Thursday, December 27, 2007

Thinking of Friends at Year's End

As 2007 winds down, I, like many people, am rewinding the year and thinking of friends and family and events. As I went over the Christmas card list in early December I virtually touched each name and had a moment's flash of past joys, and triumphs and laughs and tears. Names of people who are so dear to my heart, but now we may live so far apart and may be in different places in our lives. The Christmas card is way for me to say "hello, I love you, I am thinking of you" but I hope that it is understood is that I think of you all year long - not just at Christmas card time.

Yesterday I learned that someone who I hold very dear in my heart, a man who influenced my college studies and appreciation of opera and art and living life to the fullest passed away on his 85th birthday. Richard Carlton Seaver ("of the California Seavers" as I loved to joke with him) was a man who embraced life and art and business with equal passion.

I met Richard in 1985, shortly after I moved to Los Angeles. Richard was a close friend of my friend Geri Baker and over the ten years I lived in LA, my fondness for Richard grew exponentially. Richard's "papercut" wit, his love of life and adventure, and his appreciation for things completely out of his normal realm gave him great delight - and he was never afraid to show it.

As an opera fan he took great pride in helping the Los Angeles Opera become a revitalized and amazing organization, serving as a founding member of the board and as president. It was only fitting that he also appeared on stage in my favorite opera, Puccini's Tosca as "The Cardinal" (a non-singing roll - but he still had to dress the part) in 2001 and 2005. In 1987 I attended the Metropolitan Opera's presentation of Franco Zeffirelli's production of Tosca (starring Eva Marton) with Richard and Geri. We also took in Tosca a week later at Covent Garden in London. Richard loved the opera.

The hours we spent at the LA County Museum of Art, MOMA in New York, the Tate, the Victoria & Albert and art auctions - my God, his love of art fueled my passion for it. I cannot ever truly express how deeply his love of life changed mine.

Richard's steadfast friendship and charm and grace were things that I truly loved about him. Earth is a lesser place without him.

Godspeed and fare thee well my friend. Fare thee well.

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