Thursday, May 17, 2012

Encore Society Luncheon with Sarah Larsen

Seattle Opera is very fortunate to have donors who have included the company along with their family, friends, and other charitable causes in their wills and estate plans. These devoted opera lovers are members of our legacy group, the Encore Society.

Sarah Larsen, accompanied by David McDade, performed at last week's Encore Society luncheon
Alan Alabastro, photo

Last Tuesday, Seattle Opera thanked our Encore Society members with a luncheon and recital by one of this season’s Young Artists, Sarah Larsen, currently performing the role of Suzuki in Madama Butterfly. The annual event attended by more than 100 Encore Society members and guests.

Encore Society members are passionate about supporting the future of opera through their legacy gifts, so it was especially fitting that one of the up-and-coming singers, Sarah Larsen, should sing. Her performance gave the members a glimpse of the majesty that they are providing for future generations.

Seattle Opera Trustee Dr. Susan Detweiler spoke at the luncheon
Alan Alabastro, photo

Dr. Susan Detweiler, chair of the Planned Giving Committee, introduced the twenty-two patrons who have joined the Encore Society this year and those that have increased their gifts. She also recognized those members who passed away this year, leaving gifts for Seattle Opera in their estates: Ruth A. Blum, Robert Ellrich, Dr. C. Benjamin Graham and Pearl Graham.

A moment of silence was given to the memory of Max Gellert, a member of the Encore Society, Planned Giving Committee, Board of Trustees, and former President of the Board of Trustees. Max was a beloved member of the Seattle Opera family.

Executive Director Kelly Tweeddale inspired the audience with her remarks describing the importance of legacy gifts to sustaining the company’s future artistic excellence.

Artistic Administrator and Director of the Young Artist Program Aren Der Hacopian introduced Sarah Larsen, whose rich mezzo-soprano voice was brilliantly accompanied by David McDade on piano. She sang the Letter scene from Massenet’s Werther, which she performed in the Young Artists' Fall production, as well as “Voi che sapete” from Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro and the Composer’s Aria from Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos.

Encore Society Member Suzy Mygatt Wakefield with Sarah Larsen
Alan Alabastro, photo

Following the recital, guests enjoyed lunch and mingling with each other and the artists. Brian Garman, the Music Director of the Young Artists Program and conductor of our recent production of Don Pasquale, and another one of this season’s Young Artists, David Krohn, who is also performing as Prince Yamadori in Madama Butterfly, also attended the luncheon and recital. The ebullient Ms. Larsen said “she loves to perform at this kind of event and to meet donors and patrons,” confirming why she is beloved both on and off stage.

Elizabeth Stokes and John Delo with Seattle Opera Development Director Lisa Bury
Alan Alabastro, photo

If you are interested in learning more about supporting Seattle Opera through a legacy or planned gift, please contact Jessica Breitbarth, Planned Giving Manager. Jessica is an attorney with an estate and tax planning background. She would be happy to walk you through these types of gifts and assist you or your advisor in the gift planning process. Jessica can be reached at 206-676-5534 or

Jessica Breitbarth
Alan Alabastro, photo