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'Turandot' Second-Guessed at Cast Party

February 22, 1990|PAMELA MARIN | Pamela Marin is a regular contributor to Orange County Life

Members of the Impresario Circle of Opera Pacific dodged raindrops Friday on a short hop from the Performing Arts Center to the "Turandot" cast party at Scott's Seafood Bar and Grill.

Once inside the restaurant--a glass of champagne or Chardonnay in hand--the arts patrons mulled the fortunes of Princess Turandot, her tenacious suitor, Calaf, and the saintly, doomed slave girl, Liu.

"We kept hoping Turandot would die," said Kathleen Deighton, who attended the performance and party with friend Jon Buyle. "We wanted Liu to get the guy."

Buyle, laughing, joined in. "Wouldn't that have been wonderful? That would be a very modern love story--much more proletarian!"

"All that beautiful music," said Floss Schumacher, board chairwoman of Opera Pacific. Schumacher was discussing that beautiful music with her husband, Ed, and guest, Painter Woodley. Ed Schumacher shook his head. "I don't know about that Hollywood ending," he said of the happily-ever-after finale.

Bill and Laila Conlin, who underwrote the "super title" translations projected above the stage, munched appetizers near the buffet.

"Tonight was a little slow," joked Bill. "Only two murders."

At a candle-lit table along the wall, impresarios George and Arlene Cheng chatted with their guests, Bessie Loo and Frank Que. All four gave the production a thumbs-up, but Que, a dress designer in L.A., found the costumes lacking authenticity.

Calaf's outfit, for instance, with puff sleeves and fur-topped boots, was "very Western," Que noted. And the "rabble," he said, "looked like Gypsies."

"Asian colors are vibrant, more exciting. These (costumes) seemed to me a little on the drab side," Que said. "I think they should have studied Oriental things, or asked some Asian designers, since they went to all that expense."

Mixing with the donors were opera stars Maria Spacagna (Liu) and Lando Bartolini (Calaf), as well as other cast members.

Diva Johanna Meier, who sang the role of Princess Turandot in Friday's production, was a head-swiveling addition to the party when she arrived at midnight. She was greeted by Opera Pacific board president Tom Hammond with lavish praise and a hopeful promise. "I think one of these days David (DiChiera, general director of Opera Pacific) will have the courage to do some Wagner," Hammond said to the soprano, who has made her international reputation singing Wagnerian roles.

Meier and Spacagna's appearances were sponsored by Richard and Jolene Engel and Lee West.

Also attending the party were Ealynn Voss and Giorgio Tieppo (Turandot and Calaf alternates), and patrons Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom, LaDorna and Bob Eichenberg, Walter Henry and Maria del Carmen Calvo, and Phil and Betty Quarre.

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