(Carol Burnett & Marilyn Horne, among guests)
We'll never forget the September 2007 tribute to a recently-departed Beverly Sills at The Metropolitan Opera when a random mix of opera singers, New Yorkers and luminaries toasted the memory of the Brooklyn diva, including Plácido Domingo, accompanied by a then-ursine James Levine for 'Ombra mai fu' or pocket-sized Barbara Walters who read a note on behalf of Sills' daughter Muffy or Carol Burnett's heartbreaking lament at the loss of her close friend and colleague.
Despite DNA programmed to entertain, Burnett departed the stage in tears, and we understood that the comedienne (and childhood idol -- c'mon: Annie) had a very deep connection to opera and its brightest protagonists. Lately she's been involved in the Music Academy of the West, a Santa Barbara-based organization that backs young classical singers through scholarships. In the role of creative contributor, she recently coached its young singers for its fundraiser gala, Cabaret, joined by Marilyn Horne, a program director at the org (photo above).
Here she is leading a recent masterclass, which is the second time that summer school has looked so cool. (First time = Mr. Shoop!)