For many, it was the first group gathering since COVID-19 changed the face of the Earth. On June 26, 2021, the gardens of the Estancia Hotel were resplendent with greenery and couture as opera lovers and civic leaders gathered for San Diego Opera’s Midsummer Gala honoring Stacy Kellner Rosenberg for her volunteerism and charitable contributions to the community.
The evening began with a cocktail hour that was extended as vaccinated guests saw friends and colleagues in person for the first time in months; laughter and animated conversation continued well into the evening before guests took their seats for an al fresco dinner.
Mayor Todd Gloria, Representative Scott Peters and Supervisor Nathan Fletcher all presented the evening’s honoree with proclamations and accolades, declaring June 26th “Stacy Kellner Rosenberg Day”. Since moving to San Diego in 2008, Ms. Rosenberg has made a notable impact as a volunteer and Board member of organizations including San Diego Opera, inewsource, the San Diego regional American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and Congregation Beth El in La Jolla, and she recently joined the Scripps Research Institute’s Board of Overseers.
In between courses, opera singers Tasha Koontz and Andres Acosta serenaded guests with love songs and duets from the opera Roméo et Juliette, part of the Company’s 2021-2022 season. In welcoming guests, General Director David Bennett noted that the event’s timing at the summer solstice, traditionally called “midsummer,” aptly symbolized San Diego Opera’s rebirth after a challenging year in which the company kept opera alive in San Diego through a series of innovative drive-in performances. Chair of the Board of Directors, Sarah B. Marsh-Rebelo, commended the company’s perseverance and creativity and singled out Ms. Rosenberg’s dedication as a member of the Board and Chair of the Finance Committee. Both shared glimpses of the Company’s bright future.
Generous attendees participated in a paddle raise in support of the Opera’s operations. The paddle raise was bookended by a special performance from soprano Michelle Bradley, star of 2019’s production of Aida and a returning singer in the Company 2021-2022 season. Michelle performed a varied program of arias and art songs from composers such as Strauss, Wagner, Charpentier and a crowd-pleasing rendition of “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” which closed out the evening to an enthusiastic standing ovation.
Opera devotees who were not yet comfortable with public gatherings had the option to participate in the evening virtually, or from their private hotel rooms circling the courtyard, a testament to the opera’s nimble adaptation in these unique times, and the Company’s dedication for inclusivity for all.