The Opera Society Honors Baritone Todd Thomas
The Opera Society will honor opera baritone Todd Thomas with the Dr. Arturo di Filippi Founder’s Award at its annual Impresario Celebration Luncheon.
A true Verdi baritone receives the Founder’s Award
Impresario Celebration Luncheon
Honoring Opera Star, Todd Thomas
Sunday, March 10, 2024 at 11:00 am
Coral Ridge Yacht Club
2800 Yacht Club Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
$125 per person
Recognized by opera companies and critics as one of the true Verdi baritones gracing stages today, Thomas is a sought-after artist with a long association with Florida Grand Opera. He made his FGO debut in Tosca in 2014 and also appeared in Madame Butterfly. In 2017 he returned to FGO to perform in Verdi’s A Masked Ball, in 2022 sang the title role in FGO’s Rigoletto, and last season appeared to great acclaim as Baron Scarpia in Tosca.
The Founder’s Award recognizes the outstanding individuals who through their generosity and dedication have contributed greatly to the success of the Florida Grand Opera in Broward and Miami Dade Counties. FGO Interim General Director Maria Todaro said “Todd Thomas is well-known throughout the opera industry not only as a magnificent performer, but as a wonderful, well-respected, and beloved colleague. He has given so much to South Florida arts lovers through his many memorable performances, and I can’t think of a more worthy artist to receive this honor.”
The awards ceremony includes a cocktail reception, a sumptuous luncheon menu created especially for the event, and performances by Florida Grand Opera’s renowned Studio Artists, under the direction of Director of Artistic Operations Matt Cooksey and Samuel M. Townsend Studio Artist Manager Neil Nelson. The highlight of the program will be Thomas’ address to the guests, during which he will share anecdotes from his career.
“The Opera Society’s members are looking forward with much anticipation to Mr. Thomas sharing memories of his distinguished life in opera,” said Claire Crawford, Chair of the event.
The luncheon is open to all. All proceeds benefit The Opera Society and Florida Grand Opera, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization. The Honorary Chair of the event is Barbara Copanos and the co-chairs are Claire Crawford, Chair of the luncheon and Tracy Roloff, Host Committee Chair.
The Impresario Celebration Luncheon with baritone Sherrill Milnes was a tremendous success in 2023 and it was all made possible by friends like you.
Sponsorship opportunities begin at $500.
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About the Founder, Dr. Arturo di Filippi
Arturo di Filippi was born in Lucera, Italy and came to America at age 17. He arrived in Miami in 1939 after a singing career on the New York concert stage and in a network of radio opera performances. He began teaching voice at the University of Miami.
Di Filippi founded the Opera Guild Miami in 1942 and sang the lead in their first performance of Leoncavallo’s I pagliacci. In 1945 he appeared in a production of Il trovatore and The Opera Guild Fort Lauderdale was born.
Dr. di Filippi held the role of Impresario for the Greater Miami Opera Guild for 31 years. He once remarked that his first office in Miami was his hat, which he passed frequently for donations to the opera. His rehearsal studios were the homes and lofts in the area, and their leases lasted if the neighbors could stand the noise.
Agnes Ash of the Miami Times wrote a colorful description of “The man who took us to the opera.” She said Arturo di Filippi was romantic, bombastic, and gallant. His compelling charm wooed generous patrons. Having the impetus and spirit to bring opera to South Florida was to his credit.
Today at the ripe age of 82 years, Florida Grand Opera is one of the oldest opera companies in North America. Arturo di Filippi founded it…. despite the sun and sand!