Malibu Seen / By Kim Devore

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L.A. Opera Chair and CEO Marc Stern and wife Stern, along with James and Jennifer Conlon, are among the music lovers celebrating the opera’s 25th year. Photo by Robert Millard

THERE’S SOMETHING IN THE ARIA

Malibu music lovers Marc and Eva Stern will rejoice tonight as the Los Angeles Opera kicks off its 2010-2011 season with a splashy opening night gala and a world premiere.

LAO lifts the curtain on “Il Postino.” The new work was commissioned by the company and is based on the Academy Award winning film. “Il Postino” tells the story of a shy young postman who makes daily deliveries in a tiny Italian fishing village. He has just one customer who turns out to be a famous poet. General Director Placido Domingo will star as poet Pablo Neruda. Placido was delighted to work alongside Daniel Catan who he calls one of today’s most important composers. “Daniel Catan and I had wanted to collaborate on a new work,” Domingo said. “When he told me he was working on an operatic adaptation of ‘Il Postino,’ I immediately felt that Pablo Neruda was a role I very much wanted to bring to life.”

The opera, which marks its 25th anniversary, has lots to celebrate. From humble beginnings, it has gone from a shaky upstart to a world class company. The 2009-2010 season was capped off by Wagner’s complete “Ring” cycle, which received rave reviews.

The anniversary weekend continues with Mozart’s popular “The Marriage of Figaro.” “I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our 25th anniversary than with a wedding,” says PD. “This comic masterpiece, perhaps the happiest of all operas, will be beautifully served by a wonderful international cast of singers and I am very much looking forward to leading this enchanting revival.” Canadian bass-baritone Daniel Okulitch returns as Figaro, while Rebekah Camm and Marlis Petersen share the role of Susanna. So let the music begin!

BY DESIGN

Malibu’s Holly Robinson Peete reports another stellar year for her HollyRod Foundation. Holly’s DesignCare fundraiser took in more than $500,000. HRP and hubby, former NFL QB Rodney Peete, hosted 500 guests at the historic Green Acres Estate in Beverly Hills. It was an eclectic crowd to be sure with everyone from real estate reality star Donald Trump to boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard making the rounds. Holly’s pals, including Alan Thicke, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and Cedric the Entertainer, helped preside over the awards ceremony.

Elaine Hall, Diane Isaacs, Carly Fleischmann, Winfred Cooper and Dr. Mark Lew made up this year’s honor role.

To top things off, celebrity designer Naeem Khan sent leggy models down the runway in a glitzy fashion show.

The HollyRod Foundation provides care for patients living with Parkinson’s disease and autism.

Got a hot happening or cool event? Send the 411 to kimdevore@malibutimes.com.