We asked Alice Steere Coulombe, one of the founders and a life trustee of LA Opera, for her memories of LA Opera’s inaugural performance of Otello on October 7, 1986.
Joe and I were there, sitting in the Founders Circle. I remember that I wore a beautiful, beaded Indian silk dress. I also had real brown hair. [When the curtain was momentarily stuck on its way up] I thought, “Why don’t they stop and start again?” But they couldn’t because it was being broadcast live. It really only lasted seconds—no harm done—but it felt like a lifetime.
Joe Looking back over the last 25 years, I have an unladylike sense of pride, and many happy memories. All our Pasadena opera friends were convinced that Lorraine Saunders and I had accomplished this all by ourselves, so we had lovely coverage in the local paper.
There were volunteers everywhere. One of my kids was working on proofreading the supertitles at rehearsals. I remember a real blooper one night. Jane Hemmings and I had come together, and we were sitting in the Founders laughing. My daughter Madeleine told me when she got home that she knew we were up there laughing, even though she could not see or hear us. And she was furious!
By Alice Steere Coulombe
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