Downtown LA's Winery & Phil Spector's Agony and Ecstasy - Off-Ramp for 8/21/2010

Volunteers put on La Gioconda opera with heart

For 39 years now, volunteers have been putting on operas at the Casa Italiana Cultural Center next to St Peter's Italian Church, one of the last remnants of LA's Little Italy. This Sunday, the Casa Italiana Opera company does "La Gioconda," preceded by a five-course Italian feast. Off-Ramp's John Rabe talked with members of the company, including Phyllis Elliott, who is directing this production.

Call 1-800-595-4849 for tickets or come inside for a link to the company's website.

Above, cast and musicians rehearse the first act of the Amilcare Ponchielli opera, set in Venice. (Credit: John Rabe)

COME INSIDE for a "La Gioconda" trivia question. QUIZ: Why should Amilcare Ponchielli have won a Grammy in 1964?

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