While many desert residents are heading to Europe for the summer, actress Francesca Brown flew to Rancho Mirage from London to attend the pre- premiere party for Legacy in which she appears. She was among the many cast members here for the film’s world premiere at the Camelot Theatre in Palm Springs. The party hosted by Kim and Dan Horn at their gorgeous Thunderbird Heights home, was quite a wing ding. The Horns are caring hosts and director Stephen Savage was in his glory surrounded by the celebs from his naughty suspense thriller, Legacy, all young and beautiful with standout credits (and bodies). They include Wolfgang Bodison (A Few Good Men, Akeelah and The Bee, CSI). Conor O’Farrell ( The Pacific, Stir of Echoes, Flash of Genius), Will Wallace, (I Am Sam, Thin Red Line, The New World,) and daytime drama’s Kyrie Maezumi (Passions.)
Savage wore a big grin visible despite the cowboy hat that shaded his head. And why not? The cowboy hat is a terrific promo for Savage’s next film scheduled to shoot in La Quinta, Rancho Mirage, Palm Springs and Indio starring Tommy Lee Jones. The title: Country Club Cowboy. Don’t you love it? And if you attend a film premiere – even for a motion picture that was shot in 12 days – (proof of Savage’s wizardry) - if you are in the desert, you can bet the event will be presented in style. Thanks to Sharon and Gary Cardiff we had an entire Cardiff bus to transport us to the theatre. Ah, the fun as we sipped champagne during the luxurious bus ride from Rancho Mirage to Palm Springs and back. Bet the future premiers in London, Monte Carlo and San Francisco won’t be as much fun.
From intrigue and a twist movie ending to Grand Opera - it’s all here where every kind of entertainment awaits us. One of opera’s most magnificent and memorable performances was given by Renee Fleming during the HD Live Encore performance of Rossini’s Armida straight from the Metropolitan Opera House in New York to the Century Theatre at The River in Rancho Mirage. Opera buffs who promote and support opera through such local organizations as Opera Showcase and Opera Guild of the Desert were present for this repeat performance. Fleming has one of opera’s most exquisite voices but she is also one of opera’s finest actresses. And if you doubt that opera is akin to theatre, I suggest you see opera more often and don’t miss the Metropolitan live HD performances – opera at its best. Other live encore productions for opera buffs to remember during the summer months are Aida, June 16; Romeo et Juliette, June 23; Eugene Onegin, July 7; La Boheme, July 14; Turandot, July 21; and Carmen, July 28.
More on opera - Michelle de Young is winding her performances in Wagner’s Ring Cycle at Los Angeles Opera. But during rehearsals she found time to return to the desert where her career was given an early boost 19 years ago. That is when she performed in the Palm Springs Art Museum’s Annenberg Theater as a Metropolitan Opera Western Region finalist. She won the finals and the rest is history as she has performed at opera houses all over the world as well as on Grammy winning classical recordings. She returned here to sing and be interviewed on my television show all as a thank you to Opera Showcase members who annually support Metropolitan Opera Western Region finalists…. And on the subject of the Annenberg Theatre, Petula Clark opens the Performing Arts season at the Annenberg Theater with a benefit concert on Nov. 6.
Kudos to Justin Blake for bringing his California Desert Regional Theatre into Palm Springs Unified School District’s high schools with two scenes from Romeo & Juliet. Yes, our students are learning about the Bard the way they should – Shakespeare is meant to be performed (and viewed), not just read.
Tell me it isn’t so… Some officials at LA Music Center want to pull down the gorgeous chandeliers in the Chandler Pavilion. I learned that tidbit when I attended the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s International Committee’s annual formal dinner. Each year a different country is honored. This year it was Mexico with food and entertainment following a Mexican theme. Consul Generals from countries throughout the world attended. Enrique E. Loedel, Consul General of Uruguay and his wife were seated at our table with International Committee Board member Charlotte Mennillo and Bruce Ostrander both from Palm Springs. Consul General Loedel has only been in Los Angeles for one year but he adores living in Southern California and is anxious to visit Palm Springs. In fact he is hopeful that Uruguay will be represented in next year’s Palm Springs International Film Festival. “We have several films that have done very well at other film festivals and really want to see it included in Palm Springs,” he told me. I love the way the world knows about us and our annual film festival.
There’s good and bad news about Friends of the Philharmonic. The good news is that the Vienna Philharmonic will perform next spring at the McCallum Theatre as part of the Philharmonic series, a real coup for music lovers. The bad news is that there are so many Philharmonic subscribers that the concert is totally sold out. But even if you cannot attend, we all owe a big thank you to Ann Heavey, who divides her time between homes in Palm Springs and her schloss in Steyr, Austria for helping to lure the Vienna Philharmonic to Palm Desert.