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Picnic and opera in a vineyard

Fundraiser presents relaxed summer evening of music and wine

Music fans will be able to enjoy a picnic supper accompanied by more than birdsong. Opera is coming to the vineyards in a fundraiser for Livermore Valley Opera on Sunday, July 19. Tickets are $50.

"The annual Opera in the Vineyard has become a popular community event," said Raquel Holt, founder of the Livermore Valley Opera and this year's event co-chairperson. "Our supporters -- and many come each time -- enjoy the high quality of the talented opera singers, the wonderful program and the lovely vineyard setting."

The evening of classic opera takes place from 5-8 p.m. in an informal setting among the vines of Retzlaff Vineyards, 1356 S. Livermore Ave. in Livermore. Opera buffs pack their own suppers, and the organically made wines of Retzlaff Vineyards will be for sale.

"It is always wonderful to see our supporters enjoy themselves at an informal, casual event as they listen to beautiful arias being performed by LVO's talented principal singers," Holt said. "From their picnic baskets, our guests take out a spread of delectable culinary delights to share and to hear the clinking of wine glasses as they happily make a toast to each other is a delight to see."

"Of course, the scenic Retzlaff Vineyards is the perfect venue," she added. "And this year, there are four singers who will entertain with solos, duets, trios and quartets."

A popular part of the event is "Arias a la carte," when guests can purchase songs from a menu for the singers to perform near where they are sitting. This year's singers are tenor Christopher Bengochea, bass Kirk Eichelberger, soprano Joyce Parry Moore and mezzo-soprano Nikola Printz. Pianist Chun Mei Wilson will accompany them.

The event sells out so early reservations are recommended. Go to www.livermorevalleyopera.com or call 960-9210. Reservations for tables of eight can be reserved in a company or family name, and guests are encouraged to carpool. While Retzlaff wine will be available for purchase, no outside wine is permitted.

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