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Posts Tagged ‘Ellen St. Thomas’

August 15, 2015 @ 3 PM Dimond Park, Ok

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

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

Host: Ellen St. Thomas

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

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

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

Vissi d’art from Tosca by Giacomo Puccini
Angela Moser

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

Vision Fugitive from Hérodiade by Jules Massanet
Bradley Kynard

Caro Nome from Rigoletto by Giuseppi Verdi
Eileen Meredtih

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

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

Mein Herr Marquis from Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss
Charlotte Khuner

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

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

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


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

Dichm Teere halle from Tannhauser by Richard Wagner
Angela Moser

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

Ole Man River from Showboat by Jerome Kern
Ben Brady

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

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

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

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

Tonight from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein
Eileen Meredith

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

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

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

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

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

Open Opera is a project of Vocal Arts Institute, a California 501 (c) (3) non‐profit corporation.
Tax ID #68‐0335928


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

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

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

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

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

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

A tenor whose voice was described by Opera News as being “blessed with freshness” Michael Dailey recently made his debut with Microscopic Opera performing the role of Ben in the world premiere of Todd Goodman’s Night of the Living Dead as well as with Knoxville Opera performing the role of Prince Ramiro in Cinderella. Prior to that, Michael spent his summer as a returning member of the prestigious Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program where he performed the role of Selimo in the world premiere of the critical edition of Rossini’s Maometto II. From 2008-2012, Michael served as a Principal Resident Artist with Opera San Jose where he performed 12 leading roles including Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Ramiro in Cenerentola, Alfredo in Traviata, Nemorino in E’lisir D’amore, and Ferrando in Cosi fan tutte. Other companies he has performed roles with include Virginia Opera, Tricities Opera, Ashlawn Opera Festival, Portland Opera to Go, and Des Moines Metro Opera.
Mr. Dailey’s international credits include his performances in the roles of Lucano/1stSoldat/Famigliare in Montiverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea with Theater an der Wien. As a member of the New York Harlem Production company, he performed the role of Sportin’ Life in Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess on a European tour of six countries in venues including The Semperoper in Dresden and The Carré Theater in Amsterdam. On the concert stage, Mr. Dailey has been a featured soloist with the Virginia Choral Society, Todi Music Festival, Schola Cantorum, South Valley Symphony, Virginia Beach Symphony Orchestra, Virginia Chorale, Nova Vista Symphony, Silicon Valley Symphony, and on the Avedis Concert series.

Eileen Meredith, joined by Ellen St. Thomas and Robert Boyd, started Island City Opera this year, after recent operatic successes with Virago Theatre Co, including Il Trovatore and Island City Opera’s 2015 which included Lucia di Lammermoor, Mr. Bruschino, and Il Tabarro. Eileen will be performing the role of Gilda in Rigoletto and Mimi in La Boheme for Island City Opera in 2016. Eileen has performed for years with San Francisco Opera, and has had appeared with West Edge Opera, Livermore Valley Opera, Goat Hall, and Open Opera. Favorite roles include the title role in Madame Butterfly, Violetta in La Traviata, and Mimi in La Boheme. Eileen is a winner of first prize awards from the National Association of Teachers of Singing and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She can be heard on movie scores and video games. Concert highlights include Mahler’s 4th Symphony, Sir Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Oratorio, and Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols and Messiah. Eileen is also active as a teacher and Music Director. Islandcityopera.org

One of the San Francisco Bay Area’s most well rounded musicians; James Meredith conducts the country’s acclaimed Sonos Handbell Ensemble. A native of North Carolina, Mr. Meredith received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Tulane University. He is a musical partner with mezzo‐soprano Frederica von Stade and dramatic soprano Olivia Stapp. His work has brought him into contact with such artists as Elly Ameling, Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, Eleanor Steber, Evelyn Lear and Gerald Moore for whom he has played masterclasses. For four years he was assistant to pianist Dalton Baldwin in summer art song masterclasses at the French Conservatory in Nice. Concerts with Ms. Von Stade included an appearance on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” reaching a National Public Radio audience of over two million listeners and two concerts with Sonos in a premiere of Libby Larsen’s Hell’s Belles. He has been conductor of the Oakland Symphony Chorus, was on the faculty of Merritt College, taught masterclasses at Holy Names College and San Jose State University and was Festival Opera chorus master for two seasons. Mr. Meredith has been teaching, accompanying and coaching students for the Young Musicians Program at UC Berkeley for 14 years. His voice students are winners of many competitions and have gone for advanced degrees at top‐ranked universities and conservatories, many on scholarships. He is on the board of directors for the Pacific Musical Society and has been on the boards of the San Francisco Girls Chorus and the Young People’s Symphony Orchestra.

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

Ellen St. Thomas, co –founder of Open Opera performs, teaches, produces and directs. She has performed with West Bay Opera, Livermore Valley Opera and San Francisco Lyric Opera in the roles of The Countess The Marriage of Figaro, Rosalinda Die Fledermaus, Mimi La Boheme, Miss Jessel Turn of the Screw, Donna Elvira Don Giovanni, Pretzel Girl in Shostakovich’s, The Nose. Directing credits include La Boheme, Rachmaninoff’s, Aleko for the Russian Center in San Francisco and Il Trovatore for Virago Theater Company and Il Tabarro for Island City Opera. Ellen collaborates with Bay Area composers and has performed music by Nancy Bachmann, JJ Hollingsworth and Bruce Nalezny. She recently produced a new chamber opera Voyage of Mary Magdalene by Nancy Bachmann. Co-founder if Island City Opera, Alameda she performed Alisa in Lucia D’Lammermore . In 2016, Ellen will be performing Giovanna in Rigoletto and directing La Bohème for Island City Opera. Islandcityopera.org

Free Opera Concert July 26, 2015 @ 4PM

Monday, July 13th, 2015

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


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


National Anthem

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

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

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

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

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

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

PEARL FISHERS duet - Georges Bizet
Chester Pidduck & Paul Cheak

RIGOLETTO Quartet - Giuseppe Verdi

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

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

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

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

FIDELIO Quartet - Ludwig van Beethoven

SIMON BOCCANEGRA duet - Giuseppe Verdi
Dawn Farry & Paul Cheak

“Make Our Garden Grow” - CANDIDE - Leonard Bernstein

“Libiamo” from LA TRAVIATA - Giuseppe Verdi

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

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

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

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

Gryphons Wild: “Women in Song: Adoration, Anguish & Animosity”

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Gryphons Wild: “Women in Song: Adoration, Anguish & Animosity”

Thursday, June 7 at 12:00pm (noon)

Berkeley Festival & Exhibition Fringe Concert
Berkeley Piano Club, Berkeley

Female vocal duo Gryphons Wild will present eight centuries of glorious vocal music written by and about women and their relationships: Hildegard von Bingen’s devotion to God, a Trouvère song in which a wife longs for the return of her Crusader husband, a Cantiga de Santa Maria sung in adoration of the most famous woman in music history, an Elizabethan complaint about unfaithful men, a duet from Handel’s Julius Caesar in which a mother and son share their anguish over the murder of husband and father, a Sephardic song in which a woman plots revenge against her evil mother-in law, plus vocal music by Machaut and Monteverdi presenting the male point of view (emphasizing the fickleness and hard‑heartedness of women, of course!).

Gryphons Wild is a vocal duo dedicated to bringing to life long-forgotten treasures of the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque Eras through the colorful and expressive blending of two female voices. In this concert, Gryphons Wild Artistic Director Sally Terris (mezzo-soprano, recorder, harp) and Managing Director Ellen St. Thomas (soprano, percussion) will be joined by Greta Haug-Hryciw (percussion, storyteller, recorder, soprano), Anita Baldwin (guitar, accordion, mezzo-soprano) and Carrie Campbell (harpsichord, mezzo-soprano).

WHAT: Concert featuring female vocal duo Gryphons Wild plus guest artists
WHEN: Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 12:00 PM (noon)
WHERE: Berkeley Piano Club, 2724 Haste Street, Berkeley. Handicapped accessible.
TICKETS: $15 General, $10 Seniors/Students/SFEMS/ARS
MORE INFO: http://berkeley-festival.org/ or www.gryphonswild.com
CONTACT GRYPHONS WILD: gryphonswild@gmail.com or 408-773-0946


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)

“Women in Song” at UC Botanical Garden July 21

Saturday, July 9th, 2011


Open Opera Receives Grant from the City of Berkeley

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

March 16, 2011
Ellen St. Thomas

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.