Why I Give: Murray Aronson

Murray Aronson has been donating to LA Opera since the 1990s. In fact, one of his favorite LA Opera memories is seeing Plácido Domingo in Stiffelio in 1996. His life-long love for opera began long before that, in his New Jersey high school’s auditorium at an educational production of Così fan tutte. Although the singers were only accompanied by a pianist, Mr. Aronson was mesmerized. “I remember the colored lights on the stage with Mozart’s eternally beautiful music,” he recalled.  “This gave me a vision of a world that can be wonderful. I was 14 years old, and that did it for me.”

Elena Prokina as Lina and Plácido Domingo as the title character in Stiffelio (1996); Photo: Ken Howard

Elena Prokina as Lina and Plácido Domingo as the title character in Stiffelio (1996); Photo: Ken Howard

Mr. Aronson has now seen close to 400 opera performances over the course of his lifetime. However, there are still a few operas he hasn’t seen performed live, like Phillip Glass’ Akhnaten, which will be performed in LA Opera’s 2016/17 season.  “When the LA Opera puts on a new work, or one that is relatively rare like Norma, that gets me hook, line and sinker.”

As a longtime volunteer Community Educator through the Opera League of Los Angeles, Mr. Aronson continues the tradition of opera education at schools and senior centers.  In addition to his volunteer work and philanthropic giving, he often brings friends and family members to LA Opera, believing that “if I can get at least one person interested in opera, I’ve done my job.”

Having recently retired from a long career with the Los Angeles Housing Authority, Mr. Aronson spends time hiking in national parks when he is not volunteering or attending performances at LA Opera.

Murray Aronson believes strongly in philanthropic giving, and has even inspired others to donate to LA Opera. “My name gets mentioned on the program or the website, and people have told me, ‘I saw your name, and if you can do it, I can do it too.’” He often reminds friends that every gift is significant, no matter the size, telling them that “If you give enough 100-dollar gifts, it adds up to a million.”

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