The Edit by Brett Graff
Our editor reports on the charity scene in Miami this week.
International Women’s Committee Luncheon at Pérez Art Museum Miami
International Women’s Committee (IWC) hosted its annul luncheon at Pérez Art Museum Miami, honoring Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, an important Venezuelan art collector and philanthropist who focuses on Latin American modernist and contemporary art. The IWC mission is to create a platform celebrating women in the visual arts and to further a more balanced representation of women among artists, institutions, collectors, and galleries. Phelps de Cisneros was selected for having “a profound impact on the arts throughout the years,” said International Women’s Committee Chair Darlene Boytell Pérez.
The the event brought together over 200 members and supporters from the fields of art, business, fashion, and philanthropy including steering committee members Trixie Belo-Osagie, Mireille Chancy Gonzalez, Carol Damian, Mindy Solomon, and Jill Ginsberg, PAMM Director Franklin Sirmans, Bernice Steinbaum, Jane Abyss, Aida Levitan, Denise Gerson, Maria Maloof, Darlene Perez, Dorothy Podhurst, Alexandra Villoch, Matt Hagman, Dinet Linares, Andreina Fuentes Angarita, Adriana de Moura, Daniella Cabeza, Belissa Alvarez, Radmila Lolly, Lorena Gomez & Maria Celeste Arraras.
Dine & Dock: American Red Cross, Broward County
American Red Cross of Broward County held it’s Dine & Dock event at the Hilton Marina in Fort Lauderdale. It’s 2023 Humanitarian Award Honorees event auctioned off time with celebs and CEOs including Florida Panther COO Bryce Hollweg, Holman Fleet chairman Mindy Holman, City of Sunrise Fire Chief John McNamara, and Amtrack CEO Stephen J. Gardner.
Meanwhile, a table of Miamians held court thanks to surgeon Dr. Angeleke Saridakis, who hosted this year’s American Red Cross Ball chair Adriana Verdeja-Arango, Kristi House CEO Amanda Altman and her husband David Lynn, Leah and Phillip Sylvester and Julia Bianchi and SocialMiami editor Brett Graff.
Florida Grand Opera Names Interim Director
Maria Todaro will serve as Interim General Director of Florida Grand Opera for the 2023–24 Season, the board of directors announced. Todaro is the co-founder and General Director of the Hudson Valley International Festival of the Voice. She has over thirty years’ experience as a stage director, conductor, librettist, and operatic mezzo-soprano.
“I am truly humbled to have been entrusted with the responsibility of advancing Florida Grand Opera,” says Todaro. “In a world often marked by crises and despair, FGO’s role remains of paramount importance, introducing as many individuals as possible to the transformative and healing power of opera.
Todaro is the daughter of Italian opera singer Jose Todaro and Brazilian mezzo-soprano Maria-Helena de Oliveira. Her grandmother, Helena de Oliveira, headed the International Vocal and Piano Competition of Rio de Janeiro. She is married to international baritone Louis Otey, who she met when they shared a singing engagement. She is a citizen of the US, France, and Italy, and has spent a significant amount of time in Brazil.
Todaro began her professional life in opera as a mezzo-soprano and entrepreneur, founding the production company Arteodor in France and later embarking on a stage directing career. She has directed 23 productions for companies such as Minnesota Opera, Atlanta Opera, and Hawaii Opera Theater. Over a span of ten years, Todaro has also staged 16 original productions. She collaborated as librettist with composer Mitch Bach to write an opera based on The Three Musketeers.
In 2009, she co-founded the Hudson Valley International Festival of The Voice (formerly the Phoenicia Festival of the Voice) She created a backstage apprenticeship program, oversaw the purchase of the organization’s buildings, and during the COVID-19 lockdown, pioneered the United States’ first live drive-in opera performance in New York, and later championed opera in Naples, FL to a sold-out audience. She also introduced virtual reality technology to the Hudson Valley International Festival of the Voice (HVIFV) to create a re-imagined and well-received Tosca that was available locally as a live, drive-in performance and worldwide as a digital one.
Todaro’s awards and recognition include the 2017 HealthAlliance Foundation Tulip Award as the Best Community Organization for enhancing wellness and healing in the Hudson Valley community, the 2016 Community Award from Rotary International in Palermo, Sicily; the 2014 YWCA Cultural Woman of the Year Award, and the 2012 Ulster County Regional Chamber of Commerce Best Cultural Event of the Year for the Hudson Valley Festival.
Brett Graff is SocialMiami.com’s managing editor and has been a journalist covering money, people and power for over 20 years. Graff contributes to national media outlets including Reuters, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, Maxim, and the PBS show, Nightly Business Report. A former U.S. government economist, her nationally syndicated column The Home Economist is first published in The Miami Herald and then on the Tribune Content Agency, where it’s available to over 400 publications nationwide. She is broadcast weekly on two iHeartRadio news shows and is the author of “Not Buying It: Stop Overspending & Start Raising Happier, Healthier, More Successful Kids,” a parenting guide for people who might be tempted to buy their children the very obstacles they’re trying to avoid.