Barbara Hendel: Good music, good food and good fun

Published Sunday, January 19, 2020

A FANTASTIC evening of bubbly, food, and music was Bon Appetit! presented by the Toledo Opera at The Registry. The comedic musical monologue by Lee Hoiby about Julia Child baking a Le Gâteau au Chocolat L’Éminence Brune (bittersweet chocolate cake) had everyone in stitches. Mezzo-soprano Lindsey Anderson, made for a great Julia Child as she sang in English, accompanied by pianist Kevin Bylsma.

It was the first of Toledo Opera Association’s alternative opera experiences and it was a smashing success. More of these opera events are in the works.

“We are a forward thinking opera for today's lifestyles,” said Suzanne Rorick, executive director. We are providing unique immersive opera experiences outside of the theater in less traditional settings with a snippet of opera, food, spirits, and mingling in an intimate setting.”

The event, on a Monday national football night, was completely sold out — both the dinner and performance option, and the performance and dessert option with many new timers and guests of all adult ages.

Dinner guests enjoyed champagne and appetizers in River House Arts in the same building followed by a French-themed dinner with wine pairings in the Registry Bistro where “Julia Child” mingled.

The menu, inspired by Julia Child: Duck Confit and Petite Quiche Florentine with Domaine Collin Cremant De Limoux Rosé; Gruyere Cheese Soufflé with Domaine Gueguen Cotes de Salinas; Chilean Sea Bass with E. Guigal Tavel; Beef Bourguignon with Domaine Charvin Le Potet Côtes du Rhône.

Among the diners were Joel and Clare Gorski, Dr. Celso and Lea Antiporda, Dr. Thomas and Denise ColturiJohn and Mary FedderkeGlenn and Mary RichterAnn SanfordJoel and Davie Epstein, and Mike and Carol Anderson.

Afterward, all guests enjoyed champagne and the cake created during the performance. After all, “a party without cake is just a meeting!” as Julia would say.

Bravo to Rebecca Conklin Kleiboemer, volunteer chairman of the event.

The French-themed Bon Appetit! was a fitting advance for Toledo Opera presentation of Giacomo Puccini's La Boheme starring Zach BorischevskyJessica DoldAlicia Russell, and Brian Major on Feb. 7 and 9 at The Valentine Theatre.

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