We were in a great mood to celebrate and to grasp a cold glass of — anything.

Our hands had been heated from the applause for Renee Fleming and the entire company of Verdi’s "La Traviata." It was L.A. Opera’s 20th anni launching presentation and part of the 20th season’s opening weekend celebration. (Sunday was Verdi’s "Don Carlo.")

The Opening Night Gala in the Music Center Plaza was under a full moon which accented the glamour of the ladies in their finest for the special occasion.

"Opera is an important part of our culture — unfortunately it is an expensive part of our culture," announced Marc L. Stern, Chairman and CEO of L.A. Opera. But he was happy to note that the Company has ended its fourth season in the black. He credited it to the Opera’s General Director Placido Domingo.

A sign pointing to another potentially financially successful season is an upcoming DVD of this presentation of "La Traviata" directed by Placido’s wife Marta Domingo and starring the amazing Fleming.

Placido told me all three performances are being filmed for the DVD. Placido, in his greetings to the partygoers, thanked the company members who made "La Traviata" a smashing success. They were on stage for continued curtain calls.

In his tribute and praise to Fleming, Placido said the role of Violetta should require two singers, not just the one, extraordinary range and dramatic ability of Fleming.  He, of course, also thanked the financial contributors who have made the lavish productions of the company possible.

It is a doubly busy week for Placido: Friday, Sept. 15, he  stars in the inaugural concert with the Pacific Symphony, in the world premiere of William Bolcom’s "Canciones de Lorca" with lyrics by Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca in the  Cesar Pelli-designed Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall at the Orange County Performing Arts Center gala opening.  This evening is underwritten by Cartier.

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