Off-Ramp | Off-Ramp host John Rabe and contributors share thoughts on arts, culture, and life in L.A.

RIP Mario Leonetti, founded local volunteer opera company

A few weeks ago, Off-Ramp told you about the Casa Italiana Opera Company, an all-volunteer group that puts on operas a few times a year at the cultural center next to St Peter's Italian Church, just north of LA's Chinatown. They've been doing it for 39 years, and serving a full Italian meal to go with every opera.

We learned this week that the company's founder, Mario Leonetti, died Saturday. He was 91.  

Here's the LA Times death notice: 

Mario passed away peacefully on September 25, 2010 surrounded by his family. Mario's legacy of giving unknown singers a chance to pursue their operatic careers will be remembered throughout the community for years to come. Mario is survived by his three children, three grandchildren, and an extraordinary extended family of friends and colleagues. Services will be held on October 1, 2010 at St. Charles Borromeo Church in North Hollywood and Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills.

You can still hear Mr. Leonetti's voice on Casa Italiana's website