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Dennis Hanthorn, Ann Clark, Barbara Copanos, Justin Moss

Ann Clark, president of the Opera Society, was all smiles as she welcomed an enthusiastic and large turnout for the Fall Membership Luncheon. The event was held at Barbara Copanos’ Sea Ranch Lakes home, and was co-hosted by Helena Caplan, Joyce MacDonald and Maria Salgado and Dr. Fatos Mullen. Also on hand to welcome guests was Dennis Hanthorn, Development Officer with Florida Grand Opera and Justin Moss, Director of Broward Operations & Outreach. After socializing for about a half-hour and enjoying the piano stylings of Ann Rentoumis, everyone gathered for a program that included reports on the Florida Grand Opera Gala, planned for February 11, 2017, membership, programs for children and a treasurer’s report.

“This is a milestone year for Florida Grand Opera,” Ann enthused. “They will be celebrating their 75th Anniversary and the Opera Society has some special programs designed to make the 2016-2017 Season very special.” Ann was particularly pleased to introduce Anne Brantmeyer, Membership Chair who noted that she and her husband, Bob Brantmeyer and their Sun Dream Yacht Charters have been supporters of the Opera Society and FGO for more than two decades.

“I’m happy to report that we have 156 members, including 17 new members, including myself!” Anne stated. She then presented each of the new members that were in attendance with a lovely bookmark based on the Carmen theme. Those receiving the bookmarks were David Cunningham, Joan Friezo, Jacqueline Lorber, Lilian Mills, Sarit Orlin, Stella Siegel, Barbara Sterry and Jane Thau. Membership is $50.00.

Dennis Hanthorn then shared some exciting news about the Black-Tie Gala – A Grand Russian Ball – being planned for Saturday, February 11, 2017 to mark the 75th Anniversary of Florida Grand Opera.  “In the tradition of Grand Opera, the Gala evening will begin with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and an opulent dinner in the Mary N. Porter Riverview Ballroom,” Mr. Hanthorn said.  Following dinner, guests will enter the Broward Center’s Au Rene theater to enjoy Tchaikovsky’s most beloved Opera – Eugene Onegin. Following the performance, everyone will return to the Riverview Ballroom for dessert, dancing and greeting the international opera stars. Dr. Linda Balent and Barbara Copanos are Co-Chairing the Gala.

Justin Moss added a bit of history, stating the The Opera Guild, Inc. of Fort Lauderdale was founded in 1945 and was the precursor of the Opera Society. The Opera Guild’s first performance was a presentation of Verdi’s Il trovatore, which took place in the auditorium of Fort Lauderdale Central High School. Florida Grand Opera is America’s seventh-oldest opera company. The Opera Society is a support group for FGO.

Karen Mathieson, VP Ways & Means, spoke about special opera programs for children, which is part of the building blocks of the organization… taking opera to a new generation. Following Karen’s report, Barbara invited everyone to partake of the lavish buffet luncheon.

Enjoy the wonderful photos with our thanks to Kevin Lane.


Gloria Kline, Karen Mathieson, Ann Rentoumis


Stella Siegel, Barbara Lefka, Jo Anne Lewis, Karen Kuntz


Anne Brantmeyer, Barbara Sterry, Barry Rabinowitz, Jane Thau, Stella Siegel


Lilian Mills, David Cunningham, Jacqueline Lorber, Sarit Orlin


Joyce MacDonald, Fatos Mullen, Helena Caplan, Maria Salgado

Stella Siegel, Eric Koskoff

Stella Siegel and Eric Koskoff


Joyce MacDonald and Joyce Walker



Caprice 3 copy

Ft. Lauderdale’s Intracoastal Waterway was alive with the sound of music as the Florida Grand Opera’s Young Artists presented a spectacularly beautiful aria of songs aboard the Caprice on Sunday, April 10th.  The Luncheon Gala was sponsored by Sun Dream Yacht Charters to celebrate owner Bob Brantmeyer’s twenty-year tradition of supporting Florida Grand Opera.

We couldn’t have asked for a nicer day to cruise Ft. Lauderdale’s Intracoastal waterway aboard the Caprice. As guest nibbled on scrumptious appetizers and sipped mimosas they were treated to a superb performance by Florida Grand Opera’s Young Artists:

Edgar Miguel Abréu, Tenor

Eliza Bonet, Mezzo-soprano

Sarah Payne, Soprano

Nicholas J. Ward, Baritone

Maria Paulina Garcia, coach and accompanist

Mario Arévalo, Tenor

Zachary Elmassian, Bass-baritone

Brian James Myer, Baritone

Alex Soare, Bass-baritone


President Claire Crawford thanked Bob Brantmeyer, President of Sun Dream Yacht Charters, who said, “Sun Dream Yacht charters are an important business within our community and have supported Florida Grand Opera for 20 years because the opera is such an important part of the cultural life of this community.”  We thank Bob and his wife Ann for hosting and underwriting this spectacular event, which raised $8950 towards Florida Grand Opera in this their 75th Anniversary Season.

After the performance, guests enjoyed a delicious buffet lunch as we cruised the Intracoastal waterway, which has earned Fort Lauderdale its reputation as the “Venice of America.” Oh, what a view as we admired the grand homes along the waterfront on this most beautiful sunny day.

We would like to thank the Luncheon Gala Committee, co-chairs Isobel Sturgeon and Karen Mathieson, organizing committee Linda Balent, Barbara Parent, Ruth Molina, Claire Crawford, Eric Koskoff, and all our hosts and hostesses, as well as Justin Moss, Director of Broward Operations & Outreach, and the FGO Young Artists for making the day such as grand success. We thank our raffle donors: Weston Hills Country Club, Coral Ridge Yacht Club, and the Broward Performing Arts Foundation, Inc. for their support. To those who graciously provided additional support and underwrote the invitations, tip and valet, we thank Barbara Copanos, Linda and Alvan Balent, Isobel and Roger Sturgeon, Barry and Diane Hopkins, Mary and Richard Kazares, and Judith Doering. Most of all, bravo to Sun Dream Yacht Charters for hosting the luncheon Gala on the Caprice and for their twenty-year tradition of supporting Florida Grand Opera!

Enjoy the lovely photos taken by our own Betty Young!

Karen Mathieson, Event Co-Chair


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IMG_6084 The Lauderdale Yacht club was the venue for the first Lyrical Luncheon of the season held on Thursday, November 19th. Event chairperson, Barbara Parent, greeted fifty society members and friends. She called on society president, Claire Crawford, who discussed upcoming events and introduced new members PJ Carswell and Sandra and Vincent Patalano.

Barbara then introduced guest speaker Justin Moss, Director of Broward Operations and Outreach for Florida Grand Opera. Justin, with help from the Florida Grand Opera Young Artists, presented an entertaining program entitled “Closing the Gap: Opera Inspired Musical Theater.” Justin gave examples of some musicals that have their roots in opera. The Young Artists sang selections from Porgy and Bess, Guys and Dolls, Carousel, and West Side Story.

Performing Young Artists were Eliza Bonet, mezzo-soprano; Laura Martinez Leon, soprano; Sara Payne, soprano; Mario Arevalo, tenor; Alex Soare, bass-baritone; Nicolas Ward, baritone with Sergio Puig, pianist.

The next Lyrical Luncheon will be held at 11:30 A.M. on Wednesday, January 27, 2016, at the Coral Ridge Yacht Club chaired by Linda Balent.

Thank you to Betty Young for the wonderful photographs.

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It was a lovely spring day on Thursday, May 7th for the Opera Society’s Spring Luncheon and Installation of Officers for 2015-2016. As guests gathered in the Lounge of the Bistro Mezzaluna, Ann Rentoumis graciously entertained us on the piano as we sipped our champagne. After socializing for a while we headed upstairs to the Lighthouse room for the membership meeting and luncheon.

As the guests’ lunch menu preferences were being taken, a brief business meeting was conducted. Karen Mathieson, welcomed guests and acknowledged our special guests, Susan Danis, General Director and CEO, Florida Grand Opera, and Justin Moss, FGO’s Director of Broward Operations & Outreach. Our two new members in attendance, Dr. Jacqueline Hayward and Mr. Jeffrey Blum were introduced and presented with a welcoming rose. President Eric Koskoff then presented gifts of acknowledgement to the Opera Society 2014-2015 Officers.

Justin Moss conducted the swearing in ceremony to install the new Officers and presented the ladies with a lovely rose and for the gentlemen, a tasty chocolate rose. The new slate of Officers for 2015-2016 is:

President:                                Dr. Claire Crawford

V.P. Ways & Means:             Karen Mathieson

V.P. Membership:                 Eric Koskoff

V.P. Public Relations:           Betty Young

Corresponding Secretary:   Dr. Linda Balent

Recording Secretary:             Ruth Molina (not in attendance)

Treasurer:                                  Gary Loft: (not in attendance)

We were then honored to have Susan Danis, General Director & CEO present an overview of Florida Grand Opera’s 2015-2016 Season.

Bistro Mezzaluna served a lovely lunch consisting of a choice of three entrees: wedge salad with grilled chicken, grilled salmon, or Rigatoni Bolognese. Desert was key lime pie. It was a delightful event everyone enjoyed. Special thanks to Isobel Sturgeon for the lovely table decorations, to our gifted pianist Ann Rentoumis, and to our photographer Betty Young for the wonderful pictures.

Karen Mathieson



The Opera Society Goes To Boca!

by Eric on April 16, 2015


An evening of Singing and Socializing at Renzo’s of Boca Raton made our Member Mixer a Great Success!

On April 14th, Opera Society members and friends were joined by a number of new faces at this charming and delightful restaurant recently featured on Miichele Bernstein’s “Check Please!”  Renzo’s proprietor,  Beatrice Sciortino, was a wonderful hostess and treated us to her special Italian appetizers.  Peter, the piano player, entertained the group with a selections from Broadway, classical and popular music. However, everyone will agree that the show-stopper was the superb singing of the chef, Giuseppi. He regaled us with well-chosen Opera favorites as well as some great Italian standards. The gang even chimed in and joined in a sing-along!

The evening gave everyone a chance to relax, unwind, and make some new friends with many common interests. It also gave some subscribers living in Boca an opportunity to find out more about Opera Society activities and events. This  important outreach to Palm Beach County area by The Opera Society will definitely be repeated.

A special thank you goes to Ted Belloise for arranging the wonderful evening.

Enjoy the photos taken by our Vice-President for Publicity, Betty Young!


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Almost 130 people attended the very elegant and enjoyable event “Arias at Sea” aboard Holland America’s ms Westerdam at Port Everglades on Saturday, March 21st. Guests were treated to the beautiful performances of eleven of Florida Grand Opera’s Young Artists while sipping champagne and mimosas in the beautiful ship’s show room. Justin Moss, in his inimitable style, provided the introductions for each of the singers and their selections.

Following the performances, a superb luncheon was served by the ship’s staff. The food and service were absolutely first class. A brief business meeting was held for the election of officers.  The elected candidates were congratulated by all. Next came the raffle drawing.  The raffle prizes, two Florida Grand Opera subscriptions for next season and a cruise certificate from Holland America Lines for up to seven days for two people aboard any Holland America ship to Alaska, the Caribbean, Mexico or Canada/New England delighted the winners!

Comments from all the guests were uniformly enthusiastic and The Opera Society looks forward to repeating this wonderful event next year.

This event was very successful in raising funds for Florida Grand Opera thanks to the generosity of Holland America Lines with their much appreciated community outreach, support and the donation of the cruise certificate; to Coldwell Banker Cares Foundation for their generous donation towards the event and to the dedication and hard work of many of The Opera Society’s board members.

Betty Young provided all the great photos.


St. Patrick’s Day – Erin Go Bragh!

by Eric on March 25, 2015

Louise and Terry “O’Moore” were delightful hosts at their lovely home as part of The Opera Society’s Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner series. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres were followed by a wonderful menu of traditional dishes including corned beef and cabbage, parsley potatoes, glazed carrots, red and white wines, key lime pie, Irish Mist and coffee.

To make the evening really special the guests were treated to the beautiful singing of Louise and Terry performing well-known Irish songs.

Thank you to Lesleen Bolt for the great pictures!


The Ladies Who Lunch

by Linda on March 11, 2015

On Thursday, February 19, twenty nine ladies of The Opera Society gathered at Umberto’s of Long Island for a delicious Italian lunch. Part of the Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner series, this event is anticipated by many members. Each year we enjoy different cuisines in different venues.

This year we decorated the single long table with Sunflowers and enjoyed a sumptuous salad served family style and red wine also served family style. The guests had a choice of Mussels Marinara, Chicken Marsala or Stuffed Shells. Dessert was spumoni and a very large cup of coffee! Everyone had a wonderful time and enjoyed their authentically Italian meal. Join us next year in a new venue!! Enjoy the photos taken by our own Betty Young!!


Wonderful Holiday Party with the Young Artists

by Eric on December 24, 2014


On Dec. 20, 2014 at 7:30 PM, Larry and Ruth Molina hosted 65 members and friends of the Opera Society at a Holiday Party in their home in Plantation Acres.

It was gratifying to see not just the regular members, but friends of the Museum of Art and the Friends of the Uffizi Gallery and the Molina’s personal friends get together and enjoy an evening of drinks, dinner and music.

The evening began with champagne and appetizers indoor, and from there we moved out doors to the patio, which was festively decorated in honor of the season. The lovely pool area was large enough to accommodate the large group, and the weather was extremely cooperative.

Everyone was hungry and tackled the buffet feast, which included London broil, lasagna, penne a la vodka, asparagus oreganato, salad, and chicken francaise. Everyone repaired to the patio deck and had some wine and awaited the performance.

The FGO Young Artists, Will Hughes – bass-baritone, Rebecca Henriques – soprano and Marina Paulina Garcia – accompaniest, provided us with a program full of Holiday Songs, Cuban ballads, and excerpts from the Opera. Everyone joined in and tried their hand at singing holiday songs. It was wonderful!

Then on to dessert and more conversation and music, and we still manage to collect some greatly needed funds for the Opera. All in all, we have established a great December tradition that we hope will continue for years to come.

All the delightful photos are courtesy of our Vice-President for Publicity, Betty Young.



The Opera Society celebrated its first Lyrical Luncheon on November 20, 2014 at the Coral Ridge Yacht Club attended by almost 50 guests. Chair Barbara Parent welcomed the members and guests. Co-Presidents Ruth Molina and Eric Koskoff spoke about up-coming events including the January 29, 2015 Lyrical Luncheon, which will be held at the Coral Ridge Country Club and the March 21, 2015 Lyrical Luncheon, which will be held onboard the Holland America ms Westerdam cruise ship with a 45 minute performance by our Young Artists. Also planned for March 6-7 is the Sarasota Opera Trip. For more information contact Ruth Molina.

Other events coming up: December – April are the Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner series. Chairpersons Claire Crawford and Caroline Seabright had the sign up sheets available for the members.

New member, Barry Rabinowitz, was welcomed.

Justin Moss then gave his presentation “The Lower Voices You Can’t Do Without Them”. Young Artists Raehann Bryce-Davis, Mezzo Soprano, and Isaac Bray, Baritone, sang several beautiful arias to illustrate the variety of roles these voices sing from hero (or heroine) to villain (or villainess). The piano accompanist, Maria Paulina Garcia, performed beautifully. The guests thoroughly enjoyed the performance and luncheon!

Enjoy the delightful photos courtesy of Betty Young!