PINELLAS COUNTY - Madeline Crotty is wearing a number of hats these days. Some days she is busy working on the monthly newsletter she turns out as publications chairperson of the Pinellas Opera League. Other days you will find her heading up meetings of the group's financial ways and means committee. She has recently also taken on the project of coordinating a fundraiser to be held in conjunction with the "Opera With A French Flair" luncheon at Dunedin Country Club on November 1. The event, which will feature French cuisine and French operas, will also include a "boutique shop", Crotty advised last week, noting that she has already starting collecting items for the sale. Long white scarfs imprinted with gold music notes or black and white piano bar designs will be among the offerings. There will also be decorative home and holiday items in addition to a wide variety of costume jewelry. Crotty is currently seeking volunteers from the league to help price the items, set up displays and collect the money that day. Proceeds from the fundraiser will support educational programs for the public.
Another Opera League member, Dr. Michael L. Blauner, volunteers his time giving hour-long talks at the Clearwater Main Library. His free presentations featuring film clips of operas and related commentary are scheduled at noon to give the working people the opportunity to explore opera, its history and legends during their lunch hour. Blauner invites you to brown-bag your lunch or bring in lunch from the Bookworm Cafe across the hall. Works of the following composers will be featured: Rossini (Sept. 19 and Oct. 17), Puccini (Sept. 26), Donizetti (Oct. 3), Bellini (Oct. 10), Giordano (Oct. 24), Moore (Oct. 31), Verdi (Nov. 7) and Bizet (Nov. 14). Blauner promises a special Halloween surprise featuring his wife Betty Jo at the end of "The Ballad of Baby Doe" on October 31. He also has a video surprise in store for those attending the November 14 program which showcases the opera, "Carmen".
Crotty and Blauner will also join Middy Larson, asst. education chair, and Bill Weiss, program chair, as speakers for the Afternoon Opera Lectures which the Pinellas Opera League is presenting at Ruth Eckerd Hall starting in October. Mary Jo Bell, education chair, is in charge of the series which runs through April. Bell also heads up the program to introduce opera to children in Pinellas schools.
Other projects to promote a greater interest in opera include "Opera at Pinewood", a series of videos shown on the third Sunday of each month, September through December, at the Gulf Coast Museum of Art, 12211 Walsingham Rd., Largo, and the "Opera for a Sunday Afternoon" programs which are scheduled the second Sunday of the month at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art in St. Petersburg.
The next get-together of the Pinellas Opera League will take place at Dunedin Country Club on October 4. New members are always welcome. For reservations, you may call 787-1597. For general information on the organization and its programs, call 784-9512.
Officers for 2006 are George Laurent, president; Kay Slade, vice president; Beverly Hand, secretary; and Alyse Siegist, treasurer.
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