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August 15, 2015 @ 3 PM Dimond Park, Ok

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

5th Annual Opera Concert in the Park
Saturday, August 15, 2015 @ 3 PM
Dimond Park, Oakland

Host: Ellen St. Thomas

Performances by:
Elizabeth Baker, mezzo-soprano
Ben Brady, bass
Michael Dailey, tenor
Carolyne Anne (C.A.) Jordan, soprano
Charlotte Khuner, soprano
Melody King, soprano
Bradley Kynard, baritone
Eileen Meredith, soprano
Angela Moser, soprano
James Meredith, Pianist

Una voce poco fa from Il Barbiere di Siviglia by G.Rossini
Elizabeth Baker

La Fleur Que Tu M’Avais Jetée from Carmen by Georges Bizet
Michael Dailey

Vissi d’art from Tosca by Giacomo Puccini
Angela Moser

Il Est Doux, Il Est Bon from Hérodiade by Jules Massanet
Carolyn Anne Jordan

Vision Fugitive from Hérodiade by Jules Massanet
Bradley Kynard

Caro Nome from Rigoletto by Giuseppi Verdi
Eileen Meredtih

La Ci Darem La Mano from Don Giovanni by W. A. Mozart
Elizabeth Baker and Ben Brady

Mira, O Norma from Norma
by vincenzo Bellini
Angela Moser and Elizabeth Baker

Mein Herr Marquis from Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss
Charlotte Khuner

Un Bel Di Vedremo from Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini
Melody King

Aprite Un Po’ Quegli Occhi from Le Nozze di Figaro by W. A. Mozart
Ben Brady

O Soave Fanciulla from La Bohème by Giacomo Puccini
Eileen Meredith and Michael Dailey


Sous le Dome Epais from Lakmé by Leo Délibes
Melody King and Elizabeth Baker

Dichm Teere halle from Tannhauser by Richard Wagner
Angela Moser

What A Movie from Trouble in Tahiti by Leonard Bernstein
Charlotte Khuner

Ole Man River from Showboat by Jerome Kern
Ben Brady

Solveig’s Song from Peer Gynt by Edvard Grieg
Carolyne Anne Jordan

Mon coeur s’ouvre from Samson et Dalila by Cecile Saint-Saens
Elizabeth Baker

Io Son L’Umile Ancella from Adriana Lecouvreur by Francesco Cilea
Melody King

All I Ask of You from Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Carolyne Anne Jordan and Bradley Kynard

Tonight from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein
Eileen Meredith

A Woman is a Sometime Thing from Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin
Bradley Kynard

It Ain’t Necessarily So from Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin
Michael Dailey

This concert is sponsored by community members Caroline Adams, Bruce Jacobs and Rochelle Galat, Leslie Ann Jones, Karen Long, Leona Narita and Karen Marie Schroeder.

Special thanks to:
Julia Hunt Nielsen who invited the singers and put together the program
Michelle Dopplet, Recreation Supervisor, Dimond Park
Lucy Beck and Linda Berti, Vocal Arts Institute
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


A Bay Area native, mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Baker is a versatile performer of opera, oratorio and new music. The San Francisco Examiner has praised “Mezzo Baker’s sweet looks, devilish charm, and insouciant resilience.” In addition to singing with the San Francisco Opera Chorus, Ms. Baker’s recent roles include Sesto in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito (The Handel Opera Project), Azucena in Verdi’s Il Trovatore (Island City Opera), the Wife in Barab’s ‘Out the Window’ (Mendocino Opera), and Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni (Virago Theater). Ms. Baker co-founded Open Opera, a nonprofit that brings free professional opera to Bay Area parks. With Open Opera, Ms. Baker has sung the roles of Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro and Zerlina in Don Giovanni. As a soloist with local orchestras, she can be heard singing repertoire including Beethoven’s Mass in C Major and Mozart’s Vespersand Requiem. New music performance highlights include collaborating with Earl Howard in Waftings at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral, appearing at New York’s New Museum with composer/performer Dogr, and joining percussionist William Winant for performances at Herbst Theater and in New York’s Roulette. Ms. Baker also composes music for voice, choir and piano, having studied composition and improvisation with W. A. Mathieu after graduating from Williams College.

Ben Brady is delighted to be back in Dimond Park and performing with such a wonderful group of singers. Recent roles include Tonio in I Pagliacci, (Pocket Opera), the Pirate King in Pirates of Penzance (Lamplighters), and roles with Verismo Opera including Zuniga in Carmen and Hunding in Die Walküre. He will be appearing as Mephistopheles next month in Verismo Opera’s Faust. He also enjoys making music with his rock band, Suits of Steel. Check them out at suitsofsteel.com.

A San Francisco native, Dr. Julia Hunt Nielsen made her stage debut at age five with the San Francisco Opera in a production of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, starring Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. Overtwo decades later, in 2001, she gave her New York debut recital at Carnegie Hall in Weill Recital Hall as the first‐place winner of the Center for Contemporary Opera’s international competition for opera singers. Her operatic roles have included the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro, Fiordiligi in Così Fan Tutte, Pamina in The Magic Flute, Mimì in La Bohème, Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus, Nedda in I Pagliacci, Eurydice in Orpheus and Eurydice, and Romilda in Handel’s Xerxes. She appeared in the leading role of Rose at the West Coast premiere of Elliott Carter’s new opera What Next?, with the Berkeley Symphony under the baton of Kent Nagano. She has also appeared throughout the West Coast with Festival Opera, Eugene Opera, Oakland Lyric Opera, Pocket Opera, Stockton Opera, Sonoma City Opera, and the San Francisco Opera Guild. Internationally, she has performed with the Rome Festival Opera and the AIMS/Graz Orchestra in Austria. Dr. Nielsen has also been a frequent soloist in concert and recital around the San Francisco Bay Area. She has performed with the Oakland/East Bay Symphony, Berkeley Symphony, Lake Tahoe Summer Music Festival, Stockton Symphony, Auburn Symphony, and West Marin Summer Music Festival. Her solo recitals have included an appearance for the CenterStage concert series in Marin County, and the San Francisco premiere of Handel’s “Lost” Gloria. Dr. Nielsen received her Doctor of Music degree in Voice from Indiana University under Martina Arroyo, having received her Masters Degree there under Margaret Harshaw, and her B.A. in Music from Stanford University. She has taught voice privately in San Francisco for 14 years, and has been mentored by Maestro David Jones in the tradition of the Swedish‐Italian School of Singing since 2006. She has also served on the voice faculty of the San Francisco Girls Chorus since 1999.

Carolyne Anne (C.A.) Jordan sings in the San Francisco Opera Chorus and is an active performer in the Bay Area. Since 2006, C.A. has been singing and covering roles with Berkeley West Edge Opera, Mission City Opera, Livermore Valley Opera, Open Opera, Goat Hall Productions, the educational programs West Coast Opera Workshop, BASOTI, and the Opera Scenes Program at Holy Names College. She has performed with the Santa Cruz Chamber Players, and is a founding member of The Santiago Players. C.A. holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the California Institute of the Arts and completed graduate study at the New England Conservatory of Music. She currently studies with Dr. Julia Nielsen in San Francisco.
Charlotte Khuner is a 19 year-old junior music minor at Goucher college. She technically began performing when she was four years old as “Dolore” in Madama Butterfly, but has only seriously studied voice since high school. At Goucher, she has sung Gretel in Hansel and Gretel by Humperdink, the title role in Dummy by Goucher Graduate Gil Kline, in addition to scenes as Maria from “West Side Story”, Mabel from Pirates of Penzance and Fiordiligi from Cosi fan tutte. She also was chosen to perform the song cycle “A Voice from the Annex” by Goucher College President José Bowen at various venues. She also has sung in the chorus of West Edge Opera, Festival Opera, Island City opera, and the Andrea Fulton Chorale. She is also majoring in psychology. In what little free time she can find, she enjoys painting, learning German, Italian, and French, and teaching herself guitar, eating sushi, and hanging out with her friends.

Melody King is thrilled to sing with the Open Opera Concert. Recent roles sung include Lucrezia (I due Foscari), Cio Cio San (Madama Butterfly), and soloist for the Soirée Series with Livermore Valley Opera. As Artist in Residence with Opera San Jose, Ms. King performed the roles of Leonora (Il Trovatore), Rosalinda (Die Fledermaus), and Leila (Les pêcheurs de perles). Additional roles performed include Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), First Lady (Magic Flute), Yvette (La Rondine), Duenna (Der Rosenkavalier), Nora (Riders to the Sea), Lillian Russell (The Mother of us all.) Ms King has sung for Opera San Jose, Livermore Valley Opera, West Bay Opera, West Edge Opera, Verismo Opera, Bayshore Lyric Opera, and Lowell House Opera. Ms. King is a graduate of New England Conservatory of Music with a Master of Music degree in concentration in Music in Education. She was selected as a semi-finalist in 2007 for NATS Boston Chapter song and aria competition. In addition to performing Ms. King teaches classical voice privately and participates in school outreach master classes. For upcoming engagements, please visit www.melodyking.net

Bradley Kynard is pleased to premiere the role of Lazarus (Voyage of Mary Magdalene). Recently, Mr. Kynard made his San Francisco Opera debut as Daggoo in (Moby Dick). Previous roles include Alfio (Cavalleria Rusticana), Remendado (Carmen), and Lord Cecil (Roberto Devereux) with Pocket Opera. Other engagements include Marchese d’Obiny (La Traviata) with Opera San Jose, Chirurgo (La Forza del destino)with West Bay Opera and Robbins (Porgy and Bess) with Mendocino Music Festival. Upcoming engagements include Yamadori (Madama Butterfly) with Livermore Valley Opera, Peter (Hansel and Gretel) and Schaunard (La Boheme). Mr. Kynard has performed with the San Francisco Opera chorus for the past seven seasons. bradleykynard.com

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. Other companies he has performed roles with include Virginia Opera, Tricities Opera, Ashlawn Opera Festival, Portland Opera to Go, and Des Moines Metro Opera.
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.

Eileen Meredith, 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 and Island City Opera’s 2015 which included Lucia di Lammermoor, Mr. Bruschino, and Il Tabarro. Eileen will be performing the role of Gilda in Rigoletto and Mimi in La Boheme for Island City Opera in 2016. 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. 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. 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 and two concerts with Sonos in a premiere of Libby Larsen’s Hell’s Belles. 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.

Angela Moser has enjoyed performing in and around the Bay Area for several years. She has sung with various groups including Virago Theater, Pocket Opera, Capitol Opera, Open Opera, and more, performing operatic roles as well as concert repertoire. Angela has also been happy to join the San Francisco Opera for numerous productions, singing in the chorus since 2002. She holds a BA from Dominican University of California, and a Master of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Ellen St. Thomas, co –founder of Open Opera performs, teaches, produces and directs. She has performed with West Bay Opera, Livermore Valley Opera and San Francisco Lyric Opera in 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, Rachmaninoff’s, Aleko for the Russian Center in San Francisco and Il Trovatore for Virago Theater Company and Il Tabarro for Island City Opera. Ellen collaborates with Bay Area composers and has performed music by Nancy Bachmann, JJ Hollingsworth and Bruce Nalezny. She recently produced a new chamber opera Voyage of Mary Magdalene by Nancy Bachmann. Co-founder if Island City Opera, Alameda she performed Alisa in Lucia D’Lammermore . In 2016, Ellen will be performing Giovanna in Rigoletto and directing La Bohème for Island City Opera. Islandcityopera.org

Free Opera Concert July 26, 2015 @ 4PM

Monday, July 13th, 2015

Open Opera
ORINDA COMMUNITY PARK - Sunday, July 26, 2015 @ 4 pm
Sponsored by the Orinda Rotary Club and the Orinda Community Foundation


Dawn Farry, soprano Chester Pidduck, tenor Ellen St. Thomas, M.C.
Buffy Baggott, mezzo-soprano Paul Cheak, bass-baritone James Meredith, piano


National Anthem

“Libiamo ne’ lieti calici” from LA TRAVIATA - Giuseppe Verdi

“Udite” - L’ELISIR D’AMORE - Gaetano Donizetti
Paul Cheak

“Ecco ridente” - IL BARBIERE DI SIVILGIA - Gioacchino Rossini
Chester Pidduck

COSI FAN TUTTE trio - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Dawn Farry, Buffy Baggott, Paul Cheak

“Una voce poco fa” - IL BARBIERE DI SIVILGIA - Gioacchino Rossini
Buffy Baggott

“Chi il bel sogno” - LA RONDINE - Giacomo Puccini
Dawn Farry

PEARL FISHERS duet - Georges Bizet
Chester Pidduck & Paul Cheak

RIGOLETTO Quartet - Giuseppe Verdi

Barcarolle - TALES OF HOFFMANN - Jacques Offenbach
Dawn Farry & Buffy Baggott

“Old Man River” - PORGY & BESS - George Gershwin
Paul Cheak

“Love Is Where You Find It!” - KISSING BANDIT - Nacio Herb Brown
Dawn Farry

“Una furtiva lagrima” - L’ELISIR D’AMORE - Gaetano Donizetti
Chester Pidduck

FIDELIO Quartet - Ludwig van Beethoven

SIMON BOCCANEGRA duet - Giuseppe Verdi
Dawn Farry & Paul Cheak

“Make Our Garden Grow” - CANDIDE - Leonard Bernstein

“Libiamo” from LA TRAVIATA - Giuseppe Verdi

Singer’s Biographies
Dawn Farry, soprano
Dawn Farry (aka Aurora Bardes) made her operatic debut with Seattle Opera in The Marriage of Figaro. She returned to Seattle as a woodnymph in Rusalka, and then to understudy the roles of Wellgunde and Siegrune in Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Dawn received her Master of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and has performed in operas and concerts throughout the Bay Area, along the West Coast and in Germany. After a hiatus as a regular performer, Dawn is happy to return to the concert stage by creating and singing soprano with the Viviamo Opera Quartet! Dawn’s career includes the title roles in Carmen with Pacific Repertory Opera, West Bay and North Bay Operas. The San Mateo Times reviewed her Carmen as, “…an enchantress…delivered the character with beautifully nuanced singing and brilliant acting.”
Of her Tosca performances at West Bay and Tacoma Opera, the Redwood City Almanac states - “…she brought vitality and strong soprano richness to [Tosca]…with skilled body and vocal conviction. The applause was loud and long, by a fully standing audience.” Dawn also performed to rave reviews, the roles of Rosina in The Barber of Seville with North Bay and Festival Opera, Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus and Nicklausse in The Tales of Hoffmann with West Bay Opera, Natasha in War and Peace, Ljubasha in The Czar’s Bride with the Russian Opera Theater and Nancy in Martha with Berkeley Opera. Dawn has participated in masterclasses with renowned leaders in the music world, those including Speight Jenkins, Warren Jones, Wesley Balk, Giorgio Tozzi, Carol Vaness, Renata Scotto and Alfredo Kraus. She was soloist for the “Sing-It-Yourself Messiah” at Davies Symphony Hall while studying for her Master’s degree and has been guest artist with numerous orchestras, choral organizations and churches on the West Coast. She has won several vocal performance awards, including the prestigious Ungara Diva Award and 1st place prize from the East Bay Opera League. She conducts a private music studio in the San Francisco Bay Area and has students with successful performing careers and more on the track to one in the future! Such be the “cherry on top” of it all!

Buffy Baggott, mezzo-soprano
Buffy Baggott has gained recognition throughout the United States as an accomplished and highly versatile lyric mezzo soprano. She studied vocal performance at UCLA and San Francisco State Universities, went on to complete two apprenticeships with the Santa Fe Opera and is an alumnus of the prestigious Lyric Opera Center for American Artists, now known as the Ryan Opera Center. The role of Carmen is Ms. Baggott’s signature role. She has performed it with LOCAA, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Arizona Opera, Pamiro Opera, France’s Festival Lyrique de Belle Ile en Mer, Festival Opera, Berkeley West Edge , Spokane and Manitoba Opera companies. Of her performance in Ariadne auf Naxos, the San Francisco Chronicle sums up nearly every view of Buffy’s great talent and voice, “The cast was first-rate, beginning with mezzo-soprano Buffy Baggott’s superlative turn as the Composer. Baggott’s local performances have been reliable treasures for years now, in both traditional and new repertoire, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard her sing with such finely controlled urgency, such tonal brilliance or such theatrical flair.” Buffy has also appeared with San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Opera, San Diego Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Portland Opera and Hawaii Opera Theater. Recently, she was heard in San Diego’s NIXON IN CHINA and Hawaii Opera’s SWEENEY TODD. This summer she returns to San Francisco Opera, appearing in Les Troyens and La Ciocara and singing Countess Geschwitz in Lulu with West Edge Opera. Ms. Baggott served on the Bay View Music Festival’s voice faculty from 2009-2012 and maintains a private voice studio in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is a member of AGMA, Sing for America, The East Bay Opera League and Viviamo Opera Quartet!

Chester Pidduck, tenor
Chester Pidduck has sung opera, recitals, concerts, musical theatre, and oratorio throughout the country. Recently Chester has sung mostly with both the Metropolitan Opera and the San Francisco Opera choruses. In 2015 he played the role of the 1st Moroccan Soldier in the world premiere of Two Women with San Francisco Opera. Also with SF Opera, in 2013, he played the role of a Seeker in the world premiere of Mark Adamo’s The Gospel of Mary Magdalene. Other recent roles with San Francisco Opera include Parpignol in La Boheme, Nantucket Sailor in Moby Dick, and 1st slave in The Magic Flute. Chester has performed lead roles with San Francisco Opera a la carte for the last 4 seasons, including Tamino, Rodolfo, and Count Almaviva. He was tenor soloist in Beethoven’s Mass in C at the newly opened Bing Hall in Stanford, CA in 2013. Chester won a Grammy award in 2013 as a member of the chorus in the Metropolitan Opera’s Ring Cycle from 2012. Also in 2012, he played the role of Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore with High Desert Opera in Colorado, and tenor soloist in Handel’s Messiah with Messiah Choral Society of Grand Junction. In 2011, Chester played the role of Count Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Opera San Jose, Opera San Luis Obispo and High Desert Opera. Chester was also soloist with San Francisco Symphony in Orff’s Carmina Burana, In 2010, Chester played the role of Rodolfo in La Boheme with Opera San Luis Obispo, Mission City Opera, and Virago Theatre Company. Chester was featured in an article in the March 2009 issue of Classical Singer magazine. In 2007, Chester sang four roles with Opera Colorado and sang the roles of Lieutenant Cable in South Pacific and the Padre in Man of la Mancha with Colorado Light Opera. Mr. Pidduck was concert soloist several times and had roles in six operas while working on his Master of Music degree at Indiana University. In 2006 he performed the role of Simon Stimson in the world premier of Rorem’s Our Town. He has also sung with Glimmerglass Opera, Central City Opera, Nashville Opera, Union Avenue Opera, and Sarasota Opera. He has been tenor soloist with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, the Bach Society of St. Louis, and the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. He did his undergraduate work at Hendrix College and the University of Salamanca, Spain. He has also studied in Florence, Italy and Paris, France, and received his Master of Music in vocal performance from Indiana University in 2007.

Paul Cheak, bass-baritone
Paul Cheak, bass-baritone, has performed with great success at the opera companies of San Diego, Colorado Opera Festival, Berkeley, Berkeley’s West Edge, North Bay, Festival Opera of Walnut Creek, Cinnabar Theater, Virago Theater, Golden Gate Opera, San Diego Street Opera, Orange County Opera, Pacific Lyric Theater and La Strata Opera. Among the roles he has performed are Mephistopheles in Gounod’s Faust, Dr. Dulcamara, Germont, Silvio, Dr. Bartolo, Dr. Falke, the title roles in Falstaff, Don Pasquale and Gianni Schicchi. The Fairfield Reporter reviewed Paul’s Falstaff, “…full, resonant timbres were every bit the equal of his lively dramatic skills. His arias were examples of his warm delivery and his ability to harbor and convey the bloated moocher and loudmouth’s darkness and simmering resentments.” Livermore Independent pays Paul a great compliment in L’Elisir d’Amore, “To see Paul Cheak play Dr. Dulcamara was alone worth the price of admission!” Paul is equally at home on the concert stage. His soloist appearances for the Colorado Springs, San Diego Symphony, Kensington, Denver, Long Beach, Vallejo, Contra Costa, and The New Millennium Strings have been to critical acclaim. Recently, Paul made his debut with Island City Opera as Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor. A Los Angeles native, Cheak has lived in Benicia 24 years. He has earned musical degrees at The Colorado College and San Diego State University, and has studied voice with Giorgio Tozzi. He is a welcomed and valued voice in the new ensemble, Viviamo Opera Quartet!


Wednesday, 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.


Wednesday, 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


Friday, July 12th, 2013



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



Wednesday, August 1st, 2012



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

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:

“Women in Song” at UC Botanical Garden July 21

Saturday, July 9th, 2011



Tuesday, May 10th, 2011



Berkeley, California (May 10, 2011)—Open Opera is very proud to present a free afternoon concert featuring opera’s best-loved arias and ensembles. The sensuous and joyful sounds of Mozart, Verdi, Puccini and Bizet will be performed by outstanding Bay Area singers. Open Opera extends opera’s reach to park audiences with award-winning performers and extraordinary newly discovered singers. Concert in the Park is a FREE community event and perfect for everyone. Bring the family, children, loved ones, and a blanket to experience this operatic event. Don’t miss the opportunity to bask in the sun, under the oaks while enjoying a glorious musical feast.

WHAT: Free performance of crowd-pleasing opera favorites
WHEN: Saturday, MAY 21, 3-4:30 pm
WHERE: Live Oak Park in Northeast Berkeley, 1301 Shattuck Avenue, at Berryman Street between Shattuck and Oxford
(MAP: http://tinyhttp.com/liveoakpark)
Live Oak Park is accessible to all persons with disabilities. To request disability accommodations and/or sign language interpretation please call within one week advance of this event.
Parking in the event area is limited so public transportation is encouraged.
CONTACT: Open Opera, 510-547-2471, info@openopera.net

May 7, 2011 Dimond Park Concert Program

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

OPEN OPERA presents
An Opera Concert in the Park
Dimond Park, Oakland, CA
May 7, 2011 3PM

Shawnette Sulker: “Ah! Je veux vivre” from Roméo et Juliette by Gounod

Carolyne Anne Jordan: “Chi’l bel sogno di Doretta” from La Rodine by Puccini

Leland Morine: “Kogda by zhizn domashnim krugom” (Onegin’s Aria) from Eugene Onegin by Tchaikovsky

Rebecca Krouner: “Non più mesta” from La Cenerentola by Rossini

Buffy Baggott and Shawnette Sulker: “Presentation of the Rose” from Der Rosenkavalier by R. Strauss

Pedro Rodelas: “Ch’ella mi creda” from Fanciulla Del West by Puccini

Carolyne Anne Jordan, Alexandra Jerinic, and Leland Morine: “Soave sia il vento” from Cosi fan tutte by Mozart

Eileen Meredith: “Sempre libera” from La Traviata by Verdi


Shawnette Sulker and Rebecca Krouner: “Viens, Mallika” or the Flower Duet from Lakmé by Delibes

Alexandra Jerinic: “Non so piu” The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart

Wayne Wong: “Toreador Song” from Carmen by Bizet

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

Pedro Rodelas and Leland Morine: “Au font du temple saint” from Les Pecheurs de perles by Bizet

Buffy Baggott: “Seguidilla” from Carmen by Bizet

Shawnette Sulker, Rebecca Krouner, Pedro Rodelas and Leland Morine: “Bella figlia dell’amore” from Rigoletto by Verdi

Open Opera’s Upcoming Events:
May 21, 3PM Concert in the Park, Live Oak Park, Berkeley
July 31, 4PM Concert in the Park, Orinda (Sponsored by Orinda Rotary)

Open Opera brings free, professional opera to Bay Area parks and uses public space to build community through the arts. Openopera.net

This concert is sponsored by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The East Bay Community Foundation and people like you!

Mezzo Soprano Buffy Baggott is a California Native who has performed leading and featured roles with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Los Angeles Opera, San Francisco Opera, and Canadian Opera Company (among others). Locally, she was last heard as Carmen in Berkeley West Edge Opera’s production of “The Carmen Fixation.” Upcoming performances include concerts at The Bay View Music Festival and dreite dame cover in “Die Zauberflöte” for Lyric Opera Chicago.

Elizabeth Baker, Creative Director 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.

Alexandra Jerinic has been an active performer in the Bay Area for the past three years. She recently created the role of Mrs. Hale in the world premiere of John Bilotta’s opera Trifles. She also placed in the East Bay Opera League’s 2010 Young Artist Scholarship Competition. Other recent credits include Katisha in The Mikado, Albine in Thais, and Yeomen of the Guard with Lamplighters Music Theater. This summer she will perform the role of Dorabella in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte at the California Opera Association’s summer institute.

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.

Mezzo-soprano Rebecca Krouner is an active performer in the Bay Area. Recent performances include Meg Page (Falstaff) with North Bay Opera, Kate Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly) with Golden Gate Opera, and Lady Ella (Patience) with Lamplighters Theater. Upcoming performances include the premiere of a contemporary piece with San Francisco-based Earplay and Cherubino with Pocket Opera.

Washington, D.C. native Eileen Meredith has been singing professionally for the last 15 years. She is currently performing the role of Violetta in La Traviata with Virago Theatre Company (viragotheatre.org) In 2010, Eileen performed as Mimi in La Boheme for Virago Theater and one critic exclaimed “her duets…came as near to heartbreak as the [audience] can bear.” A co-founder of Virago, she also played the role of Polly Peachum in The Threepenny Opera and Cunegonde in Candide. She has performed with San Francisco Opera, Berkeley Opera, Goat Hall Productions, Pocket Opera, Livermore Valley Opera, and Sonoma City Opera.

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.

Pedro Rodelas’ stage credits include principal roles in La Boheme, Carmen, Tosca, Madame Butterfly, La Traviata, La Fanciulla del West, and Faust. Pedro recently appeared as The Lover in “Amelia goes to the Ball” with Mendocino Chamber Opera and as Don Jose in Berkeley West Edge Opera’s production of “The Carmen Fixation”. Upcoming engagements include appearing as a featured soloist at the Mendocino Music Festival and returning as Chef Pierre as part of The Bracebridge Dinner at Yosemite National Park. Pedro is currently a member of the San Francisco Opera Chorus and also appears frequently with the internationally acclaimed performing group, The Three Waiters.

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.

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.

Shawnette Sulker has been a soloist with San Francisco Opera, Mark Morris Dance Group, American Bach Soloists, Hawaii Opera Theatre and Internationale Opera Producties (The Netherlands). Roles include Adele (Die Fledermaus), Die Königin der Nacht (Die Zauberflöte), Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Musetta (La Bohème), Despina (Così fan tutte). Upcoming, she appears in West Bay Opera’s Dido and Aeneas and Festival Opera’s The Most Happy Fella.

Wayne Wong has sung roles in over 50 Bay Area opera productions. Upcoming engagements include Antonio in Pocket Opera’s production of Figaro in July. He also performs as an actor, with assorted public readings and commercial voiceovers to his credit.

The Magic of Singing Tips and Tricks for Developing your Singing Voice by Lucy Beck

Friday, March 18th, 2011


Tips and Tricks to Developing your Singing Voice is written for any singer, voice teacher or choral director.

From the first page, you step into a friendly voice studio, and through the course of this almost pocket-sized book, learn how your voice works, and how to approach learning to sing with your own unique voice.

Starting with a solid and easy to understand basis of anatomy for singing, you quickly move to a question and answer format for most of the book, such as “Can I extend my range, and “How do I sing with more tone and less air?”, with a short explanation of how that works in the voice. Whimsical cartoons throughout the book keep you engaged and enjoying the process.

Yes, there is magic in singing and this book gives you plenty of tips and tricks to start developing your own beautiful and magical voice.

What are Voice Teachers saying about The Magic of Singing?

Wendy Hillhouse - Mezzo-soprano, recent co-chair of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music
“Lucy Beck’s little book, The Magic of Singing is WONDERFUL. It has charming drawings so it looks like a book for young people, but it’s not childish at all. It is simply the best summary of how we sing, in language that is easy to read and understand, that I have ever seen. Lucy’s background in science enables her to explain complicated stuff simply and clearly and, as far as I can tell, correctly. But the singer in Lucy also understands and includes the magic (note book title) and sheer joy in discovering how to sing. It’s perfect for every voice student of every age, their parents and spouses, as well as for choristers who would like to be able to differentiate good vocal advice from bad. Check it out.”
Wendy Hillhouse