anniversary season.
The black-tie evening at Southern Hills Country Club offered a chance to dine with stars of the company's most recent production "The Daughter of the Regiment" and hear them perform in an elegant, intimate setting, all while supporting production and educational outreach efforts.
The 65th Tulsa Opera Season was officially dedicated to Jeannette Turner, who was managing director of Tulsa Opera from 1959 until 1973. During those years, the Opera grew artistically, organizationally and financially.
Turner became a skillful contract negotiator in the New York opera world, which resulted in landmark appearances in the company's early years by many critically acclaimed artists including Beverly Sills, Renata Scotto, Roberta Peters, Richard Tucker and Anna Moffo.
Tulsa Opera Board President Martin Piplits began the evening by thanking the production's presenting sponsors, the George Kaiser Family Foundation and the C.W. Titus Foundation. Thanks also went to production underwriters, Bob and Millie Millspaugh, as well as student matinee underwriters, the Grace and Franklin Bernsen Foundation, Scott and Margee Filstrup, the Filstrup Foundation, Evelyn M. Hatfield, and Bonnie Klein.
During dinner, Kostis Protopapas, Tulsa Opera's Artistic Director, provided piano accompaniment for the singers, who earned several ovations.
Sarah Coburn, the star of "The Daughter of the Regiment," gave an elegant rendition of "Les Filles de Cadix" by Leo Delibes; tenor Gregory Schmidt, Coburn's co-star in the recent production, offered the thrilling aria "Si, ritrovarla io giuro" from "La Cenerentola" by Rossini. Together with bass-baritone Peter Strummer, Schmidt performed the Nemorino-Dulcamara duet from "The Elixir of Love." Dorothy Byrne closed the program with Bernstein's hilarious and jazzy "I Can Cook Too!" from "On the Town." Also performing were Elizabeth Fischborn, Zac Engle, Alexander Elliott and Tulsa Opera's studio artists.
Others in the crowd were Barbara Piplits, Mollie Williford and Don Walker; Mike and Gina Lodes; Bonnie Klein; John and Jody Williams, Peggy Helmerich, Jeffery and Jan Scott; John and Carolyn Woodard; Scott and Margee Filstrup; Jonathon and Jennifer Anthony; Marilyn Strange; Scott Black; Burl and Nita Watson; Mark Weathers; Rusty Kidd and Scott Williams; Evelyn Hatfield and Pat Fox; Joe Kestner and Anna Norberg Kestner; and Linda and Peter Strummer, who starred as Sergeant Sulpice.
Also attending were Ron and Barbara Glass; Jim and Beth Rainey; Don and Polly Hamilton; Ron and Katie Petrikin; Rolf and Adele Blom; Dave and Barbara Sylvan; Janie Long; Anne O'Shea Quattrini - who appeared as the Duchesse de Krakenthorp in the production - and her husband, Brian; and David Bowman with his daughter, Tulley Bowman.
Tulsa Opera Board Chairwoman Pattie Bowman was out of town and missed the evening she helped plan. Special donors to the Jeannette Turner Memorial Fund included John and Barbara Turner, Shelly and Dan Glenn, Michael Tramontana, John and Carolyn Woodard, Robert Funk, Bryant Coffman, Thom and Stephanie Seymour, Steve and Ellen Adelson, John Barnett, Norman and Annette Dunitz, and Peggy Helmerich.
Ticket sales cover less than 25 percent of Tulsa Opera's production costs, so contributions from donors are essential for continued success of the nation's 18th-oldest opera company.
The Tulsa Opera's President's Council is donors contributing gifts of $3,000 or more. President's Council members receive benefits including black-tie dinners with the artists, Champagne intermissions during each Tulsa Opera performance, invitations to opening night receptions, tickets to dress rehearsals, special event invitations, and program listings.
For more information about the Tulsa Opera or the President's Council, go to tulsaworld.com/tulsaopera or call 918-582-4035.
To make a donation to the Jeannette Turner Memorial Fund, go to tulsaworld.com/jeannetteturner
Original Print Headline: Tulsa Opera celebrates
Peggy Helmerich (left), Jono Helmerich and Sarah Coburn, the star of Tulsa Opera's recent production of "The Daughter of the Regiment," mark the 65th Tulsa Opera Season at the "One Starry Night" event. Courtesy