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PARTY LINES; LIFE IN THE 'FAUST' LANE.

Byline: Barbara De Witt

Opening nights are known for high energy, but the Los Angeles Opera revival of ``Faust'' at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion had fans jumping out of their seats and raving about the singing, the staging and the sets.

It was a long night, with two intermissions, so fans were thankful they only had to go upstairs instead of across town for the cast party, where they were greeted with champagne and lots of late-night snacks - from mushroom tarts to chocolate eclairs.

``Faust,'' composed by Charles-Francois Gounod, is the story of a man who sells his soul to the devil to win a girl's heart, and everybody knows the girl will burn in hell, but this year's dramatic finale generated a lot of the buzz among the 200 guests.

All of that praise clearly pleased Nicholas and Amanda Stonnington of San Marino, who underwrote the ``Faust'' production. According to Nicholas, he heard it needed a sponsor and was thrilled to be of help. He and his wife also underwrote last season's revival of ``Don Giovanni.''

Cast parties are typically intimate, and the big draw is a chance to see the stars up close and personal. On stage, they look bigger than life, but in the case of soprano Leontina Vaduva who made her L.A. Opera debut in the leading lady role of Marguerite, guests couldn't get over how such a diminutive woman could have such a big voice ... and how she could manage those high steps leading to the gallows.

But mezzo-soprano Megan Dey-Toth had a more challenging role. She had to convince us she was a man on the stage. Arriving at the party in a sexy red gown with her husband, Randy, she laughed and said, ``I needed a lot of pointers to pull it off. They said I ran like a girl and had to show me how to stand like a guy. And then there was that bust binder, which makes it harder to sing.''

``Faust'' continues through Feb. 4. For ticket information, call (213) 972-8001.

WHILE THE DEVIL WAS ON STAGE AT THE MUSIC CENTER, six local volunteers were named Angels of the Year at a ceremony held at Beverly Garland's Holiday Inn in North Hollywood.

According to Angel Awards president Michael Stern, ``We publicly honor our Angels to call attention to the positive role models in our society and in hope of inspiring others to emulate them.'' Stern also talked about how the program was organized in 1995 to honor selfless acts of citizens and build awareness of the volunteerism in the Burbank, North Hollywood and Toluca Lake communities.

Usually it's adults who receive the Angel trophy, but this year the honorees included Elizabeth Acosta, a student at Providence High School in Burbank who tutors other students, helps feed the homeless on Thanksgiving and works with Friends Against Drugs.

Also honored were Bebe and Mel Tamberg of North Hills for their work with cancer patients through the Appearance Rehab Service at Saint Joseph Medical Center; Esther Niell of Van Nuys for her volunteer efforts with the Los Angeles Police Department; Monica Olson of Studio City for her work with Women's Care Cottage; Marcy Garcia of North Hollywood, who works with the Valley Community Clinic; and James Miceli of Burbank, who contributes tremendous time and effort to the Universal City Sunrise Rotary Club and the Burbank Schools Partnership Advisory Council.

Each Angel awardee received a trophy, as well as a cash gift for the organization of their choice, plus proclamations from city officials, including Burbank City Councilman Bill Wiggins.

The reception was sponsored by Toyota of North Hollywood. For more information on the Angel Awards, call (818) 241-3042.

CAPTION(S):

4 photos, box

Photo:

(1 -- 3 -- color) ``Faust'' conductor Philippe Augvin, above with singers Leontina Vaduva, Samuel Ramey and Marcello Giordani. At left, Randy and Megan Dey-Toth of Glendale at the ``Faust'' party. Below, ``Faust'' underwriters Nicholas and Amanda Stonnington.

Lee Salem

(4 -- color) no caption (Los Angeles Opera program cover)

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Title Annotation:L.A. Life
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 23, 2000
Words:672
Previous Article:BLACK AND WHITE ... AND READ ALL OVER.
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