Supporter Stories

San Francisco Opera is grateful to all our supporters for their generous and varied forms of charitable giving. A legacy gift to San Francisco Opera is both a tribute to the past and a confident investment in the exciting future of this Company and the wonderful, multifaceted opera art form. Learn more about some of the people who have chosen to ensure the future of opera.

  • Marilyn Horne

    Marilyn Horne

    “I want to express my personal gratitude to each of you for your support of San Francisco Opera. Like you, I have included a bequest to the Opera in my estate plan because I love this Company and believe in what it is doing. From educating young audiences, to training the singers of tomorrow, to presenting world-class productions, San Francisco Opera plays a major role on the international stage. I have been associated with the Company since 1960, and I feel privileged to have been part of its history, and a part of its future, as well. Thank you for joining me as Bel Canto Legacy Society members.”

  • Ruth Short

    Ruth Short

    “Opera is my passion and San Francisco Opera is my first love. It gives me great satisfaction to leave a significant portion of my estate – my home – to help ensure the Opera’s future.”


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  • Karen Kubin

    Karen Kubin

    “San Francisco Opera has given me one of the great joys of my life. How could I not give back?”


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  • Marcia and Geoffrey Green

    Marcia and Geoffrey Green

    Marcia and Geoffrey Green have been patrons of San Francisco Opera for more than 30 years. No strangers to opera, Marcia sang with several companies on the east coast including New York City Opera, and Geoffrey is the author of Voices in a Mask, a short-story cycle about grand opera…


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  • Brian Olson

    Brian Olson

    “I joined the Bel Canto Legacy Society because I want to be part of the legacy of SF Opera. The world is a rapidly changing place, and SF Opera is adapting to show that Opera is still a vibrant, contemporary art form. I’m excited to see where this goes in my lifetime, and want to help it continue on beyond that.”


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  • Sigmund Seigel and Karen Topp

    Sigmund Seigel and Karen Topp

    Meet Sigmund Seigel and Karen Topp. Sigmund has been a member of San Francisco Opera’s full time chorus since 1981 and Karen has been a patron and supporter since 1978. Please join us in welcoming Sig and Karen to our Bel Canto Legacy Society.


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  • Ione Gille

    Ione Gille

    Born in Italy, Ione Gille moved with her family to France at the age of three, fleeing Italian fascism. “We settled in Lyon where there is a very good Opera House, and we were taken by our parents to hear our first opera when I was eight and my sister 13. We heard (famous French soprano) Ninon Vallin! I have not stopped being an opera nut since then.”


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  • Heidi Munzinger

    Heidi Munzinger

    “It truly is a world class company that brings the best singers possible into the best productions possible, executed with the highest level of artistry by everybody, whether it’s on-stage, behind the scenes, the support staff, everybody is a real artist working at the highest level, and I have never seen anything better anywhere else.”


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  • Chris Miller and Gary Glaser

    Chris Miller and Gary Glaser

    “We don’t care how you get to the Opera, just get there!”
    For 40 years, Chris Miller and Gary Glaser have been ardent supporters of San Francisco Opera as subscribers and donors. “As much as we like biking around the world and attending Cal football games, no place compares to San Francisco Opera and the highest quality art it produces for everyone, whether it’s for the main stage or Opera in the Ballpark. This is why we made a legacy gift to the Opera. We are happy to know that the Opera will use our gift where it’s needed most.”

  • Linda Riebel and Brad Wade

    Linda Riebel and Brad Wade

    “We owe our happy marriage to opera. After communicating by email and telephone for several months (we had met as opera lovers through the Science Connection, a matchmaking service – alas, no longer extant – whose motto was ‘Better than carbon dating’), we decided to meet in person. Brad had two season subscriptions in San Francisco, and he invited me to join him in the summer of 2000.


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  • Susan Costello

    Susan Costello

    Susan Costello recently joined us at San Francisco Opera to share her story with us. We are delighted to welcome Susan to the Bel Canto Legacy Society and hope you enjoy this inspiring conversation as much as we have.


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  • Christine Boulanger

    Christine Boulanger

    Christine Boulanger, MD: doctor by day, SFO supernumerary by night! In her small-town life two hours south of San Francisco, she enjoys beach walks, gardening and other quiet pastimes.


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  • Judy and David Anderson

    Judy and David Anderson

    Meet Judy and David Anderson, avid San Francisco Opera supporters and enthusiastic Bel Canto Legacy Society members since 2010. It brings Judy great joy to help grow Bel Canto membership by inviting friends to join this very special group of Opera supporters. We are delighted to share Judy and David’s opera story with you…


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  • Karen Broido

    Karen Broido

    Karen Broido had never seen an opera in her life until she met her second husband, Irv Broido. “He was an opera lover and played a VHS tape of La Bohème with Teresa Stratas and Jose Carreras for me. Soon I fell in love with him, and with opera!”


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  • David and Marilyn Nasatir

    David and Marilyn Nasatir

    Longtime supporters David and Marilyn Nasatir attended their first performance at San Francisco Opera in 1955 – Andrea Chénier, starring none other than Renata Tebaldi and Richard Tucker.

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  • Randy Laroche and David Laudon

    Randy Laroche and David Laudon

    For over 30 years, Randy Laroche and David Laudon have shown their commitment to San Francisco Opera through their loyal subscription to the Opera and with their generous annual contributions. Inspiring that support is their profound love for music and opera. Randy began vocalizing at the age of seven and, since 1981, sings with the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. David joined Randy in the chorus in 2016.


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  • Nancy Kraus

    Nancy Kraus

    Nancy Kraus, subscriber for over 40 years and Bel Canto Legacy Society member, takes a look back at her opera beginnings and shares with us the tremendous impact San Francisco Opera has had in her life.


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  • John Shott

    John Shott

    “You don’t really have to be extremely wealthy to consider a legacy donation, and that after thinking about it for a while I realized that I could support San Francisco Opera in that fashion, and to do so would help ensure that there would be quality opera productions for years to come.”


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  • Merle Becker Benkavitch

    Merle Becker Benkavitch

    “I was born and raised in Chicago and grew up with the Chicago Symphony and Lyric Opera. In August 1978, I moved to San Francisco at age 40 with a job transfer as a Federal Probation and Parole Officer. The San Francisco Opera was a prime factor in choosing to move here.”


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  • Eric Dew

    Eric Dew

    “Opera is one of the few art forms that presses all my emotional buttons. With its stirring musical passages—and through its stories filled with power and anger, passion, pathos and fear, love and eroticism—no other art form can bring me to tears and joy as opera can. I want future audiences to be transfixed and excited by opera. I feel satisfied knowing that my legacy gift will help make that possible.”

  • Dick Davis

    Dick Davis

    “My longtime partner and I had always been music lovers.  So after his passing, I felt it was the right time to recast my estate plan. I was thrilled to leave the major part of my estate to San Francisco Opera. Leaving a legacy gift is a great way to support this treasured institution. A wonderful aspect of being a patron and donor to the Opera is the way they make you truly feel like family. So come join our family and make your own legacy gift to San Francisco Opera.”

  • Barbara Jackson

    Barbara Jackson*

    “As St. Augustine said, ‘Where your treasure is, there is your heart; where your heart is, there is your happiness.’ I believe that’s true, and my heart is certainly with the Opera.”


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  • Terri and Bob Ryan

    Terri and Bob Ryan

    “The Opera is our first priority. It’s hard to imagine not being involved with this Company and the people – onstage and off – who make it come alive. Since we can’t be here forever, we’ve ensured that our spirit will be”


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  • Nina and Claude Gruen

    Nina* and Claude Gruen

    The Opera gratefully reflects on the life and generosity of Nina Jaffe Gruen (1933-2017) and the continued friendship and support of Claude Gruen.


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  • Jim and Jayne Heagy

    Jim and Jayne* Heagy

    “Our charitable remainder trust was a great way to convert highly appreciated assets into regular income for us without having to pay capital gains taxes. When our trust is added to the Opera Endowment, it will commemorate our longtime mutual involvement and continue our support after we both are gone.”


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  • Steve Eimer and Kevin Ann Cartwright

    Steve Eimer and Kevin Ann Cartwright

    “When we created our estate plans, it was important to provide for our family, but we also wanted to give back to the organizations that mean a lot to us. San Francisco Opera is one of our favorites and we are proud to leave a bequest that will benefit the Opera family of the future.”


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  • Don Buhman and C. Wray Humphrey

    Don Buhman and C. Wray Humphrey

    “Naming San Francisco Opera as beneficiary of our separate retirement accounts enabled us to leave a lasting remembrance that recognizes the importance of opera in our lives.”


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  • Sally Houston

    Sally Houston

    As a country girl listening to the Saturday Met broadcasts, I had no idea of the riches of a live opera performance. It was only after my first visit to San Francisco Opera in 1972, I became an instant and life-long convert to this total theatre experience. If something like this has happened to you, please join me as a legacy donor to San Francisco Opera. Together, we’ll ensure that future generations can enjoy all of the glories of our favorite artistic medium.

  • *Deceased