During a dinner break between rehearsals of L.A. Opera’s Romeo and Juliet in 2005—in a rehearsal room at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion because the cast was in wigs and makeup and not allowed to venture outside—star soprano Anna Netrebko asked Opera Chorus tenor George Sterne to join her. “When she invited me to sit next to her, that thrilled me,” Sterne says with a grin. “I think she’d kind of gotten to like me, from talking to me.”
Sterne is a happily married man, to Los Angeles Master Chorale alto Nicole Baker, so the invitation was innocent. But the shared meal remains a fond memory, one of many that Sterne has amassed as a veteran of more than 100 L.A. Opera productions. “I’ve been in 143 productions,” he specifies. “I keep a list. I’m a little OCD about that.”
Sterne is one of 13 current L.A. Opera Chorus members who have topped the 100-performance mark.
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Libby Slate is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.