Tax accountant Brian Wong first discovered opera back in 2008, while he was looking for a way to relieve the stresses of work and life. A Los Angeles native, Brian recalled an elementary school trip to see Hansel and Gretel at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
An interest in opera stayed with him, and he began noticing familiar arias in movies and on television. “To me, the most famous aria was ‘O mio babbino caro,’ which I discovered to be from Puccini’s Il Trittico, an opera I’d never heard of and knew absolutely nothing about,” said Mr. Wong.
“Coincidentally, Il Trittico was playing in 2008 at LA Opera, and I had an opportunity to attend my first opera as an adult. Seeing that aria performed live was a real treat, but most memorable that night was hearing Sondra Radvanovsky beautifully perform the role of Suor Angelica, the middle one-act opera of Il Trittico. That memory of her singing still stays with me today and I’ve been regularly attending opera ever since. Opera to most fans is a very personal experience that is good for the soul,” he explained.
As a native Angeleno, Mr. Wong feels pride in LA Opera. He says, “The company is a little unconventional compared to other opera houses I’ve attended. Unconventional, to me, means having productions that can appeal to a more modern and younger audience with visually stunning sets as well as having top notch performers. This is absolutely necessary to grow the fan base and continue on.”
Mr. Wong also appreciates LA Opera’s Education and Community Engagement programs. “I love seeing junior and high school students at dress rehearsals. At the recent open house, young artists performed while children watched enthralled. Also, it’s nice seeing examples of performers, such as soprano Ana María Martínez, visiting local schools to teach students about opera. As a member of my Rotary Club we are often seeking opportunities to help the local community so this is in line with my priorities.”
As a member of the Friends of LA Opera program, he enjoys the perks he receives, especially being able to “invite friends to dress rehearsals, friends who have become opera fans themselves”.
“Also, I enjoy seeing the progress of the young artists, when they perform at member events. It’s great watching them grow and become future stars. That is why I donate, to help see LA Opera succeed in the near future and beyond.”
LA Opera is grateful to Brian Wong for his generous contributions to the company. To learn more about how you can become a member and support the future of opera in Los Angeles, click here.LA Opera is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the greater good.