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