Ballo Italiano raises $300,000 for the Hawaii Opera Theatre
Hawaii Opera Theatre's "Ballo Italiano" guests were guided through the Sheraton Waikiki to the ballroom last Saturday by lively greeters in black, with colorful masks. The black-tie crowd -- the women looked fabulous in their designer gowns -- sipped wine and snapped up a wide array of silent-auction items. The ball raised $300,000 for HOT, which must cheer HOT Director Henry Akina. The Opus 4 String Quartet got things under way musically. Arias were sung by Amy Healey, Chiho Villasenor, Derek Taylor, Malia Kaai, Lea Friedman and Guy Merola, accompanied by pianist Beebe Freitas. Pianist Kit Samson's hot and versatile Sound Advice, made up of vocalists Sonya Mendez and Al Romero, bassist Miles Jackson and drummer Butch Nichols, played dance music. The all-Italian opera season opens Feb. 10 with "Rigoletto," followed by "Il Trittico," starting Feb. 24, and "Tosca" winds it up, starting March 10 ...
Opera authority and retired journalist Jim Becker and wife Betty take off for Kona Monday to greet his mom, Stella Becker, who is flying in from Los Angeles Tuesday to celebrate her 105th birthday Wednesday. Stella travels at Thanksgiving every year with her church group. "When she was only 100 they went to Rio," Jim, 79, said. "She's still pretty sharp and hears very well. She bought new shoes for the trip." He said Stella has been a vegetarian for "60 or 70 years." Jim has been a Star-Bulletin columnist and an Associated Press special correspondent and bureau chief. He covered wars in China, Korea, Vietnam and the Mideast. He also wrote sports, working Jackie Robinson's historic first game with Brooklyn and covering the Joe DiMaggio-Marilyn Monroe romance. His book, "Sinners, Shortstops and Sopranos," will be out early next year ...
Jazz will paint a pretty picture at La Pietra
Jimmy Borges, Shari Lynn, Gabe Baltazar, Wade Cambern, Art Todd
, the Savoy Sisters, Fascinatin' Rhythm
and the cast of "Aloha Rosie's" will brighten Sunset Jazz tomorrow, 6 p.m., at La Pietra. Paintings by Hiroshi Tagami
and Michael Powell
, and jewelry and sculpture by other artists, will be shown today and tomorrow at La Pietra, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 924-7515 for more info ...
Ben Wood, who sold the Star-Bulletin in the streets of downtown Honolulu during World War II, writes of people, places and things every Wednesday and Saturday. E-mail him at email@example.com