Review: Indianapolis Opera Honors Gala 

4 stars

Frank & Katrina Basile Opera Center, Feb. 24.

Academy Award winning actress Celeste Holm was the lifetime achievement honoree on Feb. 24, at the Indianapolis Opera and Truly Moving Pictures gala but it turned out she honored attendees with her grace, wit, charm and enduring talent. At age 93 she remains alluring with sparkling eyes and a smile to light up a roomful of people. The encore of a music-filled program was her heartwarming rendition of “Getting to Know You,” inviting the audience to join with her, since it was her joy to get to know us.

The backstory of how and why New York city-born, University of Chicago educated, and Broadway, Hollywood and television star Holm came to Indianapolis revolves around Frank Basile. Actually, two Frank Basiles. One, who lives in Indianapolis, is married to Katrina and is a philanthropist. The other lives in New York City, is married to Celeste Holm and is a bass-baritone who appears in grand opera and concert stages worldwide. This Basile graduated from the Indiana University [Jacobs] School of Music, so it was a homecoming with the intention of “helping opera grow in Indianapolis.” A mix-up of emails led the two Basiles to meet in New York City, and the rest is our good luck.

The event included a program of operatic arias and songs from Italy and the American musical theatre by Basile, with accompanist David Lewis; and two duets by Indianapolis Opera Ensemble members, soprano Jacqueline Brecheen and mezzo Kristin Gornstein, and tenor Daniel Anderson and baritone Thomas Gunther, with accompanist Dana Sadava.

Also honored was Kate Appel, who was presented the 2011 Indy Woman of the Arts award by Bonnie Reilly, the awards 2005 recipient.

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