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A Lifetime of Opera

Posted on: May 7, 2020

For Sebastian Paul and Marybelle Musco, supporting opera is an integral part of their lives. As a boy growing up in Rhode Island, Paul’s Italian immigrant parents were opera lovers, and insisted that their children gather around the radio for the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts. “I guess it was osmosis, because I came to love opera and it has stayed with me personally ever since,” he recalls.

Marybelle Musco’s passion for the arts started when she was very young: as a six year-old dance student in her native Illinois. “No matter how bad a day I’ve had, when I experience anything arts-related it immediately brightens my mood,” she says.

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Paul and Marybelle Musco with Marina Costa-Jackson

When the Muscos relocated to Orange County, they immediately established themselves as leading philanthropists in their community. Mr. Musco served as Chairman of Opera Pacific, and provided key foundational support for the company. The Muscos’ passion for opera led them to one of their most important achievements: the dedication of the Marybelle and S. Paul Musco Center for the Arts at Chapman University in 2016. Since that time, multiple LA Opera productions have been presented in concert format at the Musco Center for the Arts, including most recently our Roberto Devereux, starring Angela Meade and Ramón Vargas. (You can learn more about the Musco Center programs here.)

Philanthropy is part of the Muscos’ DNA. Their commitment to art and education also led the Muscos to establish the Marybelle Musco Dance Center, a state-of-the-art dance, music and science building for the Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana. The naming of the wing is in honor of Marybelle Musco’s love of dance. Additionally, Paul Musco led the campaign for the new abbey at St. Michael’s Abbey, a Norbertine community in Southern California. Their generosity and commitment to community has inspired others to give.

Paul was elected to the LA Opera board in 2004— now, he serves as Vice Chairman. The Muscos underwrote their first LA Opera production that year (it was Carmen) and joined the 20th Anniversary Angels leadership giving group shortly after.

“Paul and Marybelle are deeply loyal and beloved members of our LA Opera family. The crucial funding they have provided our organization has helped spread the joy and beauty of opera throughout Southern California, and this is why it is such an honor for me to have their name in my title,” said Christopher Koelsch, LA Opera’s Sebastian Paul and Marybelle Musco President and CEO. 

And that funding remains crucial (now more than ever). The Muscos recently announced a matching gift challenge. For a limited time, your donation will be matched $2 for every $1 donated thanks to these longtime supporters. That means your gift will have THREE times the impact.