"Simply, the regeneration of direct community action is the core item," said Gaudino, one of the early supporters of the revival of the Opera House more than 10 years ago. "It should be the community intervention that conditions the political process.
Gaudino made his remarks in the wake of the announcement earlier this month that New York City-based City Winery, the latest venture by entrepreneur Michael Dorf, will enter into a collaborative partnership with the Napa Valley Opera House.
According to Broadway World. "City Winery will sublease the historic Opera House, opening their third location -- following New York and Chicago -- to produce at least 225 shows annually."
To read the Broadway World article, click here.Gaudino said the deal could work if the community gets behind it. Also, he said, elected officials need to respect the historic past of the building.
"But here at Napa, you see this: if elected leaders have little knowledge of their town, then this results in few authentic connections," he added. "It's a poverty that depends on paid staff.
"This becomes a hole without the economic foundation of creativity in enterprise and broad community participation," he added. "It's tough."
Gaudino originally contacted Nap Valley Patch at the beginning of August -- before the City Winery deal was announced -- after reading published reports of financial struggles at the Napa Valley Opera House.
At that time, he offered the following "Letter to the Editor" of Napa Valley Patch. The letter, published below, offers a historical perspective on the facility and its heritage:
Upon reading the article about the Opera House financial analysis, it simply confirmed the research from 1982.
"The Opera House restoration project started when I contacted John Whitridge III to take a tour of the building for its renaissance as a community center. John had the key and we took a tour.
"I brought Larry Friedman of Brewsters to come along from next door. John clearly pointed out that the building did not have enough seats (300) to be restored. I explained that the process was dedicated for a larger goal to revive Napa's civic spirit.
"He gave me the planning department report. The idea seems to have been infectious.
""I then shared the goal with Penny Dizmang, my computer guru, who was inspired. She and her husband formed a committee. Then there was a "society" battle for control. I remember Penny talking of how they'd lost, being pushed out. Soon after, she died. I will always miss her big heart and smile.
"A couple years later, I shared this conversation with Veronica di Rosa. Then, she was standing one day at the ranch on the steps and announced that now she was going to "Save the Opera House."
"John Whitredge was involved, as I knew him, working as the paid, hired consultant. At the age of 15 in 1969, I had spoken out at Napa City Council meetings to save the historic Napa's Behlow Building and the elegant Masonic Temple from redevelopment.
"The Behlow was full of young, next-generation people starting creative enterprises thanks to the low $50 office rent of rancher Emily Streich. I filmed the wrecking ball knocking down the hall.
"So, John once again was following the money as the "historic" consultant. The Opera House became a "society" activity for only wealthy patrons. The community was not engaged to care, like at Fairfield by buying bricks, to revive the NV Opera House.
"The restoration process was not our "Penny" method to inspire of community pride and confidence -- not having grown from seeds of community awareness. It simply depended on the city, its r"edevelopment agency and a few who had political influence.
Often this "society" of people were disrespectful by saying how they expected Robert Mondavi to make the "BIG" donation for the restoration. The team building approach was not put to work for the "pennies from heaven" solution.
So, I told Dick Williams of John's analysis in 1982, at the Opera House street celebration of the facade, who may have been its president. He was surprised.
"Now, this analysis is again the "latest" word on the future. It is interesting our original vision of the Napa Valley "Penny" Opera House may finally be appreciated.
"As we first started out to help our hometown spirit of cooperation, it may be time to take the step to deliver the result of We Love Napa Valley" community participation and funding.
"Anyone want to buy a brick or a chair?"