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Posts Tagged ‘Ellen St. Thomas’

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.