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Archive for the ‘Concerts’ Category

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

Monday, August 4th, 2014

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


Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Opera Concert in the Park
Orinda Community Park, Orinda, CA
July 27, 2014 4 PM
Julia Nielsen, Host

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

James Meredith, pianist

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


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

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

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


Thursday, July 21st, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Beata viscera” Perotin (c1200)

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

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

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

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

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


“Zefiro torna” Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Soprano Hope Briggs in Concert

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Open Opera is proud to present a special concert featuring the gorgeous voice and artistry of soprano Hope Briggs. Ms. Briggs will perform a recital of songs and arias by Schumann, Strauss, Faure, Verdi, Puccini and others accompanied by pianist Ron Valentino. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear Ms. Briggs in an intimate historical setting. Please join Open Opera in welcoming this distinguished soprano to the Berkeley Piano Club on Saturday afternoon, June 4th at 12:30.

Soprano Hope Briggs

Saturday, June 4, 2011 at 12:30 pm

FREE with suggested donation of $15

WHERE: Berkeley Piano Club, 2724 Haste Street, Berkeley, CA 94704 (Map)
Ample parking is one block away at Underhill Parking Facility (2650 Haste Street)

WHO: Soprano HOPE BRIGGS is well known for her dramatic portrayals and her distinctive voice. Of her impressive San Francisco Opera debut as the Duchess of Parma in Busoni’s Doktor Faust, for which Opera News raved, "In her company debut, as the Duchess, soprano Hope Briggs was stellar, delivering one of the evening’s highlights with her lusciously intoned, lovelorn aria." Please see HopeBriggs.com for more information.

Opera Concert at Orinda Community Park-July 25, 2010

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

"Laci darem la mano"  from Don GiovanniOPEN OPERA’S PROGRAM FOR ORINDA OPERA IN THE PARK
July 25, 2010

Eileen Meredith: “Chi’l bel sogno di Doretta” from La Rondine by Puccini

Lisa van der Ploeg: “Stride la vampa” from Il Trovatore by Verdi

Pedro Rodelas: “La donna e mobile” from Rigoletto by Verdi

Heather McFadden and Eileen Meredith: “Barcarolle” from Tales of Hoffman by Offenbach

Lisa Houston: “Non Piu Mesta” from Cenorentola by Rossini

Megan Cullen: “Song to the Moon” from Rusulka by Dvorák

Eileen Meredith and Lisa van der Ploeg: “Vien Maillika…” from Lakme by Delibes

Leland Morine: “O vin dissipe la tristesse” from Hamlet by Thomas

Heather McFadden: “Voi lo sapete” from Cavalleria Rusticana by Mascagni

Pedro Rodelas and Eileen Meredith “O soave fanciulla from La Boheme by Puccini


Elizabeth Baker and Nick Janitzky: “ Laci darem la mano” from Don Giovanni by Mozart

Eileen Meredith: “Caro nome” from Rigoletto by Verdi

Raymond Chavez: Federico’s Lament from L’Arlesiana by Cilea

Elizabeth Baker: “Una voce poco fa” from Il Barbiere di Sevillia by Rossini

Raymond Chavez and Nick Janitzky: “O Mimi, Tu Più Non Torni” from La Boheme by Puccini

Heather McFadden: “Accerba volutta” from Adriana Lecouvreur by Cilea

Megan Cullen: “Vissi d’arte” from Tosca by Puccini

Nick Janitzky: “E lucevan le stelle” from Tosca by Puccini

Lisa van der Ploeg: “Mon cœur” from Samson et Dalila by Saint Saëns

Pedro Rodelas and Leland Morine: “Au fond du temple saint” from Pearl Fishers by Bizet

Lisa Houston: “Habeñera” from Carmen by Bizet

Eileen Meredith, Heather McFadden, Pedro Rodelas and Leland Morine: “Bel figlia” from Rigoletto by Verdi

"O soave fanciulla" from La Boheme

Live Oak Park, Berkeley, June 27 Concert Program

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Live Oak Park, Berkeley
June 27, 2010

Jo Vincent Parks: Prologue Aria, I Pagliacci, by Leoncavallo

Eileen Meredith: “Chi’l bel sogno di Doretta”/La Rodine by Puccini

Katya Roemer: “Io son l’umile ancella”/Adriana Lecouvreur by Cilea

Angela Moser and Ellen St. Thomas: ”Sull’aria”/The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart  

Theresa Cardinale: “Mon Couer”, Samson and Delilah, Saint Saëns

Gustavo Garcia Hernandez: “Recondita armonia”, Tosca, Puccini

Katya Roemer/Theresa Cardinale: “Barcarolle”/Tales of Hoffman by Offenbach

Megan Cullen: “Song to the Moon” Rusalka, Dvorák

David Chavez/Eileen Meredith: “O soave fanciulla”/La Bohème by Puccini

Elizabeth Baker: “Una voce poco fa”/Il Barbiere by Rossini

David Chavez: “Nessun Dorma”, Tosca, Puccini


Angela Moser: “Dich teure halle”/Tannhäuser by Wagner  

Theresa Cardinal and Katya Roemer: “Non ti scordar mai di me” Written by Ernesto De- Curtis; Domenica Furno

Richard Fey: “Non piu’ andrai”, Figaro, by Mozart

Angela Arnold: “My Man’s Gone Now”, Porgy and Bess by Gershwin

Katya/Theresa/Richard: “Soave sia il vento”/Così fan tutte by Mozart  

Angela Moser and Heather McFadden: “Vien Mallika”…, Lakme, Delibes

Heather McFadden: “Voi lo sapete”, Cavallaria Rusticana, Mascagni

Angela Moser: “O zittre nicht”/The Magic Flute by Mozart

Megan Cullen: “Vissi d’arte”, Tosca, Puccini
Open Opera brings free, professional opera to Bay Area parks and use public space to build community through the arts.

We are a non-profit company that relies solely on donations and contributions. If you would like to join Open Opera’s supporters, please visit us today at the volunteer table and we will happily and gratefully accept your donation.
You may also visit us at www.openopera.net and click on the donation tab.
Thank you!

Concert at Live Oak Park-June 27, 2010

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

teresa_tam_100514_6959FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:


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).

Opera Concert in Franklin Park

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Opera Concert in Franklin Park

By the Opera Amateur*

If I described the June 20 Open Opera performance as it really happened, my readers would think I was making things up. Yet, the event at Franklin Park in Alameda was beautiful. The weather was perfect: dappled shade and intense sun moderated by a cool breeze. Chairs were set up, but readily pushed aside to spread picnics and make room for baby carriages and pets. The stage was only a few inches high, so that the performers and the audience of over 200 were interconnected. Here are some of the elements that made this event so spectacular.

First was the program. It was opera arias sung by well-known Bay Area singers – all pieces that opera lovers would know and newcomers would instantly love. If anything, it was too sweet, like falling into a giant cake and eating your way out. But that’s not a bad thing. I wished, though, for some American composers and more pieces in English.

Elizabeth Baker sang two of Cherubino’s arias from Le Nozze di Figaro. Her voice is a lovely lyric mezzo, and her interpretation of Cherubino brought the character to life. This bodes well for Open Opera’s Le Nozze di Figaro to be presented on July 25 and 26 at John Hinkle Park in Berkeley.

Alameda resident Eileen Meredith mesmerized the audience with her “O mio babbino caro” from Gianni Schicchi by Puccini. She also contributed brilliantly to several ensembles, my favorite being the stunning “Flower Duet” from “Lakeme” by Delibes. She was joined by Sigmund Seigel’s beautiful tenor and Leland Morine, bass-baritone, singing “Bella Figlia” from Verdi’s Rigoletto.

Eileen joined Elender Wall for the beautiful “Sull’aria,” also from Figaro. Elender as solo performer sang “Da Tempeste,” Cleopatra’s final aria from Handel’s Guilio Cesare. Usually, big voices like Elender’s are saved for Wagner, and rarely sing the elaborate coloratura of “Da Tempeste.” But she sang it with fire and brilliance.

Heather McFaddin has an enormous, warm mezzo voice. Her “Voi lo sapete,” from Cavalieria Rusticana by Mascagni, was intensely passionate — breathtaking. Tenor Raymond Chavez sang a compelling “En fermant les yeux” from Massenet’s Manon. Katya Roemer was outstanding in singing the “Song to the Moon” from Rusalka by Dvorak.

Representatives of the next generation of singers also participated. Taylor Thompson, tenor, student of the event’s emcee David Tignor, and Kendra Dodd, mezzo, student of the event’s piano accompanist Jim Meredith, are graduating from high school and attending music conservatories next fall. Both have beautiful voices.

During the performances, the audience was in constant flux, and that was a great thing. Youngsters would listen to several arias, and then swing in the adjacent playground. One nine-year-old resisted efforts to get him to go play because he wanted to hear his aunt sing. After her performance, he trotted off.

A toddler, barely a year old hearing and seeing clapping for the first time, began running toward the performers, then turning toward the audience, clapping enthusiastically. People walked dogs and skateboarded. That led to the one glitch of the day: a skateboard dislodged a power cable in the middle of Handel’s “Da Tempeste.” I guess the opera spirits were having their joke: a power outage during a storm. People living in houses surrounding the park were listening from their front yards and balconies. One singer described the feeling of singing to the first balcony of a grand opera house.

Bringing the event together, setting up, making announcements and appeals for donations to Open Opera was soprano Ellen St. Thomas, who chose to stage manage the event rather than sing. She reminded us that this free event, with everyone volunteering their time, still has costs. Olivia Stapp, a retired prima donna and the founder of Open Opera, wants audiences to enjoy the day as well as the performance. Opera used to be a social event where people could come and go and talk with their friends – not just heard in the formality of a concert hall. Ms. Stapp wants to bring that freedom back into opera.

She certainly succeeded at Franklin Park. I wish there were more opportunities to experience open opera. The whole world could benefit.

*Amateur — devotee, admirer, lover

Ellen Wall, English Professor, SF City College

Open Opera in Alameda– Concert a success!

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009


Alameda, CA, June 22, 2009 –

A dozen opera singers from Open Opera serenaded more than 200 music lovers in a free recital Saturday afternoon at Franklin Park.

Open Opera’s first Alameda appearance featured over two hours of art songs and opera favorites on a sunny afternoon. A cast of ten singers, mostly from the Bay Area, presented 24 art songs, arias, duets, and quartets from well-known operas, accompanied by Alameda’s own James Meredith.

Kendra Dodd, who just graduated from Encinal High School and studies voice with David Tigner and James Meredith, was one of the crowd’s favorites. “It was a beautiful family event, and one of the best productions that the community has seen in a while,” Dodd said. “The musicians volunteered their time for this, and they were all fantastic.” Dodd will attend the Manhattan School of Music this fall.

The crowd also enjoyed Alameda soprano Eileen Meredith, who “had a wonderful time” singing at Franklin Park. “I’m in love with this music, and I really enjoy sharing it. Sitting in a gorgeous natural setting listening to music is very inspiring. It was great to see the turnout of friends, family, neighbors, teachers, parents, and kids from Alameda and beyond.” Meredith also helped recruit musicians and publicize the concert. Alameda tenor Raymond Chavez, known for his work with the Alameda Civic Light Opera, sang pieces by Cilea and Massenet for the many listeners of all ages.

Well-known Bay Area singers such as Heather McFadden, Sigmund Siegel, Katya Roemer, Leland Morine, Marta Johansen, Elender Wall, and Elizabeth Baker sang famous arias and duets from operas by Mozart, Puccini, Verdi, and Bizet, as well as lesser-known works. Young tenor Taylor Thompson, who sang two pieces, is a graduate of Fairfield’s Rodriguez High School and will attend the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.

“Patrick Russi and his crew from the Alameda Parks and Recreation Department were crucial to making the event such a success,” said Ellen St. Thomas, the Executive Director of Open Opera. “They were friendly, extremely helpful, and made the event very easy logistically. Franklin Park was beautiful, too.” She added that Open Opera would like to make this an annual event in Alameda.

Open Opera will present “The Marriage of Figaro” (“Le Nozze di Figaro”) at John Hinkel Park in Berkeley on July 25-26 at 3:00 p.m. The free opera production will include costumes and a full orchestra, and will feature many of the artists who performed in Alameda Saturday afternoon.

Alameda resident Ursula Apel, Director of the San Francisco Opera Guild, co-hosted the Franklin Park program with David Tigner. Founded in 2008, Open Opera “combines classical music with natural elements to create a one-of-a-kind experience for singers and listeners alike,” according to its web site.

“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. You could see it in the diversity of the audience. The kids were listening from up the trees,” according to soprano Elizabeth Baker, who serves as Open Opera’s Creative Director.

Open Opera is supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and from private donations.


Jon Spangler

Linda Hudson Writing


Alameda Concert Program

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009



Open Opera’s

Concert in Franklin Park, Alameda, CA

June 20, 2009 3 PM


1) Marta Johansen: “Ch’il bel sogno” / La Rondine by Puccini


2) Eileen Meredith and Elender Wall: “Sull’aria” / Le Nozze di Figaro by Mozart


3) Elizabeth Baker: “Non so più” / Le Nozze di Figaro by Mozart


4) Leland Morine: “Votre Toast” (Toreador Song) / Carmen by Bizet


5) Kendra Dodd: “When I am Laid in Earth” / Dido and Aeneas by Purcell


6) Elender Wall: “La Tempesta” / Guilio Cesare by Handel


7) Leland Morine and Marta Johansen: “Dite alla giovine” / La Traviata by Verdi


8) Taylor Thompson: “Tell me, Oh Blue, Blue Sky” by Vittorio Gianinni


9) Katya Roemer: “Měsíčku na nebi hlubokém” (“Song to the Moon”) Rusalka by A. Dvořák


10) Eileen Meredith: “O mio babbino caro” / Gianni Schicchi by Puccini


11) Heather McFadden and Elender Wall: “Belle nuit” / Les contes d’Hoffman by Offenbach


12) Eileen Meredith, Heather McFadden, Sigmund Seigel, Leland Morine: “Bella figlia”/ Rigoletto by Verdi


13) Katya Roemer: “Art is Calling for Me” / The Enchantress by Victor Herbert


14) Sigmund Siegel: “Recondita Armonia” / Tosca by Puccini


15) Heather McFadden and Eileen Meredith: “Vien Malika” (The Flower Duet) / Lakmé by Delibes


16) Raymond Chavez: “Lamento di Federico” / L’Arlesiana by Cilea

17) Heather McFadden: “Voi lo sapete” / Cavalleria Rusticana by Mascagni


18) Katya Roemer and Sigmund Seigel: “Già nella notte densa” / Othello by Verdi


19) Elizabeth Baker: “Voi che sapete” / Le Nozze di Figaro by Mozart


20) Kendra Dodd: “Connais-tu le pays?” / Mignon by Ambrose Thomas


21) Eileen Meredith and Sigmund Seigel: “O soave fanciulla” / La Bohème by Puccini


22) Raymond Chavez: “En fermant les yeux” / Manon by Massenet


23) Marta Johansen: “Der Hölle Rache” / Die Zauberflöte by Mozart