Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Dear Opera Lover: Letter from Ann Sanford

Ann Sanford is a longtime lover of opera and a faithful steward of its financial success here in northwest Ohio, having served on Toledo Opera's board of directors and endowment committee. An investment professional, Sanford is a first vice president at Morgan Stanley after more than 30 years with Merrill Lynch. She writes an open letter to those who have attended a Toledo Opera production, at the request of Suzanne Rorick, executive director:

Dear Opera Lover,

Suzanne asked me if I would write you a letter about my love of opera and I'm happy to oblige!

Ann Sanford (left) and Suzanne Rorick at the Toledo Opera
Guild's Diamonds & Denim fundraiser at Toledo Club in 2014.
I have loved opera since I was a starving student on my junior year abroad in Paris. I really had zero money to do anything other than eat a yogurt at lunch and take my meals with the family who was paid to house and feed me. (Sounds rough, right? I was in Paris, after all!)

But the opera, as most cultural institutions in Paris offered, had student tickets for next to nothing, and so we all stood in the back of the theater during performances and hoped we could nab a seat if someone left early. I think I saw every opera that Garnier did that year (this was 1973-'74, way before the Bastille opened). I will never forget seeing Tosca throw herself from the Castel Sant'Angelo for the first time. It seemed like it was 100 feet in the air and I was sure the singer had died!

I sang in the opera chorus when Jim Meena came to Toledo to conduct, I've chaired the Sapphire Ball with some other corporate buddies, and then became a board member for years and years. I'm happy now to be "retired" from the board and endowment committee, but I know how important it is for all of us to continue to financially support the operations of our great company. We need to be able to pay our guest artists a reasonable fee so that they continue to rave about Toledo when they go elsewhere, and we need to pay our Toledo Symphony to ensure the presence of the high-quality orchestra that we love.

I don't think most of us realize what a feather in Toledo's cap the Opera represents. With its presence we can draw new corporate talent to the community, which in turn helps support the arts we are so fortunate to have here.

I write to thank you for buying tickets, but also to ask that you consider a year-end donation to help Toledo Opera operate and prosper. Maybe it is your first gift this calendar year or your second, but please complete the giving envelope included with this letter and mail it back [or donate online at] to this deserving little opera company, which is now 60 years old.

I am so proud of our Opera! For surviving the financial crisis of 2007-'08 intact, for daring to mount an endowment campaign with an eye to the future, but especially for th ehuge task the team undertook last season to premiere "I Dream" to the world. It truly brought the people of Toledo together in appreciation for Martin Luther King Jr. and for the history of his nonviolence movement. In times like these that should not be underestimated.

Thank you all for taking the time to read this, and I hope to see you soon at the Toledo Opera! (Don't you feel good just saying that!?)

Warm regards,

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Opera executive director applauds TOG support

Dear fellow Opera Guild members,

How wonderful to see so many of you at Wildwood in September! Thanks to Cindy Niggemyer and Laura Draheim for organizing a great season kick-off. I also must add that the MAGIC FLUTE luncheon was another triumph; thanks goes to guild members and luncheon chairs Megan Kabour and June Galvin.

Flute and bell centerpieces at TOG's MAGIC
FLUTE luncheon at Registry Bistro.
Please know that these gatherings are essential to helping promote Toledo Opera and are enormously appreciated by the staff, the Opera Board of Directors, and myself. Thank you all!

In 2019 we celebrate Toledo Opera's 60th anniversary. The Toledo Opera Guild was instrumental in the creation of Toledo Opera 60 years ago and has been present in absolutely every chapter of the opera company's 60-year-history. I am certain that having the Opera Guild alongside us has been critical to the remarkable resilience and stability of Toledo Opera.

As we continue marching through the fall and our 60th season, let us gain new energy and a renewed commitment to all things wonderful in Toledo. Live, professional opera being one of those things!

Much thanks to you all,
Suzanne Rorick,
Toledo Opera Executive Director

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

TOG president shares love for opera, community

Hello Friends, Members and Opera Lovers,

The Toledo Opera Guild has begun another amazing season of fun, friendship, and financial support. We've kicked up our heels at a Brunhilde barbecue and enjoyed a lovely bistro luncheon, and we have many more events ahead.

We gather always in the spirit of the guild's mission: to financially support the Toledo Opera company and to spread awareness of and appreciation for this amazing art form right here in northwest Ohio. We also form connections with local community members and area businesses, whose volunteering and donations help make it all possible. Being a member of TOG is not just about being part of the opera but also of a whole community working hard to enhance life here in the Toledo area. Please join us!

We also cordially invite you to attend the simply divine slate of performances the Toledo Opera has scheduled for its 60th anniversary season: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's THE MAGIC FLUTE on Oct. 5 and 7, George Bizet's CARMEN on Feb. 8 and 10, and Douglas Moore's THE BALLAD OF BABY DOE on April 12 and 14, all staged at the beautiful Valentine Theatre. There also will be special opera offerings at the 60th Anniversary Opera Gala: Six Decades of Sparkling Performances in Toledo, set for Nov. 3 at Inverness Club.

The opera also has education outreach programs for our local school districts, a resident artist program, and pre-opera discussions that are presented to the public at no charge. When you attend a Toledo Opera Guild event, you are supporting these efforts as well as the stage productions. And TOG has so many fun ways for you to do that! We routinely sell out seats for our Celebrity Wait Night -- spookily themed Eat, Drink & Be Scary this fall -- and our fabulous Phashion of the Opera fashion show in the spring. Everything from ghouls to glamour is a hot ticket for this group!

I would be so happy to meet you and spend more time with you at these events, sharing my love for Toledo Opera and admiration for the guild members who have so faithfully supported our mission for so many years. We know in our hearts that with your support, Toledo Opera will be celebrating another 60 years and countless more in the future.

Kelly Kotchetov
President of Toledo Opera Guild