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But what about those who would dismiss opera as stuffy and boring, endorsements like Rufus Wainwright’s notwithstanding? DiLorenzi insists that impression, in line with so much of the League’s mission, is a matter of education. “There is a misconception about opera,” he says. “Opera combines music, drama, staging and scenery. What has become very significant lately is the improvement in drama. If you watch an opera today, you’ll see performers who are very talented actors as well as very talented singers. That brings in another dimension that wasn’t necessarily emphasized in the past, when the focus was maybe on the singing and music, and acting was secondary. That’s not the case today.”
Why go through the nerve-racking exercise of letting gallery decorators, and then hundreds of strangers, into your home for a few days? DiLorenzi has seen Art and Architecture from both sides; his experience with the organization began when he and his wife volunteered their home as a gallery on the Tour.
“Of course, we were concerned about having all those people coming through our house,” he recalls. “But we did want to show our home, we were very proud of our home. And our concerns disappeared almost immediately. We found people were very respectful. We met a lot of people who we subsequently got to know better. It was very positive.”
In the five years since the Home Tour and the Opera League teamed up, the event has raised $75,000 to stage its salons – also open to non-members – and finance its educational programs. Last year, three NAU students in the advanced program received $1,000 scholarships.
“This year, we launched one salon to give the scholarship students we have supported the opportunity to perform,” DiLorenzi reports. “In February, we had a salon that featured three of our scholarship students performing in an afternoon tea setting in a private home. The students need the experience of performing before an audience, and the guests that attended really enjoyed it – the students were phenomenal.”
But the League wants to do more. “We would like to engage some of the businesses here in Sedona and in Flagstaff directly in co-sponsoring our scholarships. We’d like not so much to increase the number of scholarships, but the amount per scholarship. Substantial opera training is very expensive. We think, with support from selected businesses – and it would not even take a lot of them – where we could offer a joint scholarship, we can increase the level of what we can give.”
That would be a nice encore, but now, all it takes to help is spending time looking at nice art in beautiful homes. Who wouldn’t say, Bravo!?
The Northern Arizona Opera League’s Art and Architecture Tour takes place on May 21 and May 22. For information on purchasing tickets, call 928-204-6401 or 928-282-4740, or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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