In September, Keith Walker brought his colleagues to see Gianni Schicchi. He wanted to share his love of opera with his fellow estate planning lawyers. The irony of taking a band of estate planning lawyers to see a Gianni Schicchi was not lost on him. The entire opera revolves around a family scheming to alter the will of their patriarch, Buoso Donati, so they can get his fortune. Estate planning, anyone?
Gianni Schicchi is just one of a long line of productions that Walker has attended at LA Opera (having been in the audience for the inaugural season in 1986). Walker’s first exposure to opera was through his mother, who often played recordings by some of her favorite singers. He first attended an opera when a local company staged Carmen in Ontario in 1977. After that he was hooked, and he has attended performances on four continents.
In 1987, Walker was an undefeated champion on Jeopardy! In the interview portion of one of his appearances, Alex Trebek asked Walker about his favorite opera, and he specifically mentioned Gianni Schicchi, because of the relevance of the plot to his work. Interestingly enough, it was as a result of one of his Jeopardy! appearances that Walker became reacquainted with his now wife, Jimi. They had worked together in the early 1970s and they met up again after she saw him on a rerun of the show. Of this Walker say, “I tell people I won $40,000 and a family.” Walker introduced his wife, Jimi, to opera with a Rigoletto in Seattle in 1988. Since then, they have been frequent LA Opera patrons, counting among their favorite productions Orpheus in the Underworld, La Fanciulla del West and Grendel.
Mr. Walker looks forward to seeing more operas this season and perhaps bringing his grand children along to continue spreading the opera love.
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