Why I Give: Richard Cook

Richard Cook

Richard Cook

Richard Cook moved to Southern California from the East Coast in 2003, and began attending LA Opera soon after. “It was the first time I could attend opera without significant travel time. I became a donor very quickly.”

After retiring from a successful career in manufacturing operations and management, Mr. Cook pursued his passions for environmental protection, archeology, and opera. Hailing from a musical family, he had first asked his mother to take him to the opera at 9 years old. “She was delighted,” he recalls. “I turn 87 this year, so that’s a long time seeing opera.”

During the course of his nearly 80 years of opera fandom, Mr. Cook has attended opera productions throughout the US and Europe. He even attended an opera performed at the foot of the Great Pyramids. However, he claims that some of the most memorable operas he has ever experienced have been at LA Opera.

“Woody Allen’s Gianni Schicchi was delightful. It was a very interesting update, and I really enjoyed his humor.”  A longtime Woody Allen fan, Mr. Cook was having a glass of wine at a local downtown bar before attending a matinee performance of Schicchi in 2008. As luck would have it, Woody Allen was at the same bar.

Another of Mr. Cook’s highlights was LA Opera’s “Recovered Voices,” a series that brought attention to the music of composers suppressed by the Nazi regime. Since he finds archaeological discoveries thrilling, Mr. Cook likened the experience of hearing this long neglected music to a dig: “It’s as though a room was discovered that hadn’t been opened for hundreds of years, and it was filled with beautiful music.”

When not working on his upcoming book or painting for exhibitions, Mr. Cook enjoys attending LA Opera with his wife Sally.  “I always support LA Opera. I donate to LA Opera because I thoroughly enjoy the productions, and I’m very pleased with the company—Plácido Domingo and James Conlon are my two all-time heroes. It is a wonderful cause to support.”

Mr. Cook continued, “A strong opera company is a must for a big city like Los Angeles, especially since it’s known for arts and entertainment. LA Opera adds to the prestige of the city and enriches the community greatly.”

As a non-profit arts organization, LA Opera relies on the generous support of members and patrons to stage world-class opera and provide opera experiences to our community, whether in our home at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, at our Off Grand venues or throughout the city.

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