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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


Missa Solemnis with Cantare Chorale

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Mezzo-soprano, Megan Berti

Mezzo-soprano, Megan Berti

Megan will be premiering her first Missa Solemnis with Cantare Chorale. She was graduate of the SummerSong program which was produced by the Vocal Arts Institute, Open Opera’s fiscal sponsor. Megan is graduating in May from Eastman School of Music, Univ. of Rochester, with a masters in Vocal Performance. She will be participating in the Univ of Houston’s Moores School of Music Vocal Performance Certificate Program in the fall.

Ludwig van Beethoven
Missa Solemnis
Cantare Chorale
David Morales, Conductor

Kristin Clayton, Megan Berti, Thomas Glenn, Philip Skinner

Saturday, March 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Pre-Concert Lecture at 6:30 p.m.
Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church

On March 19th, the Cantare Chorale, with soloists and orchestra – over 150 musicians in all – will perform one of the most dramatic choral works ever written, Beethoven’s
Missa Solemnis. This masterwork reflects Beethoven at the height of his musical capabilities, placing physical and emotional demands on the performers that ultimately produce a setting of these liturgical texts that is both breathtaking and deeply profound. We are called by the
Missa Solemnis to assess our relationship to the Source of Life, our responsibility to one another, and the sincerity of our desire for peace. This is not to be missed!

Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church
1801 Lacassie Ave, Walnut Creek

General $40, Senior $35
Young Professionals $30, Youth $10
Tickets can be purchased online or through the office by calling 510.836.0789.

Program for Jeannine Altmeyer Master Class 2010

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Open Opera Master Class Series 2010
presents Jeannine Altmeyer
Berkeley Piano Club
April 10, 2010 7PM
Pianists: Chun Mei Wilson and James Meredith
Host: Olivia Stapp
Angela Moser “Dich, teure Halle” Tannhäuser, Wagner
Elender Wall “Du bist der Lenz” Die Walküre, Wagner
Megan Cullen “Es gibt ein Reich” Ariadne auf Naxos, Strauss
Elizabeth Baker
Paula Goodman Wilder Immolation Scene “So-werf’ ich den Brand, in Walhalls prangende Burg” Götterdämmerung, Wagner
Eileen Meredith “Donde lieta” La Bohème by Puccini
Lisa Houston “Sein wir wieder gut” Ariadne auf Naxos, Strauss
Lisa van der Ploeg “Wo in Bergen du dich birgst” Die Walküre, Wagner
Christine Springer “Der Männer Sippe sass hier im Saal” Die Walküre, Wagner
Heather McFadden “Weiche Wotan” Das Reingold, Wagner