Why I Give: Donald Bentley

The Broken Jug (2007); Photo: Robert Millard

The Broken Jug (2007); Photo: Robert Millard

Despite never having attended a live opera production, Donald Bentley purchased an LA Opera subscription for his wife Penny as an anniversary present in the late 1980s. In 1989, the Bentleys attended an LA Opera performance of Tosca. At this particular performance, the lead tenor was unable to perform, and Plácido Domingo stepped from the conductor’s podium onto the stage to sing the role of Cavaradossi.

“Plácido’s performance really hooked us, and we’ve been subscribers ever since,” explained Mr. Bentley. The Bentleys also support LA Opera by making tax-deductible charitable donations.

“It’s important for the city of Los Angeles to have a world class performing arts organization like LA Opera,” said Mr. Bentley.  “We tend to support organizations that have a good record.”

Music has always been an important part of Mr. Bentley’s life— in fact, he learned to read music before he learned to read words, singing in his church choir as a child. As Professor Emeritus at Pomona College and a Congregational Church minister, Mr. Bentley enjoys exploring the connections between music, math and faith.

In 2008, Mr. Bentley attended a double bill of Viktor Ullmann’s The Broken Jug and Alexander Zemlinsky’s The Dwarf. These two operas (part of LA Opera’s “Recovered Voices” series that brought attention to the music of composers suppressed by the Nazi regime) inspired Mr. Bentley to write a sermon. He recalls, “I left the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion feeling like I had just attended one of the most meaningful, most spiritually challenging experiences of my life.”

By supporting LA Opera, Mr. Bentley hopes to provide audiences with similarly inspiring experiences.
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