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It’s a Wrap!

by Admin on May 13, 2018


The Opera Society Lyrical Luncheons closed with a preview of the 2018-19 season and a celebration of a successful fundraiser sponsored by Fidelity Investments.

Jan Solomon, Chairperson for the four exceptional luncheons featuring performances by the Florida Grand Opera Studio Artists and opera highlights from Florida Grand Opera’s Administration were subscribed by over 60 enthusiastic supporters of the Opera Society.

A special thank you to Wendy Liebowitz, VP and Branch Manager at Fidelity Investments, for her Investment Notes and Insights!




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Celebrating Eric Koskoff

by Admin on March 12, 2018

Members of the Opera Society along with FGO’s General Director, Susan Danis and Director of Broward Operations, Justin Moss as well as members of the FGO Studio Artists, celebrated the Volunteerism and Dedication of Eric Koskoff. Ruth Molina opened her home for a delicious Luncheon highlighted by a beautifully decorated cake. 
A Proclamation on Parchment was prepared and read by Melanie Camp. Eric Koskoff has served on many boards locally over the years. His dedication to the arts, especially Opera is notable!


In Memory of Patrick Flynn

by Admin on January 14, 2018

The Opera Society, now in its 40th year of support for Opera in our community presented a celebration of life in honor of Patrick Flynn who headed Fort Lauderdale Opera and represented Broward as Managing Director for Florida Grand Opera for many years.

Patrick Flynn was revered and loved by the support groups for Opera in Broward County including the Opera Guild, Opera Society, Junior Opera Guild and the Camerata.

“Patrick helped Jan Solomon and I initiate an educational program that lasted seven years, bringing in funds for the Opera and educating the community on the Season’s Opera productions. We won recognition for this program as the best educational series chaired and presented by volunteers at the North America conference of Opera Volunteers International”, said Melanie Camp, a past President of the Opera Society and longtime Opera supporter.

The evening. prior to the performance of Lucia di Lammermoor at the Broward Center of Performing Arts began in the Abdo Riverview room with cocktails and a slide presentation of favorite moments with Patrick Flynn and the arts community. At dinner, hosts Karen Mathieson, current Opera Society President and Linda Balent welcomed Justin Moss, Florida Grand Opera Director of Broward Operations who gave a moving presentation of the memorable moments shared with Patrick and his family.

Elliott Flynn, son of Patrick Flynn took the stage and gave a moving tribute to his father and the Opera family. The Opera Society was honored to have Karen, wife of Flynn and close members of her family present.

Patrick Flynn lost his battle with Lou Gehrig’s Disease last year. His contributions to this community will long be remembered.

Nearly 200 guests raised a glass toasting what was a life well lived.

Please enjoy the attached photos courtesy of Downtown Photo.

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2017 Installation Luncheon

by Eric on June 6, 2017

Karen Mathieson and Susan Danis

Another season comes to a close…

The Spring Luncheon and Installation of Officers for 2017-2018 was held on May 3rd at the luxurious Coral Ridge Country Club in Ft. Lauderdale. Guests sipped prosecco and were serenaded by two of Florida Grand Opera’s finest Young Artists and their accompaniment prior to a scrumptious lunch.  

Susan Danis, General Director and CEO of Florida Grand Opera presided over the installation of officers.


President: Karen Mathieson

First Vice President – Ways & Means: Jan Solomon

Second Vice President – Membership: Anne Brantmeyer

Third Vice President – Publicity: Melanie Camp & Helena Caplan

Corresponding Secretary: Linda Balent

Recording Secretary: Barbara Parent

Treasurer: Ruth Molina

Karen Mathieson thanked the executive and committee chairs for their support over the past season and presented each one with a gift of appreciation.

Thanks were extended to all those who helped to underwrite events, volunteered on committees and at events, and sponsored our In-school Opera Program. You are the BEST! In addition to sponsoring the in-school opera at 5 Broward schools, this year we were able to donate $70,000 to FGO!

Plans are underway for another great season of friendship among music lovers and more great opera! We are already working on:

  • A 3-day cruise on the Silver Whisper from Dec, 16 – 19, 2017 (Ruth Molina)
  • A pre-opera gala dinner and tribute to Patrick Flynn, preceding the opera Lucia at the Broward Center on Sat. Dec. 2nd.
  • And much more… we welcome your input and we are always looking for new ideas and a helping hand.
  • It’s time to renew you Opera Society membership
  • Remember to buy your season subscription to FGO 2017-2018 season.

Thank you to Anne Brantmeyer and Barbara Copanos for organizing the luncheon and to Helena Caplan for the great photos.

Karen Mathieson, President


The Opera Society is one of the oldest support groups in Fort Lauderdale, organized and founded in 1978 in Fort Lauderdale by leading city founders of the Symphony and the Art Museum. After nearly forty years of fundraising, they saluted Florida Grand Opera recently with a 75th Anniversary Celebration on the night of the final performance of Eugene Onegin at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts on February 11th.

Patrons were greeted prior to the performance with cocktails and champagne in the Peck Courtyard where they were photographed in couples and small groups for a favor to be presented after the performance. A gala dinner was served in the beautiful Mary Porter Riverview Ballroom with music of the Barynya Balalaika Duo in keeping with the Russian Ball Theme. Susan Danis, CEO and General Director of Florida Grand Opera introduced the Board members and thanked the guests for their support. She thanked Kelly Shandley the CEO of the Performing Arts Center for his support of opera at the Broward Center for Performing Arts.   The guests then attended an outstanding performance of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin in the Au Rene Theatre.

Chairpersons, Dr. Linda Balent and Ms. Barbara Copanos then greeted guests after the Opera at a Dessert Banquet in the Riverview Ballroom for dancing and more Champagne flowed. Philip Pierce, FGO Artist Administrator introduced the members of the cast at the after-opera party and recognition to major sponsors: Mr. Michael Borgioli of Fidelity Investments, Mr. John Halsey Copanos of ECI Pharmaceuticals, LLC and Mrs. Barbara Copanos.   Dr. Linda Balent and Mrs. Barbara Copanos accepted recognition for chairing the most successful fundraiser for the opera in recent years netting $65,000 for Florida Grand Opera. Hats Off to the Opera Society!

Melanie Camp, VP Publicity

Enjoy the photos courtesy of Downtown Photo.


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St. Nick would have been proud!!!

by Eric on December 30, 2016

Background: Beth Holland and Gary Loft; Foreground: Roger Sturgeon, Isobel Sturgeon (facing away), Barbara Copanos, Justin Moss; Behind the camera: Karen Mathieson

Thank you to Barbara Copanos, Justin Moss and Judith Carney for letting us enjoy an absolutely lovely Christmas Eve dinner at Barbara’s home! While the number attending was small, the pleasant conversation, delightful hors d’oeuvres, wines and dinner provided a very special evening for all to celebrate.

Thanks to Chef d’ Excellence, Justin, as assisted by Judith and Barbara, we enjoyed dinner in three acts:

  • Act I: Open Bar Holiday Spirits and an Assortment of Hot and Cold Hors d’Oeuvres
  • Act II: Herb Roasted Leg of Lamb, Shrimp Risotto Milanese, Spinach Soufflé, Holiday Salad Vinaigrette
  • Act III: Season’s Desserts, Coffee and Eggnog

Many thanks to Karen Mathieson, very much in attendance but not in the photos, which she graciously shared!

Barbara Copanos and Justin Moss

Judith Carney, Beth Holland, Eric Koskoff

Justin Moss, Isobel & Roger Sturgeon



Justin Moss, Ann Clark, Sarah Payne, Benjamin Werley, Melissa Fajardo, Kathy Kozak, Jan Solomon

The Opera Society celebrated the opening of the Opera Season on November 10th with a Lyrical Luncheon at the Coral Ridge Yacht Club. Forty guests were entertained by three of Florida Grand Opera’s Young Artists – Benjamin Werley, tenor, Sarah Payne, soprano and Melissa Fajardo, mezzo – singing enchanting arias from Bizet’s Carmen, which opened November 15 in Miami and comes to the Broward Center December 1 and 3. Get your tickets now for this commanding performance. Kathy Kozak, Chorus Master for Florida Grand Opera presented a history of choruses and their leading role in opera for three centuries, adapted from Greek theater.

Opera Society President, Ann Clark, welcomed the guests and invited everyone to attend a pre-opera dinner on December 1, and make plans to attend the Opera Gala on February 11th. Jan Solomon, Chair of the Lyrical Luncheons thanked the attendees for supporting The Opera Society and invited them to attend two upcoming Lyrical Luncheons. On Thursday, January 26th, Justin Moss, Director of Broward Operations will weave the tale of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, based on the work of Russian poet, Alexander Pushkin. On Thursday, April 20th, Philip Pierce, Artistic Director of FGO, will preview Verdi’s A Masked Ball, a tale of mystery and intrigue. FGO Young Artists will perform for both Luncheons.

Other notables in attendance were: Dr. Claire Crawford, Drs. Peter and Shirley Johnson, Ruth Molina and Eric Koskoff, former Opera Society Presidents, Barbara Copanos, Judith Carney with the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Carol and Rudy Frei, and Dr. Linda Balent.

Jan Solomon proclaimed the event a wonderful success and said, “We are fortunate to live in a cultural mecca where we can dine in a beautiful setting while listening to the most stirring music in the world.”

Jan Solomon, Event Chair

Thank you to Kevin Lane for the wonderful photos!


Ann Clark, Barbara Copanos, Justin Moss, Linda Balent


Seated: Beverly & Nick DiNunzio, Michael Asser; Standing: Judith Carney, Judith Doering


Seated: Donna Zalter, Gisela Gutmann, KayeLynne Northcutt; Standing: Linda Estee, Karin Kuntz


Jan Solomon, KayeLynne Northcutt, Linda Balent


Claire Crawford, Peter Johnson, Kathy Kozak, Jan Solomon


Seated: Franklin Schmidt, Rudy & Carol Frei; Standing: Gloria Kline, Barry Rabinowitz


Seated: Sarit Orlin, Jacqueline Hayward; Standing Joyce Walker, Liz Lycke, Joyce MacDonald


Seated: Eric Koskoff, Ruth Molina, Linda Tufo; Standing: Sylvia Chilli, Diane Kohlmeyer, Helena Caplan


Peter & Shirley Johnson, Mrs. Kozak (Kathy’s mother)


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Dennis Hanthorn, Ann Clark, Barbara Copanos, Justin Moss

Ann Clark, president of the Opera Society, was all smiles as she welcomed an enthusiastic and large turnout for the Fall Membership Luncheon. The event was held at Barbara Copanos’ Sea Ranch Lakes home, and was co-hosted by Helena Caplan, Joyce MacDonald and Maria Salgado and Dr. Fatos Mullen. Also on hand to welcome guests was Dennis Hanthorn, Development Officer with Florida Grand Opera and Justin Moss, Director of Broward Operations & Outreach. After socializing for about a half-hour and enjoying the piano stylings of Ann Rentoumis, everyone gathered for a program that included reports on the Florida Grand Opera Gala, planned for February 11, 2017, membership, programs for children and a treasurer’s report.

“This is a milestone year for Florida Grand Opera,” Ann enthused. “They will be celebrating their 75th Anniversary and the Opera Society has some special programs designed to make the 2016-2017 Season very special.” Ann was particularly pleased to introduce Anne Brantmeyer, Membership Chair who noted that she and her husband, Bob Brantmeyer and their Sun Dream Yacht Charters have been supporters of the Opera Society and FGO for more than two decades.

“I’m happy to report that we have 156 members, including 17 new members, including myself!” Anne stated. She then presented each of the new members that were in attendance with a lovely bookmark based on the Carmen theme. Those receiving the bookmarks were David Cunningham, Joan Friezo, Jacqueline Lorber, Lilian Mills, Sarit Orlin, Stella Siegel, Barbara Sterry and Jane Thau. Membership is $50.00.

Dennis Hanthorn then shared some exciting news about the Black-Tie Gala – A Grand Russian Ball – being planned for Saturday, February 11, 2017 to mark the 75th Anniversary of Florida Grand Opera.  “In the tradition of Grand Opera, the Gala evening will begin with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and an opulent dinner in the Mary N. Porter Riverview Ballroom,” Mr. Hanthorn said.  Following dinner, guests will enter the Broward Center’s Au Rene theater to enjoy Tchaikovsky’s most beloved Opera – Eugene Onegin. Following the performance, everyone will return to the Riverview Ballroom for dessert, dancing and greeting the international opera stars. Dr. Linda Balent and Barbara Copanos are Co-Chairing the Gala.

Justin Moss added a bit of history, stating the The Opera Guild, Inc. of Fort Lauderdale was founded in 1945 and was the precursor of the Opera Society. The Opera Guild’s first performance was a presentation of Verdi’s Il trovatore, which took place in the auditorium of Fort Lauderdale Central High School. Florida Grand Opera is America’s seventh-oldest opera company. The Opera Society is a support group for FGO.

Karen Mathieson, VP Ways & Means, spoke about special opera programs for children, which is part of the building blocks of the organization… taking opera to a new generation. Following Karen’s report, Barbara invited everyone to partake of the lavish buffet luncheon.

Enjoy the wonderful photos with our thanks to Kevin Lane.


Gloria Kline, Karen Mathieson, Ann Rentoumis


Stella Siegel, Barbara Lefka, Jo Anne Lewis, Karen Kuntz


Anne Brantmeyer, Barbara Sterry, Barry Rabinowitz, Jane Thau, Stella Siegel


Lilian Mills, David Cunningham, Jacqueline Lorber, Sarit Orlin


Joyce MacDonald, Fatos Mullen, Helena Caplan, Maria Salgado

Stella Siegel, Eric Koskoff

Stella Siegel and Eric Koskoff


Joyce MacDonald and Joyce Walker



Caprice 3 copy

Ft. Lauderdale’s Intracoastal Waterway was alive with the sound of music as the Florida Grand Opera’s Young Artists presented a spectacularly beautiful aria of songs aboard the Caprice on Sunday, April 10th.  The Luncheon Gala was sponsored by Sun Dream Yacht Charters to celebrate owner Bob Brantmeyer’s twenty-year tradition of supporting Florida Grand Opera.

We couldn’t have asked for a nicer day to cruise Ft. Lauderdale’s Intracoastal waterway aboard the Caprice. As guest nibbled on scrumptious appetizers and sipped mimosas they were treated to a superb performance by Florida Grand Opera’s Young Artists:

Edgar Miguel Abréu, Tenor

Eliza Bonet, Mezzo-soprano

Sarah Payne, Soprano

Nicholas J. Ward, Baritone

Maria Paulina Garcia, coach and accompanist

Mario Arévalo, Tenor

Zachary Elmassian, Bass-baritone

Brian James Myer, Baritone

Alex Soare, Bass-baritone


President Claire Crawford thanked Bob Brantmeyer, President of Sun Dream Yacht Charters, who said, “Sun Dream Yacht charters are an important business within our community and have supported Florida Grand Opera for 20 years because the opera is such an important part of the cultural life of this community.”  We thank Bob and his wife Ann for hosting and underwriting this spectacular event, which raised $8950 towards Florida Grand Opera in this their 75th Anniversary Season.

After the performance, guests enjoyed a delicious buffet lunch as we cruised the Intracoastal waterway, which has earned Fort Lauderdale its reputation as the “Venice of America.” Oh, what a view as we admired the grand homes along the waterfront on this most beautiful sunny day.

We would like to thank the Luncheon Gala Committee, co-chairs Isobel Sturgeon and Karen Mathieson, organizing committee Linda Balent, Barbara Parent, Ruth Molina, Claire Crawford, Eric Koskoff, and all our hosts and hostesses, as well as Justin Moss, Director of Broward Operations & Outreach, and the FGO Young Artists for making the day such as grand success. We thank our raffle donors: Weston Hills Country Club, Coral Ridge Yacht Club, and the Broward Performing Arts Foundation, Inc. for their support. To those who graciously provided additional support and underwrote the invitations, tip and valet, we thank Barbara Copanos, Linda and Alvan Balent, Isobel and Roger Sturgeon, Barry and Diane Hopkins, Mary and Richard Kazares, and Judith Doering. Most of all, bravo to Sun Dream Yacht Charters for hosting the luncheon Gala on the Caprice and for their twenty-year tradition of supporting Florida Grand Opera!

Enjoy the lovely photos taken by our own Betty Young!

Karen Mathieson, Event Co-Chair


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IMG_6084 The Lauderdale Yacht club was the venue for the first Lyrical Luncheon of the season held on Thursday, November 19th. Event chairperson, Barbara Parent, greeted fifty society members and friends. She called on society president, Claire Crawford, who discussed upcoming events and introduced new members PJ Carswell and Sandra and Vincent Patalano.

Barbara then introduced guest speaker Justin Moss, Director of Broward Operations and Outreach for Florida Grand Opera. Justin, with help from the Florida Grand Opera Young Artists, presented an entertaining program entitled “Closing the Gap: Opera Inspired Musical Theater.” Justin gave examples of some musicals that have their roots in opera. The Young Artists sang selections from Porgy and Bess, Guys and Dolls, Carousel, and West Side Story.

Performing Young Artists were Eliza Bonet, mezzo-soprano; Laura Martinez Leon, soprano; Sara Payne, soprano; Mario Arevalo, tenor; Alex Soare, bass-baritone; Nicolas Ward, baritone with Sergio Puig, pianist.

The next Lyrical Luncheon will be held at 11:30 A.M. on Wednesday, January 27, 2016, at the Coral Ridge Yacht Club chaired by Linda Balent.

Thank you to Betty Young for the wonderful photographs.

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