Passport To Venice

Patrons that spent $250 and more to attend this year’s “Passport To Venice” Opera Santa Barbara fundraiser held at Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club on Sunday June 3 were treated to cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and entertainment outside the dinner tent before being ushered into the elaborately decorated tent for the main event. Inside, “walls” of dramatically painted cloth from various operas surrounded diners in an intimate setting. Tables of eight featured floral set pieces, elegant glasses, silver, and dinnerware. Wild mushroom ravioli with white truffle cream, osso buco or grilled wild salmon and caramelized garlic mashed potatoes served by Lafond’s Pampered Palate stirred the soul. Palmina provided the wine and entertainment was served up by soprano Suzan Hanson and bass-baritone Joshua Winograde.

The live auction was conducted by “the infamous” Andy Granatelli, who admitted that he’d been “kept off the streets” by virtue of his love of opera, and revealed he had the complete collection of Enrico Caruso 78’s, both one-sided and two-sided. He said spending hours listening to the recordings kept him from getting in trouble, since he stayed home rather than roam the streets of Chicago. Parker Montgomery, who has done this in years past, offered the winning bid of $5,000 for the privilege of having soprano Hanson sing the Puccini aria “Un Bel Di” from Madama Butterfly to him directly.

For more information about Opera Santa Barbara, you can call 805-898-3890 or visit its website: