Geri passed away September 27, just a few days before her 81st birthday, in Seattle from a cerebral hemorrhage. She was born in Los Angeles to George and Mary Florentine and was extremely proud of her Italian and Irish heritage. Geri graduated from John Marshall High School and received her BA from the University of Washington where she studied music, Spanish, and education. Geri was passionate about and most happy around family, music, animals, and flowers. Having been born into a large family of 12 children, Geri loved hosting family and friends along with her husband, Ron, in their beautiful historic home. Together they tended their...
Geri passed away September 27, just a few days before her 81st birthday, in Seattle from a cerebral hemorrhage. She was born in Los Angeles to George and Mary Florentine and was extremely proud of her Italian and Irish heritage. Geri graduated from John Marshall High School and received her BA from the University of Washington where she studied music, Spanish, and education.
Geri was passionate about and most happy around family, music, animals, and flowers. Having been born into a large family of 12 children, Geri loved hosting family and friends along with her husband, Ron, in their beautiful historic home. Together they tended their gardens, prize winning dahlias as well as peacocks, pheasants, and chickens. Music was always a driving force in Geraldine's life starting with high school musicals, and culmination in opera performances at the U of W, recitals at SPU, Palm Springs, countries overseas, and many other venues. She enjoyed teaching voice to students at PLU and SPU. Geri was a member of the Ladies Musical Club, the University Women's Club, and served as the former Regional District and Executive Director of the Metropolitan Opera National Council NW.
Geri is survived by her precious husband, Roland G. Hoefer; three daughters, Rebecca Budelman, Jennifer Soderberg, Deidra Law; brother, Larry "Tony" Florentine; sister, Kathleen Vaughn; step-children, Roland J. Hoefer, Marianne Kavagna, and Gregory Hoefer; numerous grandchildren; several great grandchildren and many loving extended family and friends.
Public visitation will be held from 10AM - 12PM on Friday, October 4th, at Acacia Funeral Home, 14951 Bothell Way NE in Seattle. A Celebration of Life will be held at Acacia Funeral Home on Saturday, October 5th at 2PM.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are requested to Metropolitan Opera National Council Northwest, C/O Melvyn Poll, 2818 Alki Avenue SW, Seattle, WA 98116, or, The Seattle Opera, 1020 John Street, Seattle, WA 98109, www.seattleopera.org
Geri lived her years with grace, charm, and spirit. Her memory will live on by the many lives she touched.
~ Published in The Seattle Times from October 1 to October 3, 2013 ~
Geraldina Sorrentino Biography:
Geraldina was a gifted recitalist, concert artist and operatic performer. Formerly on the voice faculties of Seattle Pacific University and Pacific Lutheran University, she performed in Portugal, Holland, Germany and France, and was a featured artist with Northwest Symphony Orchestras, Federal Way Symphony, the Laguna Beach Music Festival and the Ojai Music Festival. In Santa Fe, she was a winner of the First Manuel Garcia International Competition. Some of her operatic roles were Donna Elvira in "Don Giovanni", Countess Almaviva in "Le Nozze di Figaro", the Old Maid in "The Old Maid and the Thief", Medea in "The Medead", Concepcion "L'heure Espagnole", and Madame de Croissy in "The Dialogues of the Carmalites". With Seattle Opera she debuted as Silver Dollar in "the Ballad of Baby Doe" and the Mayor's Wife in "Jenufa" later in the season. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Geraldina began singing with dance bands at the age of 15. Geri was proud of her young years as an extra for many Hollywood films, including her work as Elizabeth Taylor's stand-in.
Professional Name: Geraldina Sorrentino
Founding member Friends of Opera, supporting the Opera Department at University of Washington, Member Women's University Club, Member and past officer Seattle Opera Guild, Member Metropolitan Opera National Council, past Western Washington/Alaska District Director past Metropolitan Opera National Council, NW Regional Director of Auditions, Member English Speaking Union, Member and past officer of Palm Springs opera in the dessert of MONC National Council Advisory Board. Member and officer of the Seattle Opera Guild, a patron of Seattle Opera and its Young Artist program, a member of Palm Spring's Opera's advisory board, National Association of Teachers of Singing and Ladies Musical Club, Former Regional Chairman of MONC NW, as well as Regional Director and District Director of W. WA/Alaska and a member of MONC National Council Advisory Board. Geri performed at the Seattle Opera, Seattle Light Opera, and frequent soloist with opera companies in the North West as well as local churches.
Remembering Geraldina Sorrentino
~ by Melinda Bargreen
Only five days before her death, mezzo-soprano and longtime vocal-music activist Geraldina Sorrentino Hoefer was in fine fettle - dressed to the nines, made up to the tips of her eyelashes, and enjoying energetic conversation with fellow attendees at a Metropolitan Opera National Council Northwest musical soiree.
"You know, I can still sing!" she assured this writer with considerable vigor. "And I want to! I just have to find some opportunities!"
Geri's death on September 26 following a fall was an unexpected, but suitably operatic, coda to a long career devoted to the presentation and preservation of her favorite art form. Not for her the Traviata-like decline (though she probably would have looked terrific as she bid her admirers a last farewell); for Geraldina, it was the sudden exit that took all her friends and fans by surprise.
Who knows how old she was? Not this writer, though some Internet research suggests she might have been 80. Geri began her life in Los Angeles, where at age 15 she was already singing with dance bands; she retained a fondness for Broadway tunes throughout her life. Her official biography (reprinted most recently for the 2013-14 advisory board of the nonprofit Palm Springs organization, OperaArts) recounts an early win at the First Manuel Garcia International Competition in Santa Fe, New Mexico; following that, she went on to perform in Portugal, Holland, Germany and France. Her roles included Donna Elvira in "Don Giovanni," Countess Almaviva in "Le Nozze di Figaro," the Old Maid in "The Old Maid and the Thief," Medea in "The Medead," Concepcion in "L'heure Espagnole," and Madame de Croissy in "The Dialogues of the Carmelites."
ln this country; she performed with the Laguna Beach Music Festival and the Ojai Music Festival, and she taught on the voice faculties of Seattle Pacific University and Pacific Lutheran University. At Seattle Opera, Geri sang the role of the adult Silver Dollar in "The Ballad of Baby Doe," and the Mayor's Wife in "Jenufa," both during the 1984-85 season.
Always an opera activist, she was a former Executive Director of the Metropolitan Opera National Council NW, as well as Regional Director and District Director of Western Washington/Alaska and a member of MONC National Council. She was a mainstay of the Seattle Opera Guild. Geri was generous with her financial as well as personal contributions; she and her husband, Ron Hoefer, created a memorial scholarship to honor her colleague and friend Mary Curtis Verna, following Mrs. Verna's death in 2010.
ln the manner of the true diva, Geri Sorrentino was never seen in public without full battle dress, from coiffeur and maquillage to a certain flair for the dramatic when it came to attire. Last year, exiting a daytime event at the Seattle Women's University Club and exchanging greetings with her, I was taken aside by an acquaintance who asked, "Who was that?"
I explained, and the onlooker answered: "l knew she was somebody."
lndeed she was.
~ Melinda Bargreen is a well-known Seattle-based music critic who writes for several print and electronic publications. ~