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Opera Pacific no doubt intended its "Festa Italiana" concert Saturday night at the Irvine Bowl in Laguna Beach to be a frothy mix of bel canto favorites that would rev up audiences just as tickets go on sale for the company's new season. And that it was. Artistic director and conductor John DeMain offered an entertaining performance of Rossini, Donizetti and Bellini excerpts--a smart mix of old chestnuts and exotic treats--with a handful of soloists and the Opera Pacific orchestra and chorus.
March 2, 1992 | CHRIS PASLES
If the acoustic of Segerstrom Hall apparently works to magnify the size of an opera singer's voice, modest indeed must be the voices of Jennifer Jones and John Absalom, who joined the Opera Pacific cast in the title roles of Saint-Saens' "Samson et Dalila" on Saturday. Both were singing the roles for the first time. Jones has sung with the Long Beach and Welsh national operas. Absalom is a tenor at New York City Opera. Neither can be said to have a major career yet.
As revealed in the matinee of "Aida" Sunday at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, second casts are not always second-best. Camellia Johnson (Aida), Eugenie Grunewald (Amneris) and Vladimir Popov (Radames) carried the day when they took over at the second performance this season of Verdi's opera in a new production by Opera Pacific. Johnson's sizable and luscious soprano, edgeless to a fault, apparently found no difficulties in the familiar yet tricky vocal part.
November 26, 1991 | KATHRYN BOLD
Just as in the Old Testament, Samson didn't stand a chance against the bevy of tempting Dalilas who showed up in lavish costumes at the Opera Pacific's ninth annual Opera Ball on Saturday. About 450 guests attended the "Bacchanalia" at the Hyatt Regency Irvine's International Ballroom, which had been transformed into an exotic oasis for the evening. The ball, hosted by the Opera Pacific Guild Alliance, raised about $105,000 for the Costa Mesa-based opera company.
July 1, 1987 | CHRIS PASLES, Times Staff Writer
Soprano Ealynn Voss been supporting herself scrubbing floors and cleaning houses in Malibu. Tenor Armond Sierra keeps the pot boiling by singing in an Italian restaurant in Palm Springs. Bass Mario Storace has his own construction business in Los Angeles but wants to begin an opera career at age 50.
November 17, 1992 | KATHRYN BOLD
The romantic world of 18th-Century Vienna came to life Saturday when 600 guests in lavish ball gowns and tuxedos twirled beneath sparkling chandeliers at Opera Pacific's 10th Anniversary Opera Ball. Staged by the Opera Ball Guild, the "Strauss Waltz Gala" took place in the Grand Ballroom of the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim. The $200-per-person affair raised $250,000 for Opera Pacific, Orange County's resident opera company now in its seventh season.
February 28, 1988 | Randy Lewis
'Kismet' is '50s musical-theater equivalent of the B movie: flashy sets, titillating costumes and low-brow comedy. "What's in a name?" immortal poet, playwright and part-time gardener Billy Shakespeare pondered long ago. "That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Fair enough.
October 1, 1994 | Chris Pasles
Yes, there will be no elephants on stage when Opera Pacific presents Verdi's "Aida" beginning Saturday at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa. Or horses, or camels. "Just lots of people," Opera Pacific general director David DiChiera confirmed Wednesday. "Animals are being seen less and less on stage these days. We have found that animal-rights groups are very uncomfortable now with the use of animals on stage.
January 17, 1991 | MARTIN BERNHEIMER
Some things change. Some don't. Opera Pacific introduced an alternate pair of leading singers in its handsome, hand-me-down production of "Madama Butterfly" at the Orange County Performing Arts Center on Sunday afternoon. Expressive stress and interpretive detail shifted in the process, but the quality of the generally conservative production remained solid.
February 13, 1987 | ANN CONWAY
Led by a stomping Dixieland band, nearly 500 supporters of Opera Pacific spilled from the ballroom at the Westin South Coast Plaza on Wednesday night and marched to the Orange County Performing Arts Center to attend "Porgy and Bess," the first performance in the opera company's premiere season at the Center. But not before they enjoyed a gala that was Southern-fried right down to its Cajun martinis, Tabasco-hot cuisine and "Catfish Row" decor.
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