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Archive for the ‘Press Releases’ Category

Open Opera Receives Grant from the City of Berkeley

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

PRESS RELEASE
March 16, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact
Ellen St. Thomas
510-547-2471
ellen@openopera.net
openopera.net

Open Opera, a Berkeley-based nonprofit now in its third year of bringing professional quality, admissions-free opera concerts to Bay Area parks, received a two-year grant in August 2010 from the City of Berkeley’s Civic Arts Grant Program to support performances during its 2010- 2011 season. In the first year of the grant Open Opera brought a fully-costumed and staged performance of Mozart’s Don Giovanni to Berkeley, free of charge. This year’s lineup includes 4 performances of Cosi fan tutti to be held at Berkeley’s John Hinkel Park during weekends in July, along with a roster of free opera voice concerts to take place at parks throughout the East Bay.

“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. Susan Wengraf, Berkeley City Council Member, District 6, adds, “Open Opera makes opera accessible to everyone, regardless of income. They offer an extraordinary opportunity to enjoy professionally performed opera to our community!”

Internationally- renowned soprano Olivia Stapp co-founded Open Opera in 2008 because “We wanted to return opera to its informal origins so a music lover can listen, walk around, or picnic during a performance.” Executive Director Ellen St. Thomas, the nonprofit group’s third co-founder, says Open Opera “makes opera accessible and enjoyable for a wider audience, without the cost or formality. The people of Berkeley have embraced Open Opera’s efforts with an outpouring of support for its performances so it’s a real honor for the City of Berkeley to become an official sponsor.”

Since its founding in 2008, Open Opera has produced four performances of Mozart’s masterpieces, The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni, complete with period costumes and an orchestra at John Hinkel Park in Berkeley, seven concerts in Bay Area parks, (four concerts at Live Oak Park) and three master classes (held at the Berkeley Piano Club), all featuring international artists. The group estimates that its free public performances have reached an estimated 6,000 people in Berkeley and employed approximately 200 local singers, pianists, instrumentalists and craftspeople.

“What a treat to have Open Opera in the heart of our North Berkeley summer. Beautiful music. Beautiful setting. Hundreds of happy opera lovers. Thank you!” exclaimed Laurie Capitelli, Berkeley City Council Member, District 5.

Upcoming events:
May 21, 2011 at 3PM Opera Concert in the Park at Live Oak Park, Berkeley
July 9/10 and 16/17 at 3PM Cosi fan tutte, an opera by Mozart sung in Italian with English supertitles, fully staged with costumes and orchestra conducted by Jonathan Khuner, stage directed by Olivia Stapp at John Hinkel Park.

Open Opera presents : “Mastering the Mozart Style” with Tomoko Okada

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

OPEN OPERA presents
Master Class with Tomoko Okada
“Mastering the Mozart Style”
Berkeley Piano Club
2724 Haste Street
Berkeley, CA 94705
Sunday, January 30, 2011
6PM-9PM

Open Opera begins its 2011 season by presenting a master class with coach Tomoko Okada.
About Tomoko:
“Tomoko Okada has been a coach in German Opera Houses for many years, culminating in 10 years at the Bayrische Staatsoper in Munich where she worked with the world’s top conductors and singers. She is Jeaneane Alemeyer’s (the famous Wagnerian Soprano) favorite coach in Germany. It turns out she also worked with Olivia Stapp, when she was singing Elektra at Frankfurt-am-Rhein!

Tomoko is kind, enthusiastic and upbeat while keeping you to top international standards of musicality and diction. She is an incomparable pianist as she is able to play “impossible to play” pieces (Wagner, Richard Strauss, Berg).
Since she is so familiar with the German theater system and plays regularly for top agent auditions, she was very insightful about helping me pick audition repertoire.” – Elender Wall, mezzo-soprano, Los Angeles

Tomoko: “I was fortunate to work with great conductors that perform music in the right style. But singers can discover the style independently if they learn how to read the music properly. You can never be precise enough and I find looking at music and discovering the intention of the composer infinitely fascinating. Singers will appreciate Tomoko’s extensive experience as the go between the conductor and the singer. Conductors are more impressed with singers who are great musicians-those that understand the music intimately. Great musicians bring out better conductors. To my great delight my approach is enjoyed by singers.”

“Three keys to excellent recitative performance: learn as it is written, pay attention to the harmony changes, which word has a particular rhythm, where the composer puts the rest, which word has the longest note in the phrase tells us which word the composer wants to emphasize.”

“Two great weapons: 1) Free to change the tempo when the recitative does not need conducted.
2) Free to change the dynamics.

“As a rehearsal pianist, you play from the opera score and you have certain freedom, what to play and what not to play. You do this every day 7 days a week, for years, you develop a certain style of playing.”

“I was fortunate to work at the opera house where I could represent the orchestra during the day and then at night listened to the orchestra.” (Colleagues complimented Tomoko saying that they could hear the orchestra in her playing. MAGIC!”)

“When you figure out the right phrasing then you use breath the most efficient way, therefore the voice is more beautiful. Also, be very aware of the melody, harmony and rhythm. Melody is easy for singers. That is why singers must pay attention to harmony and rhythm.”

Reflections from Olivia Stapp: “ I think she goes past the written score and brings new insights and deep understanding therefore brings music making to a whole different level. One could say the international level. What makes Tomoko so valuable is she worked in the German system where there are performances every night for months and months, therefore, her repertory range is vast from early music to contemporary. It is unusual to have access to someone with this type experience in the Bay Area. This master class is an opportunity for artists to upgrade their skills, develop a new approach to preparing music performance. Tomoko’s playing will also be a revelation for accompanists as her piano playing is renowned for her mastery of reflecting the elements of the orchestra. “
Tomoko Collaborations:

Conductors: Zuben Mehta, Guiseppe Patane, Peter Schneider, Horst Stein, Silvio Varviso, Jacque Delaote, Marcello Viotti,
Michael Gielen, Donald Runnicles,Nicola Luisotti, Marco Armilieato, Alberto Zedda (Rossini expert)

Singers: Jeannine Altmeyer, Edita Gruberova, Sheri Grenewald Cheryl Studer, Pietra Maria Schnitzer, Barbara Bonney, Linda Watson, Agnes Baltsa, Feruccio Furlanetto, Manfred Schank, Uglia Varady, Franz Grundheber, Dennis O’Neill, Louis Quillico, Anna Nebtrebko, Diana Damrau

Opera Houses: Opera Frankfurt, Munich and Brussells Geneva

Handel: Ariodante, Rinaldo Iver Bolton) Rodelinda, Saul, Guilio Cesare, Xerxes
-Mozart: Figaro, Zauberflute, Cosi, Abduction, Ideomeno, Clemenza di tito
-Beethoven: Fidelio Zuben Mehta, Waltrud Meyer, Peter Sieffert
Der Freishutz
Bellini: I Puritani, I Capitetti e Montechi,
Donizetti: Don Pasquale, L’elisir d’amore (Barbara Bonney)
Rossini: Il Barbarieri di Seville, Cenorentolla, Italiani in algeri, Il Turco in Italia, Musee
Verdi: Aida, Don Carlo, Il Trovatore, La Forza Del Destino, La Traviata, Simon Boccanegra, Othello, Falstaff, Un Ballo in Maschera, Macbeth, Nabbucco
Puccini: Tosca, Manon Lescaut, Turandot, La Boheme, Il Triticco
Bizet: Carmen

Wagner: Tannhauser, Tristan und Isolde, Parsifal, Lohegrin, Dutchman, The Ring
Richard Strauss: Rosenkavelier, Salome, Elekra, Ariadne auf Naxos, Capriccio, Arabella
Berg: Lulu

She is available for private coachings until Feb 1st. She is charging $75, and is coaching in San Francisco, near City College of San Francisco.

Call 415-587-0836 or email elender@elenderwall.com for appointments.

DON GIOVANNI at JOHN HINKEL PARK, BERKELEY

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

OPEN OPERA TO OFFER FOUR FREE PERFORMANCES OF MOZART’S
“DON GIOVANNI” AT BERKELEY’S JOHN HINKEL PARK
AUGUST 7,8, 14, & 15 at 3PM
BERKELEY, CA, August 2, 2010 –

Rehearsals for Open Opera’s free outdoor productions of W.A. Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” are in full swing as the cast and crew prepare for four performances in Berkeley’s John Hinkel Park on August 7, 8, 14, and 15, all at 3:00 p.m.

John Hinkel Park is in northeast Berkeley at 41 Somerset Avenue. Over 2000 people enjoyed two free performances of Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro” in the 700-seat historic amphitheater there last July. Handicapped access is available.  Come early to get the best seats, bring a blanket and a chair for your comfort.  Wine, soda and sandwiches will be sold.

The cast of professional singers in “Don Giovanni” includes Igor Vieira as Don Giovanni, Jo Vincent Parks (Leporello), Elizabeth Baker (Zerlina), Angela Moser (Donna Anna), Aimee Puentes (Donna Elvira), and Carlos Aguilar (Il Commendatore). Open Opera’s Artistic Director, Olivia Stapp, provides stage direction, assisted by Music Director Jonathan Khuner, who leads the orchestra. Laura Ellis is the choreographer and Open Opera’s Ellen St. Thomas is the production manager.
CAST
Don Giovanni: Igor Vieira
Leporello: Jo Vincent Parks
Donna Anna: Angela Moser
Don Ottavio: Mike Desnoyers
Donna Elvira: Aimee Puentes
Zerlina: Elizabeth Baker
Masetto: Ryan Bradford
Il Commendatore: Carlos Aguilar
Stage Director: Olivia Stapp
Music Director: Jonathan Khuner
Assistant Music Director: Bruce Olstad
Chorus: Rick Bogart, Zachary Howard, Nicholas Losorelli, Brie Martin, Michelle Persoff, Elenka Proulx, Cameron Sorensen, Cristin Williams

 

DO NOT MISS THIS EVENT!!!  

oo-giovanni-girl

 

 

Concert at Live Oak Park-June 27, 2010

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

teresa_tam_100514_6959FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

OPEN OPERA RETURNS TO BERKELEY’S LIVE OAK PARK
WITH FREE OPERA CONCERT JUNE 27

BERKELEY, CA, June 11, 2010 –

Open Opera returns to Berkeley’s Live Oak Park at 3:00 PM on Sunday, June 27, with a free opera concert featuring Bay Area singers performing opera favorites in the outdoors.

On October 25, 2008, Open Opera offered its very first free outdoor opera concert at Live Oak Park, which is at 1301 Shattuck Avenue (at Berryman Street) in northeast Berkeley.

Open Opera’s professional singers come from all over northern California. Stay tuned for a listing of the singers.

Open Opera will offer four free performances of W. A. Mozart’s opera “Don Giovanni” at Berkeley’s John Hinkel Park on August 7, 8, 14, and 15. About 3000 people enjoyed two free performances of Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro” there last July. Open Opera will also offer
more free outdoor concerts this summer.

Artistic Director Olivia Stapp, who lives in Berkeley, co-founded Open Opera “to bring free, professional opera to Bay Area parks and use public space to build community through the arts…We wanted to return opera to its informal origins. At beautiful venues like Live Oak Park a music lover can listen, play with the kids, or picnic during a concert.” After a long and successful international opera career as a soprano, Stapp is offering Master classes for talented northern California professional singers as well as places to sing in the great outdoors. Executive Director Ellen St. Thomas, who co-founded the nonprofit group, says Open Opera “makes opera accessible and enjoyable for a wider audience, without cost or formality. We couldn’t wait to come back to Live Oak Park again.”

“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,” adds mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Baker, Open Opera’s third co-founder and its Creative Director. Baker performed the role of Cherubino in last summer’s Marriage of Figaro. “It is great to see the kids playing and sitting in the trees while enjoying opera music.”

AC Transit’s line 18 bus serves Live Oak Park from Albany and downtown Berkeley Carpooling, walking, or bicycling are recommended: parking is limited in the area.

Open Opera is supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the City of Berkeley and by private donations. For more information on Open Opera, future performances, master classes, or to volunteer or support opera in public spaces, visit www.openopera.net or contact Executive Director Ellen St. Thomas (ellen@openopera.net; 510-547-2471).

OPEN OPERA AT CRAB COVE, ALAMEDA, CA

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

WABA’S CRAB COVE CONCERT OPENER MAY 14 FEATURES

OPEN OPERA, LOCAL ALAMEDA SINGERS

Alameda, CA, May 5, 2010 –

Open Opera will present world-famous opera favorites at the 2010 season’s first free Concert at Crab Cove on Friday, May 14 from 5:30 – 7:30 PM in West Alameda.

The first Concert at Crab Cove marks Open Opera’s second Alameda performance. Singers from throughout northern California will sing opera favorites by Puccini, Mozart, Verdi, and others. On June 20, 2009, Open Opera offered its Alameda premiere at Franklin Park, where 300 people including mothers with infants, retired couples on bikes, picnicking families, and kids sitting in trees listened to famous opera arias. Last July about 3000 people enjoyed two free performances of Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro” Berkeley’s sunny John Hinkel Park.

Open Opera will offer more outdoor concerts this summer, plus four performances of W. A. Mozart’s opera “Don Giovanni” at John Hinkel Park on August 7, 8, 13, and 14.

Artistic Director Olivia Stapp co-founded Open Opera “to bring free, professional opera to Bay Area parks and use public space to build community through the arts…We wanted to return opera to its informal origins. At a beautiful venue like Crab Cove a music lover can listen, play with the kids, or picnic during a concert.” After a long and successful international opera career as a soprano, Stapp is offering Master classes for talented northern California professional singers as well as places to sing in the great outdoors. Executive Director Ellen St. Thomas, a co-founder of the nonprofit group, says Open Opera “makes opera accessible and enjoyable for a wider audience, without cost or formality…We couldn’t wait to come back to Alameda after the wonderful welcome we received at Franklin Park last summer.”

“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,” adds mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Baker, Open Opera’s third co-founder and its Creative Director. Baker performed the role of Cherubino in last summer’s Figaro. “It was great to see the kids sitting in the trees and enjoying the music at Franklin Park.”

The Crab Cove Visitor Center is at 1252 McKay Avenue, just off Central Avenue and Webster Street. Food and refreshments will be available for purchase, and BikeAlameda will provide free Valet Bike Parking at these free concerts produced by the West Alameda Business Association (WABA). Carpooling, walking, or bicycling are recommended: car parking is limited in the neighborhood.

Open Opera is supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and by private donations. For more information on Open Opera, future performances, master classes, or to volunteer or support opera in public spaces, visit www.openopera.net or contact Executive Director Ellen St. Thomas (ellen@openopera.net; 510-547-2471).

Jeannine Altmeyer Master Class - Don’t Miss!

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

OPEN OPERA PRESENTS: WAGNERIAN SOPRANO JEANNINE ALTMEYER
APRIL 10 at THE BERKELEY PIANO CLUB

Berkeley, California (April 1, 2010)—Open Opera opens its 2010 season with an insightful master class on April 10 with dramatic soprano Jeannine Altmeyer.

Audience members will witness a great artist unveil secrets of opera performance while select singers will have the opportunity to work with one of the leading Wagnerian sopranos of our time. In this latest offering from Open Opera’s Master class series, Jeannine Altmeyer will offer technical and interpretive insight to emerging artists. Whether you sing at church, in a community chorus, or simply wish to learn how opera singers do it, there is much to gain from joining Open Opera at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 10, at the Berkeley Piano Club in Berkeley.

Soprano Jeannine Altmeyer first captured the attention of the opera world when, at 21, she won first prize in several major competitions, including the national Metropolitan Opera Auditions. She has been praised for her portrayal of Brunnhilde in Wagner’s Ring operas, Leonore in Fidelio, and Isolde in Tristan and Isolde. She has performed these and other roles extensively in the world’s major opera houses including the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, Paris, La Scala, Rome, Teatro Colon, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Ms. Altmeyer has served as Guest Artist and Master class Teacher at the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival since 2005.

The Berkeley Piano Club is accessible to all persons with disabilities.

WHAT: Master class with Wagnerian soprano Jeannine Altmeyer
WHEN: Saturday, April 10, 2010, at 7:00 PM
WHERE: The Berkeley Piano Club, 2724 Haste Street, Berkeley, CA 94704
COST: $15 suggested donation
MAP: Google Map link:†http://tinyurl.com/BerkeleyPianoClubMap
TRANSIT: AC Transit local line 51B, also 49, 52, 851
CONTACT: Open Opera (510-547-2471; info@openopera.net, www.openopera.net)