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Sarno Goodbye Prompts Memories of Mario

August 20, 2000

Your fond, historic obituary for the venerable Sarno's ("In Los Feliz, Life Will Be a Little Less Sweet," Aug. 1) was much appreciated. However, you cannot dismiss world-class basso-baritone Mario Storache's efforts to reincarnate the Caffe dell'Opera as an unsuccessful stab by "another Italian American." The magic Mario did--in an albeit brief attempt over two years--is a page in the history of this city's informal (if less than grand) opera [scene] that will never be forgotten by the music lovers who witnessed it. Most of all, the impromptu nature of it, in a metropolis desperate for form, fed the souls of the wandering spirits indigenous to L.A.

One night we saw Mario recruit in minutes a glorious, impromptu "Rigoletto" quartet from the professionals dining there. Duets were frequent. Often the audience supplied a choral background for superb drop-in tenors. Mario did have the magic, he had the music; it was only the other "M" that ran out.

--JERRY and RENA LEBLANC

Woodland Hills

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