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Posts Tagged ‘Open Opera’

August 15, 2015 @ 3 PM Dimond Park, Ok

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

OPEN OPERA
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
and
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

INTERMISSION

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

openopera.net

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
presents
VIVIAMO OPERA QUARTET!
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
_________________________________________________________________________________________

PROGRAM

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

INTERMISSION
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
(Reprise)

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!

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.

Open Opera is coming to OAKLAND!

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Oakland, CA, April 6, 2011 Open Opera is coming to OAKLAND on Saturday, May 7, 2011 at 3PM! Dimond Recreational Center and Park, a beautiful park located off of 580 and Park, is hosting Open Opera’s first concert in Oakland. Open Opera, is now in its third year of bringing professional quality, admissions-free opera concerts to Bay Area parks.
“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.
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.
Since its founding in 2008, Open Opera estimates that its free public performances have reached an estimated 6,000 people in Berkeley, Alameda and Orinda. Extending its artistic reach into Oakland is a natural progression of Open Opera’s mission. Michelle Doppelt, recreation supervisor exclaims, “I hope the entire community comes out to see this unique FREE event. Having the Open Opera concert in Dimond Park will add to the variety of high quality events we offer”.
WHAT: Free performance of crowd-pleasing opera favorites
WHEN: Saturday, May 7 from 3:00 to 4:00 PM
WHERE: Dimond Recreation Center & Park,3860 Hanly Rd. Oakland, CA 94602
MAP: http://tinyhttp.com/dimond
Dimond Recreation Center and Park is accessible to all persons with disabilities.

Media Contact:
Ellen St. Thomas
510-547-2471
ellen@openopera.net
openopera.net

For more information call:

Michelle Doppelt
Recreation Supervisor
Dimond Recreation Center & Park
3860 Hanly Rd. Oakland, CA 94602
510-482-7831 Office

Open Opera’s Upcoming events:

May 21, 2011 at 3PM Opera Concert in the Park at Live Oak Park, Berkeley
July 31, 2011 at 4PM Opera Concert in the Park, Orinda Community Park

Open Opera’s Spring Salon Recital Series

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

O P E N O P E R A

Presents

Nicolai Janitzky, baritone
James Meredith, piano

March 26, 2011, 2 p.m.

Serenata (text by G. A. Cesareo)
Ideale (text by Carmelo Enrico)
L’ultima canzone (text by Francesco Cimmino)
Music by Francesco Paolo Tosti (April 9, 1846 – December 2, 1916)

Die Todesahnung … O du mein holder Abendstern, Tannhäuser
Music and text by Richard Wagner (May 22, 1813 – February 13, 1883)

At the noisy ball (text by Aleksei K. Tolstoy)
None but the lonely heart (text by L.A Mey after Wolfgang von Goethe)
Don Juan’s Serenade (text by Aleksei K. Tolstoy)
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (May 7, 1840 – November 6, 1893)

Cavatina from Aleko, Aleko
Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff (April 1, 1873 – March 28, 1943)

Don Quixote to Dulcinea (text by Paul Morand)
Chanson romanesque
Chanson épique
Chanson à boire
Music by Joseph-Maurice Ravel (March 7, 1875 – December 28, 1937)

Nicolai Janitzky is a native of Northern California. His recent engagements include Shchelkalov in Boris Godunov with San Francisco Opera, Baron Douphol in La Traviata with San Diego Opera, Marcello in La Boheme with Sacramento Opera, Belcore in L’Elisir d’Amore with Bear Valley Music Festival, Guglielmo in Cosi fan Tutte with Opera Idaho, and Silvio in I Pagliacci with Livermore Valley Opera. Other roles he has sung include the title roles in Eugene Onegin and Pélleas et Mélisande, Valentin in Faust, Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro, and Papageno in The Magic Flute. He has also worked at Washington National Opera, New York City Opera, and Glimmerglass Opera. He is an active recitalist, and has performed in such venues as Carnegie (Weill) Hall in New York City, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and the Cleveland Institute of Music Art Song Festival. He is the winner of several competitions including the George London Foundation, Sullivan Foundation, and Opera Index Foundation. He has also been a finalist in the Operalia (Placido Domingo) Vocal Competition. He studied at the Yale University Opera Program and the Music Academy of the West.

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. As a solo pianist, vocal and instrumental accompanist and conductor in America, Europe and Asia, 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 Mr. Meredith was assistant to pianist Dalton Baldwin in summer art song master classes 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 master classes 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 San Francisco Girls Chorus, the Pacific Musical Society and the Young Peoples Symphony Orchestra.

SAVE THE DATE!

• 5/7/11 Concert in the Park, Dimond Recreation Center and Park, Oakland 3 p.m.
• 5/21/11 Concert in the Park, Live Oak Park, Berkeley 3 p.m.
• 6/4/11 Annual Celebration and Concert, Berkeley Piano Club, Berkeley 11 a.m.
• 7/9-10/11 & 7/16-17/11 Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, fully staged with orchestra
John Hinkel Park, Berkeley 3 p.m.
• 7/31/11 Concert in the Park, Orinda (Sponsored by the Orinda Rotary) 4 p.m.

for more information please visit OpenOpera.net
Open Opera is a project of Vocal Arts Institute, a CA 501 (c) 3 organization
EIN 68-0339528

Open Opera brings free professional opera to Bay Area parks and builds community through the arts.

Audition Announcement for the role of Despina

Friday, March 18th, 2011

AUDITION ANNOUNCEMENT FOR DESPINA IN COSI FAN TUTTE
Date: March 24, 2011
Time: 6:30pm to 9:30pm
Place: Berkeley Piano Club 2724 Haste Street, Berkeley, CA 94704 (Convenient on bus and parking lot nearby)
Requirements: We are interested in casting Despina as a man but women are encouraged to audition as well. Women can sing either of Despina’s arias and men can bring an aria of their choice.
Cosi fan tutte will be performed outside with orchestra, costumes and in Italian at John Hinkel Park, Berkeley, CA on July 9/10 and 16/17. Rehearsals will be in Berkeley or Oakland and will start on June 20. Stage director: Olivia Stapp, Music Director Jonathan Khuner. Please go to the Doodle.com to sign-up for an audition.

Open Opera Receives Grant from the City of Berkeley

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

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

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

“We’re bringing opera to the public for free in a time of economic uncertainty, and using public outdoor spaces to build community through the arts,” says mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Baker, also one of Open Opera’s co-founders and its Creative Director. Mothers with infants, retired couples, picnicking families and young adults all have been a part of Open Opera audiences in the past. Susan Wengraf, Berkeley City Council Member, District 6, adds, “Open Opera makes opera accessible to everyone, regardless of income. They offer an extraordinary opportunity to enjoy professionally performed opera to our community!”

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

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

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

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

The Doctor and The Diva by Adrienne McDonnell

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Greetings from Adrienne McDonnell, author of the debut novel, THE DOCTOR AND THE DIVA (Viking, 2010). Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting you at the Master Class with Tomoko Okada. That night as I pushed open the gate and wandered down a garden path to the Berkeley Piano Club, I had no idea what a fascinating evening it would prove to be. The wood-panelled performance space felt cozy and inviting as Olivia Stapp sat down casually at the front of the stage, welcoming the audience and telling us with warmth and candor about her own experiences performing Mozart repertoire. I could have listened to her talk all night.

The six singers from Open Opera were wonderful, too — all strongly talented. I marveled at Tomoko Okada’s precision and gentle exuberance as she worked with each vocalist. At first she’d play and listen to a given aria, and when the vocalist reached the end, Tomoko would nod and lean forward, almost rising off the bench in eagerness, ready to exact more from each performer. She’d lift her hands from the keyboard and raise her palms upward toward the singer, urging: “Let’s try it this way, shall we?” As the phrases grew purer, more lit by emotion (the sounds surely closer to what Mozart may have heard in his mind), Tomoko nodded even more rapidly, clasping her palms together in approval. A singer’s progress made her breathless, nearly giddy. Finally she’d turn to the audience and say (of Papageno’s suicide aria, for example), “That’s better, isn’t it? Now you feel sorry for him.”

That evening I felt as if I’d stepped inside scenes from my novel. THE DOCTOR AND THE DIVA was inspired by my son’s great-great grandmother (an opera singer) and hundreds of pages of family letters. In 1903, this ancestor left her prominent husband and young son in Boston and sailed to Italy, risking everything to develop her operatic career.

Last summer when the hardcover edition was first published, Viking sent me on a national book tour. One of my favorite events was a lovely garden party in New Canaan, Connecticut where I read scenes from the novel, and a pianist and a mezzo soprano performed arias that my fictional diva sang.

More events, readings, and appearances will be scheduled this fall when the paperback version is released on October 25, 2011. I love the notion of infusing live music into such literary celebrations, and am very open to your ideas about how this might be accomplished. I live near Berkeley (in Kensington), and if you happen to read THE DOCTOR AND THE DIVA and feel any interest in participating in a Bay Area event — a literary/musical salon to trumpet the paperback release — please let me know.

Here’s the gist of a few reviews for THE DOCTOR AND THE DIVA:

“Some novels just naturally enslave you, and this is one of them…. serious and gripping… [a] brilliant debut novel…” — The Washington Post

“This amazing debut novel … is, quite simply, one of the best novels I’ve read all year.” — an Editor’s Choice selection, Historical Novels Review

“…sumptuous… [an] explosive tale… Read the book now, then place bets on when the movie version will come out.” — Redbook

Here’s a link to the full Washington Post review of THE DOCTOR AND THE DIVA:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/05/AR2010080506415.html

Here’s the link to my author website where you’ll find a short video, along with a list of arias my heroine sings:

www.adriennemcdonnell.com

I’m quite impressed with Open Opera, and would love to hear back from any of you. Please forward this e-mail to the other singers who participated in the Master Class (Aimee Puentes, Eileen Meredith, Angela Moser, Torlef Borsting, and Ryan Bradford) — as well to the charismatic and remarkable Tomoko Okada — along with my thanks and congratulations.

Cheers and thanks to all,
Adrienne

www.adriennemcdonnell.com

Open Opera receives grant from East Bay Community Foundation

Monday, February 7th, 2011

PRESS RELEASE
February 3, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact
Ellen St. Thomas
510-547-2471
ellen@openopera.net
openopera.net

Open Opera, a Berkeley-based nonprofit now in its third year of bringing professional quality, admissions-free opera concerts and performances to Bay Area parks received a $5,000 grant from the East Bay Community Foundation in support of its 2011 season. The year’s events supported by the grant include a fully staged performance with orchestra of Cosi fan tutti, a master class with world-renowned pianist and opera voice coach, and several outdoor vocal concerts.

“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,” said mezzo soprano Elizabeth Baker, Open Opera’s co-founder and Creative Director. Mothers with infants, retired couples, picnicking families and young adults, and kids sitting in come to hear beautiful musical performances in the park.

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.” 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.”

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, and three master classes featuring international artists. The group estimates that its free public performances have reached an estimated 6,000 people across Berkeley, Alameda and Orinda counties, and employed approximately 200 singers, pianists, instrumentalists and craftspeople.

“The grant from the East Bay Community Foundation will give us additional resources to reach out to continue to provide great opera programming free to the public,” St. Thomas noted.

The East Bay Community Foundation (www.eastbaycf.org) connects community needs in Alameda and Contra Costa counties with individuals, families and organizations interested in charitable giving — and acts as a catalyst for change through leading initiatives, advocacy, and partnerships with business, government, and private foundations. Formed in 1928, the Foundation is a leading resource on charitable giving and community needs, stewarding more than 500 charitable funds and endowments.

OPEN OPERA FANS SPEAK OUT! We are the coolest opera company…

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Open Opera Sizzles in the Cool Summer of 2010 Ron Fujie, supporter of Open Opera, makes a wonderful video from the 2009-2010 season. Changing the world one opera performance at a time. Paste link into browser http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISpUw5t0z1M