Finding Love at the Opera

One of Anthony and Marta Richardson's engagement photos, taken outside of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

One of Anthony and Marta Richardson’s engagement photos, taken outside of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

When Anthony and Marta Richardson each bought tickets to a performance of LA Opera’s Simon Boccanegra in 2012, they had no idea they would end up finding love at the opera.

Before they ever met, Anthony and Marta were both frequent opera-goers. Marta, a teacher at the time (she’s now an elementary school principal at Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District), saw her first performance at LA Opera in 1997 and had since invited representatives of the Music Center and the LA Opera to speak to her students about opera and music. Anthony – an actor/singer turned financial consultant – had also attended shows at LA Opera since the late 1990s, even volunteering with the Opera League of Los Angeles. His assignment – shuffling artists from LAX to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

In March 2012, Anthony had tickets to see Simon Boccanegra.

“I had never seen Plácido Domingo perform before and was very excited,” says Anthony.

When his friend canceled, Anthony decided to have dinner at Nick & Stef’s Steakhouse, thinking he might meet someone to whom he could give his extra ticket.

“When I got to the steakhouse, I spotted Marta and her friend at the bar and strategically sat next to them,” recalls Anthony. Marta replies jokingly, “That’s how men operate.”

Anthony struck up a conversation with Marta and her friend, Jody, learning that they were also going to see Simon Boccanegra and sitting in the balcony. Determined to spend more time with Marta, Anthony offered her his extra ticket in the orchestra. At first, Marta declined.

As it turns out, Marta was in the middle of a break-up. She had separated from her boyfriend, who planned to move out of the home they shared the morning after the opera. Anthony asked Marta, “Why would you go to the opera with your ex?” To which, she responded, “We purchased tickets! I didn’t want to miss the show.”

When Marta’s ex-boyfriend arrived, the two went off leaving Anthony and Jody alone. Anthony wondered whether Marta would return and sit with him instead.

A few minutes later, Marta did just that. She walked back to the bar and promptly announced, “Anthony, I’m going to sit with you.”

Anthony offered Marta his arm and the two strolled to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion together, leaving Marta’s ex-boyfriend behind (who ended up sitting with Jody). Jody remains a dear friend of the Richardson’s and saw them recently after they happily attended another LA Opera event in Downtown LA.

Recalling that first time at the opera together, Marta says, “We sat through several acts of Simon Boccanegra and got to know each other during intermission…and the rest is history.”

A little over a year later, Anthony proposed to Marta in front of LA Opera. They took their engagement photos outside of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion before marrying in 2014, proving that sometimes love is just a night at the opera away.

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One Response to Finding Love at the Opera

  1. Lisa Hirsch says:

    This is a thoroughly charming story, especially since Simon Boccanegra is among my favorite operas. I saw Placido Domingo in the title role as well, in 2010 at the Met.
    Many happy returns to Anthony and Marta!

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