Lyrical music fills the air at Opera on the River

VERO BEACH — Palacio del Rio was filled with delightful music Tuesday evening, as Kurt and Marilyn Wallach opened up their lovely Saint Andrews Island home to another exceptional Opera on the River fundraiser, this year to benefit the Vero Beach Theatre Guild.

Dressed for a night at the opera, guests in gorgeous gowns and spiffy tuxedos wandered throughout the expansive home, sipping on wine and champagne, and nibbling on passed hors d’oeuvres. It was unquestionably a great night for music and theatre lovers.

In the living room and two-story balconied lobby, opera lovers were enjoying performances by mezzo-soprano Janet Rabe-Meyer and acclaimed soprano Karen Adair, accompanied by Ryan A. Kasten, Associate Director of Music Ministry at the Community Church of Vero Beach.  The duo enthralled the audience with favorites from Carmen, Cosi fan tutte, Madama Butterfly, La Gioconda, Candide, Carmen, The Enchantress, Lakme, Samson et Dalila and Turandot.

And, despite a brisk nip in the night air, other hearty guests were entertained outdoors at the riverfront pavilion by Dragonfly Productions cast members Edmund Nalzaro, Vallery Thaw, Jennifer Levins and Sean Levins, singing selections from some of the world’s best-loved musicals along with other popular songs.

“This is the largest one we’ve ever had; I think they sold more than 140 tickets,” said Marilyn Wallach, giving credit for the increase in guests to Guild volunteers.  “It’s because they’ve really worked hard on it.  They’ve done almost everything; sold the tickets, took the reservations, arranged for the entertainment – it’s been wonderful.  In the past we did it all.”

Wallach added how captivated they had been with recent Theatre Guild productions. “We saw Fiddler on the Roof and were truly impressed; what a fabulous production it was.  We’re looking forward to Annie.”

Both the guests and the musicians appeared to enjoy the intimate setting, mingling and visiting with one another during the brief intermissions.

“It’s a wonderful turnout; we had a great response,” said Sara Dessureau, Vero Beach Theatre Guild President, acknowledging her hard working committee which included Pat Kroger, Martha Kelly and Anne Talbot, and the event’s main sponsor, Marine Bank and Trust.

“This is a great fundraiser for us.  We’re looking to build a permanent structure outside where we currently set up a tent.  People like to mill around and this will enlarge the lobby area.  It’s probably going to take two years to raise enough money; this is a great start.  The money will be earmarked and put away for the construction.”

Upcoming productions at the Vero Beach Theatre Guild, this year celebrating 53 years of community theatre, include the beloved musical Annie, scheduled for March 10 to 27, and the comedy Leading Ladies, scheduled for May 12 to 22. {igallery 338}

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