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League Finds Help in 'a Bit of Paradise'

September 03, 1987|BEVERLY BUSH SMITH

Calling the benefit "a bit of paradise . . . a private moment with music," JoAnn MacInnis, president of the Opera League of Laguna Beach, bid a reluctant farewell to guests who attended the group's "Teahouse of the August Moon" party.

The Sunday fund-raiser, which netted about $3,500 for Opera Pacfic, was staged at the Moss Point home of Maxine and Harry J. Lawrence of Laguna Beach.

The 117 opera lovers had enjoyed sunset cocktails and dined on sushi in the Lawrences' Oriental gardens, and then, as the moon shone above their Japanese teahouse, gathered for Oriental fare around a lantern-lit pool.

And finally, with the breaking surf seeming to play soft percussion, soprano Nancy Bliss Estes and tenor James Matranga (of Opera Pacific's Overture Company) performed selections from "South Pacific," "Die Fledermaus," and "Kismet."

Many of the guests dressed to reflect the party's Oriental theme. Opera League treasurer Peter Voloshin said he had bought his jaunty black cap in Hong Kong. His wife, Louise, wore a handmade black kimono with gold obi and a fresh chrysanthemum in her hair.

Brenda Baum Turner, past president and founding member of the Opera League, wore white silk printed with orange and vibrant reds. Gertrude McClintock said she had bought her Chinese red kimono in Japan. Margaret Price wore "a very old Mandarin coat" in shades of coral.

Touring his home, host Harry Lawrence pointed to an Oriental screen that dominated one living room wall, saying he had purchased it from a silk merchant in Osaka, Japan.

The Opera League of Laguna Beach was organized to support the Lyric Opera of Orance County. In 1987, it became the first guild of the newly formed Opera Pacific Guild Alliance.

Alice and John Kugler were co-chairmen of the benefit. Committee members included Helen Lawler, Phyllis Willats, Neita Wiese, Nancy Garden, Eve Barry, Wilma O'Keefe and Gertrude McClintock.

Others were Kay Gertz, Jo Dominick, Lillie Hinde, Bob Hastings and Keith Johnson.

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