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Why I Give – Extraordinary Volunteer Larry Verdugo

Posted on: May 14, 2019

Recently, Larry Verdugo decided it was time to give some serious thought to his estate plan.

Much of what he would leave behind would go to his nieces and nephews, but Larry also used the time to think about the arc of his life.  He says, “I asked myself, ‘What has been a constant, what has given real meaning to my days?’”

The answer was opera—from his record collection to his memories of performances. And most of all, it was LA Opera.

“I realized how much I had loved opera, how much time I had spent on opera, and it followed that I wanted to give something back.”

So Larry decided to join LA Opera’s Bella Voce Society, a group of opera lovers so committed to the future of the art form and the company that they have included LA Opera in their estate plans.

As Larry says “I’m very passionate about the art form and LA Opera allowed me to become involved, to be a part of it.  They’ve been very open.  It’s a nice feeling to be part of what I think of as a friendly place.”

His passion for opera started early. When he was fifteen, he stumbled across the 1948 film version of Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci on TV.  That led him to a Los Angeles record store. He scrimped and saved for his record collection. “By the time I was 20,” he says, “I had 30 or 40 complete opera recordings.”

Despite his love for the art form, his time-intensive career as a social worker kept him from seeing as much live opera as he wanted to. So when he retired in 2009, he found a “second career” at LA Opera—as the chair of the Opera League’s education committee, and as a volunteer speaker giving talks on opera around Los Angeles.

Our opera family is enriched by Larry’s commitment to the art form he loves. His passion and knowledge have inspired countless young people toward the same love that blossomed in him at an early age. And his Bella Voce membership means he’ll be ensuring the future of opera in LA for generations to come.

Join Larry in becoming a member of the Bella Voce Society. Click here to learn more or contact us at 213.972.3141 or