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August 16 at 3PM in Dimond Park (Performers and Program)

August 4th, 2014

OPEN OPERA
Presents
4th Annual Opera Concert in the Park
Dimond Park, Oakland, CA
Saturday, August 16, 2014 at 3PM

Featuring:
Eileen Meredith, soprano; Ellen St. Thomas, soprano; Heather McFadden, mezzo-soprano,
Raymond Chavez, tenor; Michael Dailey, tenor; Ross Halper, tenor, Leland Morine, baritone; Elliott Nguyen, baritone

An American Operatic Quartet: Marcelle Dronkers, soprano; Dawn Farry, soprano;
Mark Kratz, tenor; Paul Cheak, bass

James Meredith, pianist

Matlock Duo: Jenny Matteucci, soprano and Daniel Lockert, pianist

“Come in quest’ora bruna” Simon Boccanegra by Giuseppe Verdi Ellen St. Thomas
“Au fond du temple saint” Les Pêcheurs de Perles by Georges Bizet Mark Kratz and Paul Cheak
“Come paride vezzoso” L’elisir d’amore” by Gaetono Donizetti Elliott Nguyen
“Condotta ell’era in ceppi” Il trovatore by Giuseppe Verdi Heather McFadden
“Mattinata” by Ruggero Leoncavello Ross Halper
“Youkali” by Kurt Weill Jenny Matteucci and Daniel Lockert
“Creed of Pierre Cauchon” Trial at Rouen by Norman Dello-joio Leland Morine
“Vissi d’arte” Tosca by Giacomo Puccini Eileen Meredith
“E lucevan le stelle” Tosca by Giacomo Puccini Raymond Chavez
”La donna e mobile” Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi Michael Dailey
“Bella figlia dell’amore” Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi Marcelle Dronkers, Dawn Farry, Mark Kratz and Paul Cheak

INTERMISSION

“Soave sia il vento” Così fan tutte by Amadeus Mozart Marcelle Dronkers, Dawn Farry and Paul Cheak
“Donne miei la fatea tanti” Così fan tutte by Amadeus Mozart Elliott Nguyen
“Dunque è proprio finita!” La bohème by Giacomo Puccini Marcelle Dronkers, Dawn Farry, Mark Kratz, and Paul Cheak
“O Mimi tu piu non torni” La bohème by Giacomo Puccini Leland Morine and Raymond Chavez
“Re dell’abisso affrettati” Un ballo in maschera by Giuseppe Verdi Heather McFadden
“Drinking Song” Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss (English translation by Ross Halper) Ross Halper
“Foolish Heart” One Touch of Venus by Kurt Weill Jenny Matteucci and Daniel Lockert
“Summertime” Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin Eileen Meredith
“There’s a Boat Dat’s Leaving” Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin Michael Dailey
“Libiamo” from La traviata by Giuseppe Verdi Marcelle Dronkers, Dawn Farry, Mark Kratz and Paul Cheak

This concert is sponsored by community members Bruce Jacobs and Rochelle Galat, Leslie Ann Jones, Karen Long, Leona Narita and Karen Marie Schroeder and people like YOU!
Special thanks to Michelle Doppelt, Dimond Park Recreation Supervisor, Lucy Beck, Linda Berti and Ellen St. Thomas, Vocal Arts Institute/Open Opera and Marc Babin, Audio

Open Opera brings free, professional opera to Bay Area parks and uses public space to build community through the arts. Open Opera is a project of Vocal Arts Institute, a California 501 (c) (3) non‐profit corporation. Tax ID #68‐0335928

openopera.net

Paul Cheak, bass/baritone, has performed with such opera companies as San Diego Opera, Colorado Opera Festival, Berkeley Opera, Berkeley West Edge Opera, North Bay Opera, Festival Opera of Walnut Creek, Cinnabar Theater, Virago Theater, Golden Gate Opera, San Diego Street Opera, Orange County Opera, Pacific Lyric Theater, La Strata Opera to name a few. Among the roles he has performed are Mephistofeles in Gounod’s Faust, Dr. Dulcamar, Germont, Silvio, Dr. Bartolo, Dr. Falke, the title roles in Falstaff, Don Pasquale and Gianni Schicchi. Mr. Cheak is equally at home on the concert stage. He has performed as soloist for the Colorado Springs Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Kensington Symphony, Denver Symphony, Long Beach Symphony, Vallejo Symphony, Contra Costa Symphony, and The New Millennium Strings. In January of 2015, Mr. Cheak will make his debut with Island City Opera as Raimondo Bide-the-Bent in Lucia di Lammermoor.

Raymond Chavez, tenor, is an Alameda resident with five years in the San Francisco Opera Chorus. He appeared with Alameda Civic Light Opera, most notably as Juan Peron in Evita and the Padre in Man of La Mancha, as well as with Altarena Theater and Stagemasters as Frankie in Forever Plaid. He performs in the Bracebridge Dinners in Yosemite National Park. While singing in Yosemite, he returned to the opera repertoire after a twenty-two year hiatus. Since then, he has appeared with Pocket Opera in San Francisco, with Open Opera in the East Bay and with Virago Theatre in Alameda as Rodolfo in La bohème, as Alfredo in La traviata, as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly and as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni.

A tenor whose voice was described by Opera News as being, “blessed with freshness”, Michael Dailey recently made his debut with Microscopic Opera performing the role of Ben in the world premiere of Todd Goodman’s Night of the Living Dead as well as with Knoxville Opera performing the role of Prince Ramiro in Cinderella. Prior to that, Michael spent his summer as a returning member of the prestigious Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program where he performed the role of Selimo in the world premiere of the critical edition of Rossini’s Maometto II. From 2008-2012, Michael served as a Principal Resident Artist with Opera San Jose where he performed 12 leading roles including Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Ramiro in Cenerentola, Alfredo in Traviata, Nemorino in E’lisir D’amore, and Ferrando in Cosi fan tutte. Mr. Dailey’s international credits include his performances in the roles of Lucano/1stSoldat/Famigliare in Montiverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea with Theater an der Wien. As a member of the New York Harlem Production company, he performed the role of Sportin’ Life in Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess on a European tour of six countries in venues including The Semperoper in Dresden and The Carré Theater in Amsterdam. On the concert stage, Mr. Dailey has been a featured soloist with the Virginia Choral Society, Todi Music Festival, Schola Cantorum, South Valley Symphony, Virginia Beach Symphony Orchestra, Virginia Chorale, Nova Vista Symphony, Silicon Valley Symphony, and on the Avedis Concert series.

Marcelle Dronkers, soprano, has a broad range of appearances in opera and concert include Mozart’s heroines and Handel’s evil sorceresses; Alice Ford in Nicolai’s Merry Wives of Windsor; Verdi’s Lady Macbeth; Queen Elizabeth I in Roberto Devereux by Donizetti—all with Pocket Opera—and Britten’s War Requiem in San Francisco’s Davies Hall. Ms Dronkers holds degrees from Indiana University, Bloomington, and the Royal Conservatory at The Hague, The Netherlands, and has participated in master classes with Elly Ameling, Edo de Waart, John Wustman, Leonard Bernstein and Thomas Hampson. She is on the Faculties of Notre Dame de Namur University and Mentoring Academy, is Scholarship Chair of Pacific Musical Society, and maintains a private voice studio in Kensington, where she lives with her screen writer/composer/rock drummer son, Christopher, and five feral feline foundlings. Information on future performances, including the title role in Handel’s Alcina, can be obtained at www.MADDIVA.com

Dawn Farry is a native of the Napa Valley and made her operatic debut with Seattle Opera in The Marriage of Figaro. She returned to the company as a woodnymph in Rusalka, and to understudy the roles of Wellgunde and Siegrune in Wagner’s Ring Cycle. She received her Master of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory, and has performed throughout the Bay Area and the West Coast. Roles include the title roles in Carmen (Pacific Repertory Opera, West Bay, North Bay Operas) and Tosca (West Bay, Tacoma Opera), Rosina in The Barber of Seville (North Bay and Festival Operas), Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, Nicklausse in The Tales of Hoffmann, Natasha in War and Peace, Ljubasha in The Czar’s Bride, and Nancy in Martha. Dawn has participated in master classes with Speight Jenkins, Warren Jones, Wesley Balk, Georgio Tozzi, Carol Vaness, Renata Scotto and Alfredo Kraus. She has won several vocal performance awards, including the Ungara Diva Award. Dawn conducts a voice and piano studio in the East and West Bays.

Ross Halper, tenor and voice teacher, is delighted to return to Open Opera. Ross has been called “Opera’s mad genius” by conductor Kent Nagano, “Opera’s man for all seasons” by the late heldentenor Jess Thomas, and “Our modern Schikaneder” by the late, great lyric tenor Leopold Simoneau. With a repertoire of 300 roles, he has sung under soloist contracts with LA Opera, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Symphony, San Jose Symphony, Long Beach Opera, San Jose Opera, Carmel Bach Festival, and many others. Ross has summed up these experiences in a unique staged recital, “Gods and Goblins”, as presented by Columbia Artists’ Community Concerts. Ross’ comic acting creations in television commercials have been seen internationally. He toured the world in “Phantom of the Opera”. A triple-threat artist, Halper’s many opera translations have been sung around the hemisphere. Besides serving as stage director in residence at North Bay Opera in Fairfield, he has directed for Eugene Opera, Opera Idaho, Opera San Luis Obispo (CARMEN 2013) and many others. Ross taught operatic acting at Mannes College NYC, UC Berkeley and Calpoly. Future projects include directing MERRY WIDOW (Halper translation) with Opera San Luis Obispo, CA. For more information, please visit www.ross-halper-sf.com

Mark Andrew Kratz, tenor, was recently featured as Lensky in Eugene Onegin (Pocket Opera), Alfred in Die Fledermaus (Lamplighters), Alfredo in La traviata (Juneau Lyric Opera) and as astronaut Alan Shepard in Apollo 14: A Space Opera (International Opera Institute). Kratz also took on the role of St. Nicolas in Britten’s St. Nicolas Cantata (Chorale Society of Northeastern PA.) He also played Don Jose in Carmen (Cinnabar Theater) and was the 2012 tenor soloist for the Kennedy Center’s National Messiah Sing-A-Long with the National Opera Orchestra. His roles include Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni (Cinnabar Theater, Pocket Opera), Flavio in Norma (Pocket Opera), The Beast in Beauty and the Beast (Capital Playhouse, Juneau Lyric Opera), Tamino in Die Zauberflöte (Tri-Cities Opera, Juneau Opera to Go!), Yamadori in Madame Butterfly (Tri-Cities Opera), Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor (Tri-Cities Opera.) Kratz’s other performances include Mozart’s Requiem and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony (Northeast Philharmonic). He is also the youngest person to have sung at the Newport Music Festival (RI). Kratz is also a faculty member at the Performing Art Institute of Wyoming Seminary (Kingston, PA) a prestigious summer institute for high school and college aged musicians in Pennsylvania. Kratz’s upcoming performances include the role of Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana and Rodolfo in La bohème with Desert Opera of Palm Springs.
The Matlock Duo, with Jenny Matteucci and Daniel Lockert, is a husband and wife team that specialize in “cross-over” music. Besides traditional musical theater and cabaret, they perform music by Kurt Weill and American Art Songs with a cabaret bent, featuring composers such as Leonard Bernstein, Dominick Argento, Ricky Ian Gordon and Ben Moore. Jenny’s roles include Marcellina in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Jenny in Weill’s The Three Penny Opera, Margaret in Guettel’s Light in the Piazza, Marmie in Howland’s Little Women, and Woman 1 in Sondheim’s Side by Side by Sondheim. She is currently performing in the Masquer’s Playhouse production of Berlin to Broadway, a Kurt Weill revue. Jenny recently just received her MFA in vocal performance from Notre Dame de Namur University, where her husband Daniel is currently professor of Collaborative Piano and vocal coach. He has had an extensive career as an accompanist, and has been on the coaching staffs of the San Francisco Opera and the Juilliard School of Music.

Heather McFadden, mezzo-soprano, Heather McFadden has been a prominent singer throughout California for over a decade. Bringing a lush voice and dramatic presence to the operatic stage, she has established herself as a compelling performer of the lyric and dramatic mezzo repertoire. Her broad range of roles includes the title role in Carmen, Ulrica in Un ballo in maschera, Principessa in Suor Angelica, Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro, Filipyevna in Eugene Onegin, Gertrude in Romeo et Juliette, Berta in Barbiere di Siviglia, Annina in La traviata, Marthe in Faust, 3rd Lady in Magic Flute, Buttercup in H.M.S. Pinafore, Zita in Gianni Schicchi, Wowkle in La fanciulla del West, 3rd Witch in MacBeth, Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, Nicklausse in Tales of Hoffmann, and many others. Appearing with companies that include Opera San Jose, Berkeley Opera, Golden Gate Opera, North Bay Opera, Livermore Opera, Martinez Opera, Pacific Repertory Opera, Pocket Opera, Townsend Opera, Open Opera, Oakland Opera Theatre, and Diablo Light Opera, she has also been featured as a guest artist at Opera San Jose for the past 5 years, most recently performing the role of Agafia in the West Coast Premiere of Anna Karenina. On the concert stage, she has appeared in concerts with Ensemble Vocalis in Las Vegas and the Bay Area, and as the alto soloist in performances of Messiah with Townsend Opera and the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra. Most recently, she performed with Music in the Mountains, singing Buttercup in HMS Pinnafore.

Eileen Meredith, soprano, joined by Ellen St. Thomas and Robert Boyd, started Island City Opera this year, after recent operatic successes with Virago Theatre Co, including Il Trovatore .In early 2015, ICO will present Lucia di Lammermoor, Mr. Bruschino, and Il Tabarro. Eileen has performed for years with San Francisco Opera, and has had appeared with West Edge Opera, Livermore Valley Opera, Goat Hall, and Open Opera. Favorite roles include the title role in Madame Butterfly, Violetta in La Traviata, and Mimi in La Boheme. Eileen is a winner of first prize awards from the National Association of Teachers of Singing and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She can be heard on movie scores and video games. Concert highlights include Mahler’s 4th Symphony, Sir Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Oratorio, and Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols and Messiah. Eileen is also active as a teacher and Music Director. www.islandcityopera.org.
One of the San Francisco Bay Area’s most well rounded musicians; James Meredith conducts the country’s acclaimed Sonos Handbell Ensemble. A native of North Carolina, Mr. Meredith received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Tulane University. He is a musical partner with mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade and dramatic soprano Olivia Stapp. His work has brought him into contact with such artists as Elly Ameling, Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, Eleanor Steber, Evelyn Lear and Gerald Moore for whom he has played masterclasses. For four years he was assistant to pianist Dalton Baldwin in summer art song masterclasses at the French Conservatory in Nice. He has been conductor of the Oakland Symphony Chorus, was on the faculty of Merritt College, taught masterclasses at Holy Names College and San Jose State University and was Festival Opera chorus master for two seasons. Mr. Meredith has been teaching, accompanying and coaching students for the Young Musicians Program at UC Berkeley for 14 years. His voice students are winners of many competitions and have gone for advanced degrees at top-ranked universities and conservatories, many on scholarships. He is on the board of directors for the Pacific Musical Society and has been on the boards of the San Francisco Girls Chorus and the Young People’s Symphony Orchestra. www.sonos.org
Leland Morine, baritone, studied voice and choral conducting in High School. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music at Fresno Pacific College and a Master of Arts in Musicology at California State University, Fresno. His operatic experience began with the Fresno Opera Association as a member of the chorus. He performed principal roles with Amato Opera, Opera Viva, and Regina Opera in New York City. Bay Area companies include West Bay Opera, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Lamplighters, Berkeley Symphony, Marin Opera Association, Oakland Lyric Opera, Pippen’s Pocket Opera, Masterworks Chorale of San Mateo, San Francisco City Chorus, and Peninsula Cantare. Roles performed include Silvio & Tonio in Pagliacci, Renato in Ballo, Scarpia in Tosca, Title role in Falstaff, Elder Germont in La traviata, Ezio in Attila, Michele & Gianni Schicchi in Il Trittico, Count in Le Nozze di Figaro, Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutte, and many Gilbert and Sullivan characters.
Elliot Nguyen is a baritone with operatic credits that include the role of John Brooke with the Opera Academy of California, the Imperial Commissioner in Madame Butterfly with Festival Opera and Antonio in Le Nozze di Figaro with Open Opera. His past roles in the UCSC Opera Program have been Gugliemo in Cosi fan Tutte, John Brooke in Little Women, the Vicar in Albert Herring, Belcore in E’lisir d’Amore, Antonio in Le Nozze di Figaro, and the King in Many Moons. He has also appeared as a soloist in Mozart’s Missa Brevis in B flat, Litaniae KV 109, Purcell’s Rejoice in the Lord Alway with the Santa Cruz Chorale Society. Charpentier’s Messe de Morts, Bach’s Magnificat in D, Ralph Vaughn Williams’ cantata Dona Nobis Pacem and Joseph Haydn’s Missa Sancti Nicolai with the UCSC Concert Choir. He is a recipient of the UCSC Dean’s Award for his exceptional performance in his Bachelor of Music Voice Senior Recital.
Ellen St. Thomas is a Virginia native who enjoys performing, teaching, producing and directing. She has performed with West Bay Opera, Livermore Opera, San Francisco Lyric Opera, Mission Opera and The Marin Summer Festival performing the roles of The Countess The Marriage of Figaro, Rosalinda Die Fledermaus, Mimi La boheme, Miss Jessel Turn of the Screw, Donna Elvira Don Giovanni, Pretzel Girl in Shostakovich’s, The Nose. Directing credits include La Boheme and Rachmaninoff’s, Aleko for the Russian Center in San Francisco, scenes for the Peninsula Teen Opera program and Holy Names University Opera Scenes Program, and Virago Theater’s Il Trovatore in Alameda. Ellen is co-founder of bay area opera company Open Opera and is very happy to be collaborating with Eileen Meredith and Robert Boyd on the creation of Island City Opera. Islandcityopera.org and openopera.net

July 27, 2014 at 4 PM ORINDA OPERA CONCERT IN THE PARK - FREE

July 24th, 2014

OPEN OPERA
presents
Opera Concert in the Park
PERFECT PAIRS
Orinda Community Park, Orinda, CA
July 27, 2014 4 PM
Julia Nielsen, Host

Featuring:
Eileen Meredith, soprano; Angela Moser, soprano; Julia Nielsen, soprano; Cass Panuska, soprano;
Lisa van der Ploeg, mezzo-soprano; Alex Boyer, tenor; Torlef Borsting, baritone; Brad Kynard, baritone

James Meredith, pianist

“Sous le dôme épais” Lakme by Léo Delibes Angela Moser and Lisa van der Ploeg
“Crudel! Perchè finora” Le nozze di Figaro by Amadeus Mozart Torlef Borsting and Cass Panuska
“Hai gia vinta la causa” Le nozze di Figaro by Amadeus Mozart Torlef Borsting
“Via resti servita” Le nozze di Figaro by Amadeus Mozart Lisa van der Ploeg and Cass Panuska
“Casta Diva” Norma by Vincenzo Bellini Angela Moser
“Vogliatemi bene” Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini Eileen Meredith and Alex Boyer
“Un bel dì” Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini Eileen Meredith
“What a Movie” Trouble in Tahiti by Leonard Bernstein Lisa van der Ploeg
“A Woman is a Sometime Thing” Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin Brad Kynard
“Bess, You Is My Woman Now” Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin Brad Kynard and Julia Nielsen

INTERMISSION

“Make Believe” Showboat by Kern/Hammerstein II Cass Panuska and Torlef Borsting
“Musetta’s Waltz” La bohème by Giacomo Puccini Eileen Meredith
“Che gelida manina” La bohème by Giacomo Puccini Alex Boyer
“Sì, mi chiamano Mimì” La bohème by Giacomo Puccini Cass Panuska
“Toréador” Carmen by Georges Bizet Brad Kynard
“Seguidilla” Carmen by Georges Bizet Lisa van der Ploeg and Alex Boyer
“La fleur que tu m’avais jetée Carmen by Georges Bizet Alex Boyer
“Du bist der Lenz” Die Walküre by Richard Wagner Angela Moser
“I Feel Pretty? West Side Story by Bernstein/Sondheim Julia Nielsen
“A Boy Like That/I Have a Love” West Side Story by Bernstein/Sondheim Julia Nielsen and Lisa van der Ploeg
“Brindisi” La traviata by Giuseppe Verdi Angela Moser, Alex Boyer and Ensemble

Sponsored by The Orinda Rotary Club with support from The Orinda Park and Recreation Foundation and the Orinda Community Foundation AND people like you!

Open Opera brings free, professional opera to Bay Area parks and uses public space to build community through the arts. Open Opera is a project of Vocal Arts Institute, a California 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation. Tax ID #68-0335928
openopera.net

GRAND OPERA COMES TO ALAMEDA

July 9th, 2014

Island City Opera begins inaugural season in August

Alameda California, July 9 2014: Island City Opera will open its inaugural season Saturday, August 2 at 2pm with a first annual free opera concert in Franklin Park. The event will feature a range of favorite arias, duets and ensembles performed in the tree-lined beauty of a vibrant neighborhood park. It will be a perfect chance for newcomers and longtime opera fans alike to enjoy fresh air and beautiful music.

Just this past spring, Island City Opera was founded with a mission to bring great opera to Alameda, support the ambitions of promising and established performers, and encourage a love of the art of opera. The decision to focus on building connections to the community and inspiring artistic excellence was inspired in equal parts by Alameda’s positive energy and an exuberant love of opera. “Island City Opera invites Alamedans to be inspired by beautiful and powerful singing here in our own neighborhood”, said Executive Director Eileen Meredith. “Why not bring a picnic and a blanket to Franklin Park? That would be a great way to spend a summer Saturday afternoon.”

The opera house will be replaced by grass and sunshine, and the singers will be top-notch. Internationally acclaimed soprano Olivia Stapp, will serve a Master of Ceremonies. Two of the afternoon’s performers include Buffy Baggott and Eileen Meredith. Ms Baggott has traveled the country starring in everything from Carmen to Sweeney Todd, and is currently performing with the San Francisco Opera. Eileen Meredith sings with the San Francisco Opera and starred as Leonora in Virago’s production of Il Trovatore that prompted the launch of Island City Opera.

The founding of Island City Opera was inspired by Virago Theatre Company’s opera productions from 2006 to 2014 and especially the success of Virago’s production of Il Trovatore in January 2014. The show’s success encouraged some of the founders of Virago to create an organization dedicated exclusively to the demands and rewards of opera.

Island City Opera’s first season will continue with Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor in January 2015, followed by a pairing of two one-act operas in March: Rossini’s comedy Il Signor Bruschino (The Accidental Son), and Puccini’s tragedy Il Tabarro (The Cloak). Both of these offerings will take place at the Elks Club Ballroom at 2255 Santa Clara Avenue.

For more information about upcoming events and getting involved, visit www.islandcityopera.org.

DATE CORRECTION JUNE 2014 NEWSLETTER

June 11th, 2014

FREE Summer Concerts in 2014
Save the dates and tell your friends!

July 27 4-6 pm - Opera Concert in the Park, Orinda Community Park in Orinda

August 2 @ 2 pm - Island City Opera presents Opera Concert in the Park, Franklin Park in Alameda (www.islandcityopera.org)

August 16 (not August 18) @ 3 pm - Opera Concert in the Park, Dimond Park Recreation Center in Oakland

IL TROVATORE Feb. 7 and 9 Alameda Elks Club

February 7th, 2014

Il Trovatore
by Giuseppe Verdi
Directed by Ellen St. Thomas
Conducted by Maestro Robert Ashens

Only two more performances this weekend!
PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS HERE

Friday, February 7 at 7:30pm
Be “in the know” before the show!
6:45pm in the Lobby
Join Maestro Robert Ashens for insider info on the making of a Verdi monument
and prepare for audience participation during the opera!

and

FINAL PERFORMANCE
Sunday, February 9 at 2:00pm

at The Elks Ballroom, 2255 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda

Opening weekend audiences are singing Virago’s praises:
“No one I talked to could have expected such a poignant and exceptional performance. It was magnificent and worthy of being staged at the Met!! The audience was very enthusiastic and there were moments of extraordinary sensitivity…A night to remember!”

“I have not been a season ticket holder to any venue but if [Virago Theatre Company] offers such quality opera, I may have to start. Bravo! and thank you for saving me a trip to the SF Opera House.”

“This was an outstanding opera experience not to be missed!
The vocals, chorus & orchestra were amazing!”

July 28, 2013 at 4 PM OPEN OPERA presents SUMMER SIZZLE CONCERT in ORINDA

July 12th, 2013

PRESS RELEASE


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Orinda, CA, July 12, 2013 - Open Opera is returning to Orinda for its 5th Annual Concert in the Park, on Sunday, July 28, 2013 at 4PM at The Orinda Community Park. Open Opera, is now in its fifth year of bringing professional quality, admissions-free opera concerts to Bay Area parks. This concert is sponsored by The Orinda Rotary Club and with support from The Orinda Park and Recreation Foundation and the Auxilliary of the Orinda Community Center. This is an event not to be missed.

Maestra Julia Nielsen of San Francisco will be hosting the event and has assembled an exciting cast of talented young singers to present everyone’s favorite opera arias and ensembles. The singers are former Merola graduates Alex Boyer, tenor and Lisa van der Ploeg, mezzo-soprano. Also singing are outstanding Bay Area artists Elizabeth Baker, mezzo-soprano, Coco Harris, soprano, Bradley Kynard, baritone, Angela Moser, soprano, Jason Sarten, bass-baritone and David Zelenka, baritone. James Meredith will be accompanying the singers on piano.

“We’re bringing opera to the public for free in a time of economic uncertainty, and using public outdoor spaces to build community through the arts,” says mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Baker, also one of Open Opera’s co-founders and its Creative Director. Mothers with infants, retired couples, picnicking families and young adults all have been a part of Open Opera audiences in the past.

Board President, Lucy Beck, says Open Opera “makes opera accessible and enjoyable for a wider audience, without the cost or formality. Richard Marchick, Open Opera supporter and long-time Rotary member says, “The people of the City of Orinda look forward to this every year. The quality of singing is first rate and the musical experience is extraordinary. “

Open Opera is the only not-for-profit organization whose mission is to bring free professional opera performances to communities throughout the Bay Area. Since its founding in 2008 by three long time East Bay residents (Elizabeth Baker, Olivia Stapp and Ellen St. Thomas), Open Opera has presented over 30 performances of opera concerts and fully staged operas and has reached nearly 9,000 thousand residents-including those both familiar with and new to the art form.

WHAT: Free performance of crowd-pleasing opera favorites. Bring family, friends and a blanket or chair for a fun afternoon of Opera’s greatest ensembles and arias. Children are welcome.

Food and Drinks will be sold.

WHEN: Sunday, August 18, 2013 4 PM

WHERE: 28 Orinda Way, Orinda, CA 94563 Easy access from Orinda BART station / Free parking

Media Contact:

Ellen St. Thomas, 415-819-8322, ellen@openopera.net

openopera.net

August 19th-OPEN OPERA IN DIMOND PARK, OAKLAND

August 1st, 2012

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Oakland, CA, June 7, 2012 Open Opera is coming to OAKLAND on Sunday, August 19, 2012 at 3PM! Dimond Recreational Center and Park, a beautiful park located off of 580 @ Macarthur blvd, between Fruitvale and Park blvd, is hosting Open Opera’s second annual concert at Dimond Park in Oakland. Open Opera, is now in its 4th year of bringing professional quality, admissions-free opera concerts to Bay Area parks.

“We’re bringing opera to the public for free in a time of economic uncertainty, and using public outdoor spaces to build community through the arts,” says mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Baker, also one of Open Opera’s co-founders and its Creative Director. Mothers with infants, retired couples, picnicking families and young adults all have been a part of Open Opera audiences in the past.

Board President, Lucy Beck, says Open Opera “makes opera accessible and enjoyable for a wider audience, without the cost or formality.

Since its founding in 2008, Open Opera estimates that its free public performances have reached an estimated 6,000 people in Berkeley, Alameda and Orinda. Extending its artistic reach into Oakland is a natural progression of Open Opera’s mission. Michelle Doppelt, recreation supervisor exclaims, “I hope the entire community comes out to see this unique FREE event. Having the Open Opera concert in Dimond Park will add to the variety of high quality events we offer”.

This concert is sponsored by Karen Long and Karen Schroeder.

WHAT: Free performance of crowd-pleasing opera favorites
WHEN: Sunday, August 19 at 3:00
WHERE: Dimond Recreation Center & Park, 3860 Hanly Rd. Oakland, CA 94602
MAP: http://tinyhttp.com/dimond
Dimond Recreation Center and Park is accessible to all persons with disabilities.

Media Contact:
Ellen St. Thomas
ellen@openopera.net
openopera.net

For more information call:

Michelle Doppelt
Recreation Supervisor
Dimond Recreation Center & Park
3860 Hanly Rd. Oakland, CA 94602
510-482-7831 Office

Open Opera’s Upcoming events:

Gryphons Wild: “Women in Song: Adoration, Anguish & Animosity”

May 22nd, 2012

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Gryphons Wild: “Women in Song: Adoration, Anguish & Animosity”

Thursday, June 7 at 12:00pm (noon)

Berkeley Festival & Exhibition Fringe Concert
Berkeley Piano Club, Berkeley

Female vocal duo Gryphons Wild will present eight centuries of glorious vocal music written by and about women and their relationships: Hildegard von Bingen’s devotion to God, a Trouvère song in which a wife longs for the return of her Crusader husband, a Cantiga de Santa Maria sung in adoration of the most famous woman in music history, an Elizabethan complaint about unfaithful men, a duet from Handel’s Julius Caesar in which a mother and son share their anguish over the murder of husband and father, a Sephardic song in which a woman plots revenge against her evil mother-in law, plus vocal music by Machaut and Monteverdi presenting the male point of view (emphasizing the fickleness and hard‑heartedness of women, of course!).

Gryphons Wild is a vocal duo dedicated to bringing to life long-forgotten treasures of the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque Eras through the colorful and expressive blending of two female voices. In this concert, Gryphons Wild Artistic Director Sally Terris (mezzo-soprano, recorder, harp) and Managing Director Ellen St. Thomas (soprano, percussion) will be joined by Greta Haug-Hryciw (percussion, storyteller, recorder, soprano), Anita Baldwin (guitar, accordion, mezzo-soprano) and Carrie Campbell (harpsichord, mezzo-soprano).

WHAT: Concert featuring female vocal duo Gryphons Wild plus guest artists
WHEN: Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 12:00 PM (noon)
WHERE: Berkeley Piano Club, 2724 Haste Street, Berkeley. Handicapped accessible.
TICKETS: $15 General, $10 Seniors/Students/SFEMS/ARS
MORE INFO: http://berkeley-festival.org/ or www.gryphonswild.com
CONTACT GRYPHONS WILD: gryphonswild@gmail.com or 408-773-0946

July 31 Concert Program

July 31st, 2011

Open Opera Concert in the Park
Orinda Community Park
Sunday, July 31, 2011 4PM
James Meredith, pianist

“È strano…sempre libera” from La Traviata by Verdi
Eileen Meredith, soprano

“Dove sono” from The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart
Carolyne Anne Jordan, soprano

“Hai gia vinta la causa causa….vedro” from The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart
Leland Morine, baritone

“Mon cœur s’ouvre a ta voix” from Samson et Dalila by Saint Saëns
Theresa Cardinale, mezzo-soprano

“Harlequin’s aria” from Ariadne auf Naxos
Ryan Bradford, baritone

“Parigi o cara” from La Traviata by Verdi
Eileen Meredith, soprano and Sigmund Siegel, tenor

“Una voce poco fa” from The Barber of Seville by Rossini
Elizabeth Baker

“Eri tu” from Ballo in Maschera by Verdi
Nicolai Janitsky, baritone

“O mio Fernando” from La Favorita by Donizetti
Heather McFadden, mezzo-soprano

“Act 3 Quartet” from La Boheme by Puccini
Eileen Meredith, soprano; Carolyne Anne Jordan, soprano; Raymond Chavez, tenor; Ryan Bradford, baritone

INTERMISSON

“Casta diva” from Norma by Bellini
Angela Moser, soprano

“The Veil Song” from Don Carlo by Verdi
Lisa van der Ploeg, mezzo-soprano with Katya Roemer, soprano

“Mein sehnen! Mein Sehnen! From Die Tode Stadt by Korngold
Leland Morine, baritone

“Non ti scordar di me” words and music by Ernesto De Curtis and Domenic Furno
Katya Roemer, soprano and Theresa Cardinale, mezzo-soprano

“Accerba volutta” from Adriana Lecouvreur by Cilea
Heather McFadden, mezzo-soprano

“Questa o quella” from Rigoletto
Sigmund Seigel, tenor

“Dich, teure Halle” from Tannhäuser by Wagner
Katya Roemer, soprano

“Die Todesahnung … O du mein holder Abendstern from Tannhäuser by Wagner
Nicolai Janitzky, baritone

“Un bel di” from Madama Butterfly by Puccini
Carolyne Anne Jordan, soprano

“Nessun dorma” from Turandot by Puccini
Raymond Chavez, tenor

“Mira o Norma” from Norma by Bellini
Angela Moser, soprano and Lisa van der Ploeg, mezzo-soprano

This concert is sponsored by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The East Bay Community Foundation, The City of Berkeley and people like you.

Open Opera brings free, professional opera to bay area parks and uses public spaces to build community through the arts. It is a project of the Vocal Arts Institute, a California 501 c non-profit organization. Openopera.net
SINGERS’ BIOGRAPHIES
Elizabeth J. D. Baker is a San Francisco native and graduate of Williams College. Ms. Baker’s music and performing career spans composition, improvisation, comedy, acting, and opera. Co-founder and creative director of Open Opera, Ms. Baker has performed the roles of Dido and Cherubino and sung at Grace Cathedral with new music composer Earl Howard. Ms. Baker recently appeared at the New Museum in New York with Dogr. Her choral composition, One, Two, Three was commissioned and performed by the International Orange Chorale. Ms. Baker studied composition and North Indian raga with W. A. Mathieu for seven years and is a voice student of Soprano Olivia Stapp. Ms. Baker is the Creative Director for Open Opera.

Baritone Ryan Bradford is a DePaul University graduate who recently made his professional symphony debut with Northwest Indiana Symphony. With DePaul Opera Theater he sang many roles including KoKo in The Mikado and Betto in Gianni Schicchi, and recently debuted in San Francisco as Papageno in Die Zauberflöte. He has been recognized by both Chicago and San Francisco NATS and is a student of Cesar Ulloa. He performed Masetto in Open Opera’s Don Giovanni.

Theresa Cardinale has performed before opera and concert audiences throughout Northern California. Praised by the San Francisco Chronicle for her “strong mezzo-soprano voice” and “focused clarity,” her career runs a broad gamut between the opera and concert stage. Theresa has been featured in major and “sidekick” roles with regional opera companies. As a concert soloist, her repertoire includes many of the choral masterpieces with numerous choral organizations and orchestras in Northern California. Upcoming performances include a commemoration concert performance on September 11 of the Verdi “Requiem” in Berkeley with a mast chorus. Theresa holds a master’s degree in Vocal Pedagogy from Holy Names University and teaches voice in San Francisco and Berkeley.

Raymond Chavez is a Bay Area native with a past life including five years in the San Francisco Opera Chorus. More recently, Ray has appeared with Alameda Civic Light Opera, most notably as Juan Peron inEvita and the Padre in Man of La Mancha, as well as with Altarena Theater and Stagemasters as Frankie in “Forever Plaid”. He recently premiered song cycles by composer Aaron Blumenfeld in Berkeley (Trinity Concert Series). He has performed in the Bracebridge Dinners in Yosemite National Park. It was while singing in Yosemite that Ray returned to the opera repertoire after a twenty-two year hiatus. Since then, he has appeared with Pocket Opera in San Francisco, and with Open Opera in the East Bay. He has appeared with Virago Theatre in Alameda, last year as Rodolfo in La Bohème and recently as Alfredo in La Traviata.

Nicolai Janitzky is a native of Northern California. His recent engagements include Shchelkalov in Boris Godunov with San Francisco Opera, Baron Douphol in La Traviata with San Diego Opera, Marcello in La Boheme with Sacramento Opera, Belcore in L’Elisir d’Amore with Bear Valley Music Festival, Guglielmo in Cosi fan Tutte with Opera Idaho, and Silvio in I Pagliacci with Livermore Valley Opera. Other roles he has sung include the title roles in Eugene Onegin and Pélleas et Mélisande, Valentin in Faust, Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro, and Papageno in The Magic Flute. He has also worked at Washington National Opera, New York City Opera, and Glimmerglass Opera. He is an active recitalist, and has performed in such venues as Carnegie (Weill) Hall in New York City, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and the Cleveland Institute of Music Art Song Festival. He is the winner of several competitions including the George London Foundation, Sullivan Foundation, and Opera Index Foundation. He has also been a finalist in the Operalia (Placido Domingo) Vocal Competition. He studied at the Yale University Opera Program and the Music Academy of the West.

Carolyne Anne Jordan, Soprano, has been performing professionally in the San Francisco Bay area for four years. Most recently, she sang the role of “Lola” (Frasquita) in Berkeley West Edge Opera’s The Carmen Fixation, and will sing in the Extra Chorus of the San Francisco Opera later this year. Past engagements include recitals with The Santa Cruz Chamber Players, a world premiere role at Mission City Opera, Livermore Valley Opera (cover), Goat Hall Productions, and in the summer programs West Coast Opera Workshop and BASOTI. Carolyne Anne studies in San Francisco with Sheri Greenawald.

Heather McFadden has been a prominent singer in the San Francisco Bay Area for several years. Known for her large dramatic mezzo voice, she has appeared with opera companies. Upcoming roles include Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro with Opera San Jose and Open Opera.

Washington, D.C. native Eileen Meredith recently performed the role of Violetta in La Traviata with Virago Theatre Company (viragotheatre.org). A co-founder of Virago, she looks forward to performing Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly next spring. Other roles for Virago include Mimi in La Boheme for which one critic exclaimed “her duets…came as near to heartbreak as the [audience] can bear.” Other past performances include Cunegonde in Candide and Polly in the Threepenny Opera and Musetta in La Boheme. Eileen will perform the role of Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly in the spring of 2012. She has performed with San Francisco Opera, Berkeley West Edge Opera, Goat Hall Productions, Pocket Opera, Livermore Valley Opera, Sonoma City Opera as well as The San Francisco Symphony.
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One of the San Francisco Bay Area’s most well-rounded musicians, James Meredith conducts the country’s acclaimed Sonos Handbell Ensemble. A native of North Carolina, Mr. Meredith received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Tulane University. He is a musical partner with mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade and dramatic soprano Olivia Stapp. Concerts with Ms. Von Stade included an appearance on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” reaching a National Public Radio audience of over two million listeners. He has been teaching, accompanying and coaching students for the Young Musicians Program at UC Berkeley for 14 years. His voice students are winners of many competitions and have gone for advanced degrees at top-ranked universities and conservatories, many on scholarships.

Leland Morine, baritone, came from a musical family. He earned a Bachelor of Arts at Fresno Pacific College and a Master of Arts at California State University, Fresno. He won the Metropolitan Opera District Auditions five times, received top prize in the Fresno District Merola Auditions, and was awarded prizes twice from the Henry Holt Memorial Scholarship. Roles performed include Maletesta Don Pasquale, Dandini Cenerentola, Silvio & Tonio Pagliacci, Renato Ballo, Schaunard Boheme, Scarpia Tosca, Falstaff Falstaff, Elder Germont Traviata, Silva Ernani, Ezio Attila, Michele & Gianni Schicchi Trittico, Count Figaro, Guglielmo Cosi, Sparadrop Princess of Trebizonde, Emperor Rossignol, Jupiter Orpheus, and many Gilbert and Sullivan characters. He regularly performs with the Uptown Singers. Sings Opera, Broadway, and Standards at Bella Restaurant in Redwood Shores, presents Neapolitan Standards at Nicolino’s Garden Restaurant in Sunnyvale, and on radio and in recital. He is widely known for his performances of 17th century through 20th century oratorio and concert literature.

Angela Eden Moser enjoys performing in the Bay Area and abroad. Opera roles include Donna Anna in Open Opera’s “Don Giovanni,” Atalanta in “Serse,” Priscilla Sherman in “I Candy,” Ereshkigal in “The Descent of Innana,” and Sophia in “The Mystery of Love.” Angela occasionally sings in the San Francisco Opera Chorus and also plays the flute. She loves all art forms, cooking, the outdoors, and traveling.
Katya Roemer, Soprano, has performed extensively as a soloist in opera, operetta, concert and musical theater in New York, Spain, Italy, and the West Coast. She has been praised for her “musical command,” “big, warm soprano voice” and “excellent sense of interpretation and characterization.” A winner of many awards and prizes, Katya won first runner up in the Pacific Region Metropolitan Opera Auditions and took first place in the National Opera Association competition. Roemer’s broad operatic repertoire includes leading and title roles with numerous West Coast companies in Il Trovatore, Luisa Miller, Der Rosenkavalier, the Bartered Bride, Rusalka, Tosca, Madame Butterfly, Il Tabarro, The Marriage of Figaro, Die Fledermaus, The Merry Widow and Samuel Barber’s Vanessa and A Hand of Bridge. Taking on the world stage, she has appeared as Tatiana in Eugene Onegin with the historic Gran Theatre del Liceu in Barcelona, and has sung in concert at the opera houses in Spoleto and Trevi, Italy. This December Katya will perform in the Bracebridge Dinners at the Ahwanee Hotel in Yosemite.
Sigmund Seigel, tenor, is a graduate of Music and Art High School in New York and received a M.M. in Voice on full scholarship at Stony Brook, SUNY. He studied Italian in Florence, Italy. He has sung roles with Sacramento Opera, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Lyric Opera, Cinnabar Opera and Pocket Opera companies. Some of his roles are Cassio, Goro, Tamino, Monastatos. He has been 1st tenor with San Francisco Opera chorus for 29 seasons. He is also on the Board of Berkeley Opera and was featured in the academy award winning documentary about Opera Singers, ‘In the Shadow of the Stars’. Mr. Seigel maintains a busy schedule singing and has a voice studios in San Francisco and Oakland.

Ellen St. Thomas enjoys performing, teaching, conducting and directing. Her opera performances with local opera companies such as West Bay Opera, Livermore Opera, San Francisco Lyric Opera, Mission Opera and The Marin Summer Music Festival include: The Countess, The Marriage of Figaro, Rosalinda Die Fledermaus, Mimi La Boheme, Miss Jessel Turn of the Screw, Donna Elvira Don Giovanni, Jenufa and Mayor’s Wife Jenufa, Micaela Carmen, Pretzel Girl in Shostakovich’s, The Nose. Opera directing credits include La Boheme and Rachmaninoff’s, Aleko for the Russian Center. Ms. St. Thomas has a private voice studio and teaches voice at the Alameda School of Music. She is co-founder and executive director of Open Opera.

Lisa van der Ploeg has performed in over 25 states and has worked with companies such as the San Francisco Opera Center, Intermountain Opera, Stockton Opera, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and Dayton Philharmonic. Among the roles she has sung are the title role in Carmen, Amneris in Aida, Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, Katisha in the Mikado, and the Mother in Amahl and the Night visitors. Though a California girl from birth, she grew up in Denmark and is always delighted to hear others speak Danish.

JULY 21 GRYPHONS WILD PROGRAM

July 21st, 2011

Summer Concerts in the Redwood Grove presents:
Gryphons Wild: “Women in Song”
Thursday, July 21 at 5:30pm
Mather Redwood Grove Amphitheatre
University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley

Sally Terris - Artistic Director, mezzo-soprano, harp recorder
Ellen St. Thomas - Managing Director, soprano, percussion
Greta Haug-Hryciw - percussion, recorder, storyteller, soprano
Dale Tsang-Hall - piano, harpsichord, soprano
Abigail Hall - soprano

“Ecco la primavera” Francesco Landini (c1325-1397)

“Per larghi prati’ Giovanni da Firenze (14th c.)

From Five Elizabethan Songs Arr. June Wilson & Edgar Jordon
2. “I will give my love an apple”
3. “The cuckoo”

“Pur ti miro” Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)

“Beata viscera” Perotin (c1200)

“Cantigas de Santa Maria” No. 7: Santa Maria amar Court of Alfonso X of Castile (1252-1284)

“Ave Maria” Charles Gounod (1818-1893) & J.S. Bach (1685-1750)

“En avril au tens pascour”/”In vernali tempore” Anon. French (13th c.)/ Piae Cantiones (before 1582)
Arr. Ensemble Alcatraz

“Cantigas de Amigo: I. Ondas do mare de Vigo Martin” Codax (13th c.)

“Por Deus” Trad. Catalan melody; text: Martin Padrozelos (13th c.)
Arr. Ensemble Alcatraz

INTERMISSION

“Zefiro torna” Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)

“Duetto buffo di due gatti Gioacchino Rossini (1792-1868)

“L’amor” from Lamento della Ninfa” Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)

“Steal Me Sweet Thief” from The Old Man and the Thief Gian Carlo Menotti (1911-2007)

Deaf Woman’s Courtship Appalachian Folk Song
Arr. Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)

“People Will Say We’re in Love” from Oklahoma Richard Rodgers (1902-1979)

“A Boy Like That/I Have a Love” from West Side Story Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)

Two Sephardic Songs Anon. Sephardic
-”La rosa enflorece” Arr. Daniel Johnson
-”Mi suegra”

“Belle nuit” from Les contes d’Hoffmann Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880)