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.