Open Opera | Circa 2015
This was the official website for Open Opera a project of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Open Opera's mission was to bring free, professional opera to the Bay Area parks and use public space to build community through the arts.
This was their website from 2009 - 2015.
Content is mainly from the site's 2015 archived pages.
Open Opera's mission is to produce opera, free to the public, in performance appropriate Bay Area outdoor venues with excellent professional quality singers, as a means of building community and expanding and diversifying opera audiences. We are a non-profit organization and fully rely on donations from you.
Founded in 2008 by:
Olivia Stapp, Co-Founder/Artistic Director
(Shown with conductor Jonathan Khuner)
Ellen St. Thomas, Co-Founder/Executive Director
Elizabeth Baker, Co-Founder/Creative Director
"I’ve never seen an opera before, never thought I would, and now I can’t wait for the next one. "
- Audience member
"This is one of the greatest casts I’ve ever worked with!"
- Figaro singer
"I don’t mean to boast, but I travel the world to watch opera and have seen Figaro countless times. This production was among the best two or three of my life!"
- Audience member
"What a great idea - I wish more people would organize events like this."
- Nick, Alameda
"I love that it's open air and I can bathe in the sun while enjoying classical music. It doesn't get much better!"
- Cecilia, Berkeley
"Thank you for all the hard work you put into these events! You guys are great!!"
- Melanie, Oakland
July 26, 2015 - FREE Opera Concert in the Park feat. Viviamo Quartet
Open Opera presents:
Viviamo Opera Quartet
- Dawn Farry, soprano
- Buffy Baggott, mezzo-soprano
- Christopher Bengochea, tenor
- Paul Cheak, bass-baritone
- James Meredith, pianist
Opera Concert in the Park
Sunday, July 26, 2015 @ 4 pm
This FREE Opera in the Park features the Viviamo Opera Quartet - Four beautiful, classically-trained and blended voices will deliver the most delightful and dramatic vocal music written for the stage AND in a most entertaining and innovative fashion!
Famous quartets from Rigoletto, La Boheme, Fidelio, Brindisi from La Traviata, plus. Other ensembles will include Mozart's sublime Cosi trio, duets galore and arias and songs that the world has loved for ages!
Hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, soda, beer and wine will be available for purchase. Bring a blanket, umbrella, chair, kids, dogs and your love of opera to this lovely concert.
Parking is FREE. Orinda Community Park is within walking distance of the Orinda Bart Station.
Sponsored by The Orinda Rotary Club with support from The Orinda Park and Recreation Foundation and the Orinda Community Foundation. Thank you!
FREE OPERA CONCERT IN THE PARK
Open Opera presents
The 5th Annual Dimond Park Opera Concert in the Park
Saturday, August 15, 2015 @ 3PM
3860 Hanly Road
(in the BBQ area near the Fruitvale entrance)
Join us for another beautiful afternoon of music underneath the majestic oaks of Dimond Park!
Arias and ensembles will include music from La Boheme, Lohengrin, Samson and Delilah, Die Fledermaus, The Barber of Seville, Porgy and Bess and much, much more.
For more information check out the blog section of openopera.net or email us at email@example.com
This concert is made possible by generous contributions from community members Rochelle Galat and Bruce Jacobs, Leslie Ann Jones, Karen Long, Leona Narita and Karen Marie Schroeder.
Special thanks to Michelle Doppelt, Dimond Park Recreation Supervisor
August 15, 2015 - Opera Concert in the Park
Open Opera proudly presents the 5th Annual Opera Concert in the Park at Dimond Park on Saturday, August 15 at 3 pm. Don't miss this event!
August 16, 2015 - Island City Opera presents Opera Concert in the Park
Wouldn't you like free opera in your neighborhood? Contact us today!
Open Opera Blog
Opera, Music and More
August 15, 2015 @ 3 PM Dimond Park, Ok
August 4th, 2015
5th Annual Opera Concert in the Park
Saturday, August 15, 2015 @ 3 PM
Dimond Park, Oakland
Host: Ellen St. Thomas
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
La Fleur Que Tu M’Avais Jetée from Carmen by Georges Bizet
Vissi d’art from Tosca by Giacomo Puccini
Il Est Doux, Il Est Bon from Hérodiade by Jules Massanet
Carolyn Anne Jordan
Vision Fugitive from Hérodiade by Jules Massanet
Caro Nome from Rigoletto by Giuseppi Verdi
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
Un Bel Di Vedremo from Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini
Aprite Un Po’ Quegli Occhi from Le Nozze di Figaro by W. A. Mozart
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
What A Movie from Trouble in Tahiti by Leonard Bernstein
Ole Man River from Showboat by Jerome Kern
Solveig’s Song from Peer Gynt by Edvard Grieg
Carolyne Anne Jordan
Mon coeur s’ouvre from Samson et Dalila by Cecile Saint-Saens
Io Son L’Umile Ancella from Adriana Lecouvreur by Francesco Cilea
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
A Woman is a Sometime Thing from Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin
It Ain’t Necessarily So from Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin
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. He recently migrated here from Baltimore, where he also worked part time at a local family owned moving company. Oddly enough, it was this job that got him into music. He moved a large grand piano with the crew into a brand new house that happened to belong to Ricardo Montalbalm, the film and tv producer. While waiting for the crew to finish up, he began playing on the piano, singing various operas mixed with pop songs. Mr. Montalbalm was impressed and asked him to audition for a show he was casting. The rest is history. From moving company to the movies in one fell swoop. In case your interested, this is the Baltimore movers he credits with starting his career. Baltimore sent us their best in many ways.
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
July 13th, 2015
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
“Libiamo ne’ lieti calici” from LA TRAVIATA - Giuseppe Verdi
“Udite” - L’ELISIR D’AMORE - Gaetano Donizetti
“Ecco ridente” - IL BARBIERE DI SIVILGIA - Gioacchino Rossini
COSI FAN TUTTE trio - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Dawn Farry, Buffy Baggott, Paul Cheak
“Una voce poco fa” - IL BARBIERE DI SIVILGIA - Gioacchino Rossini
“Chi il bel sogno” - LA RONDINE - Giacomo Puccini
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
“Love Is Where You Find It!” - KISSING BANDIT - Nacio Herb Brown
“Una furtiva lagrima” - L’ELISIR D’AMORE - Gaetano Donizetti
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
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!
August 16 at 3PM in Dimond Park (Performers and Program)
August 4th, 2014
4th Annual Opera Concert in the Park
Dimond Park, Oakland, CA
Saturday, August 16, 2014 at 3PM
Eileen Meredith, soprano; Ellen St. Thomas, soprano; Heather McFadden, mezzo-soprano,
Raymond Chavez, tenor; Michael Dailey, tenor; Ross Halper, tenor, Leland Morine, baritone; Elliott Nguyen, baritone
An American Operatic Quartet: Marcelle Dronkers, soprano; Dawn Farry, soprano;
Mark Kratz, tenor; Paul Cheak, bass
James Meredith, pianist
Matlock Duo: Jenny Matteucci, soprano and Daniel Lockert, pianist
“Come in quest’ora bruna” Simon Boccanegra by Giuseppe Verdi Ellen St. Thomas
“Au fond du temple saint” Les Pêcheurs de Perles by Georges Bizet Mark Kratz and Paul Cheak
“Come paride vezzoso” L’elisir d’amore” by Gaetono Donizetti Elliott Nguyen
“Condotta ell’era in ceppi” Il trovatore by Giuseppe Verdi Heather McFadden
“Mattinata” by Ruggero Leoncavello Ross Halper
“Youkali” by Kurt Weill Jenny Matteucci and Daniel Lockert
“Creed of Pierre Cauchon” Trial at Rouen by Norman Dello-joio Leland Morine
“Vissi d’arte” Tosca by Giacomo Puccini Eileen Meredith
“E lucevan le stelle” Tosca by Giacomo Puccini Raymond Chavez
”La donna e mobile” Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi Michael Dailey
“Bella figlia dell’amore” Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi Marcelle Dronkers, Dawn Farry, Mark Kratz and Paul Cheak
“Soave sia il vento” Così fan tutte by Amadeus Mozart Marcelle Dronkers, Dawn Farry and Paul Cheak
“Donne miei la fatea tanti” Così fan tutte by Amadeus Mozart Elliott Nguyen
“Dunque è proprio finita!” La bohème by Giacomo Puccini Marcelle Dronkers, Dawn Farry, Mark Kratz, and Paul Cheak
“O Mimi tu piu non torni” La bohème by Giacomo Puccini Leland Morine and Raymond Chavez
“Re dell’abisso affrettati” Un ballo in maschera by Giuseppe Verdi Heather McFadden
“Drinking Song” Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss (English translation by Ross Halper) Ross Halper
“Foolish Heart” One Touch of Venus by Kurt Weill Jenny Matteucci and Daniel Lockert
“Summertime” Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin Eileen Meredith
“There’s a Boat Dat’s Leaving” Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin Michael Dailey
“Libiamo” from La traviata by Giuseppe Verdi Marcelle Dronkers, Dawn Farry, Mark Kratz and Paul Cheak
This concert is sponsored by community members Bruce Jacobs and Rochelle Galat, Leslie Ann Jones, Karen Long, Leona Narita and Karen Marie Schroeder and people like YOU!
Special thanks to Michelle Doppelt, Dimond Park Recreation Supervisor, Lucy Beck, Linda Berti and Ellen St. Thomas, Vocal Arts Institute/Open Opera and Marc Babin, Audio
Open Opera brings free, professional opera to Bay Area parks and uses public space to build community through the arts. Open Opera is a project of Vocal Arts Institute, a California 501 (c) (3) non‐profit corporation. Tax ID #68‐0335928
Paul Cheak, bass/baritone, has performed with such opera companies as San Diego Opera, Colorado Opera Festival, Berkeley Opera, Berkeley West Edge Opera, North Bay Opera, Festival Opera of Walnut Creek, Cinnabar Theater, Virago Theater, Golden Gate Opera, San Diego Street Opera, Orange County Opera, Pacific Lyric Theater, La Strata Opera to name a few. Among the roles he has performed are Mephistofeles in Gounod’s Faust, Dr. Dulcamar, Germont, Silvio, Dr. Bartolo, Dr. Falke, the title roles in Falstaff, Don Pasquale and Gianni Schicchi. Mr. Cheak is equally at home on the concert stage. He has performed as soloist for the Colorado Springs Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Kensington Symphony, Denver Symphony, Long Beach Symphony, Vallejo Symphony, Contra Costa Symphony, and The New Millennium Strings. In January of 2015, Mr. Cheak will make his debut with Island City Opera as Raimondo Bide-the-Bent in Lucia di Lammermoor.
Raymond Chavez, tenor, is an Alameda resident with five years in the San Francisco Opera Chorus. He appeared with Alameda Civic Light Opera, most notably as Juan Peron in Evita and the Padre in Man of La Mancha, as well as with Altarena Theater and Stagemasters as Frankie in Forever Plaid. He performs in the Bracebridge Dinners in Yosemite National Park. While singing in Yosemite, he returned to the opera repertoire after a twenty-two year hiatus. Since then, he has appeared with Pocket Opera in San Francisco, with Open Opera in the East Bay and with Virago Theatre in Alameda as Rodolfo in La bohème, as Alfredo in La traviata, as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly and as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni.
A tenor whose voice was described by Opera News as being, “blessed with freshness”, Michael Dailey recently made his debut with Microscopic Opera performing the role of Ben in the world premiere of Todd Goodman’s Night of the Living Dead as well as with Knoxville Opera performing the role of Prince Ramiro in Cinderella. Prior to that, Michael spent his summer as a returning member of the prestigious Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program where he performed the role of Selimo in the world premiere of the critical edition of Rossini’s Maometto II. From 2008-2012, Michael served as a Principal Resident Artist with Opera San Jose where he performed 12 leading roles including Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Ramiro in Cenerentola, Alfredo in Traviata, Nemorino in E’lisir D’amore, and Ferrando in Cosi fan tutte. Mr. Dailey’s international credits include his performances in the roles of Lucano/1stSoldat/Famigliare in Montiverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea with Theater an der Wien. As a member of the New York Harlem Production company, he performed the role of Sportin’ Life in Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess on a European tour of six countries in venues including The Semperoper in Dresden and The Carré Theater in Amsterdam. On the concert stage, Mr. Dailey has been a featured soloist with the Virginia Choral Society, Todi Music Festival, Schola Cantorum, South Valley Symphony, Virginia Beach Symphony Orchestra, Virginia Chorale, Nova Vista Symphony, Silicon Valley Symphony, and on the Avedis Concert series.
Marcelle Dronkers, soprano, has a broad range of appearances in opera and concert include Mozart’s heroines and Handel’s evil sorceresses; Alice Ford in Nicolai’s Merry Wives of Windsor; Verdi’s Lady Macbeth; Queen Elizabeth I in Roberto Devereux by Donizetti—all with Pocket Opera—and Britten’s War Requiem in San Francisco’s Davies Hall. Ms Dronkers holds degrees from Indiana University, Bloomington, and the Royal Conservatory at The Hague, The Netherlands, and has participated in master classes with Elly Ameling, Edo de Waart, John Wustman, Leonard Bernstein and Thomas Hampson. She is on the Faculties of Notre Dame de Namur University and Mentoring Academy, is Scholarship Chair of Pacific Musical Society, and maintains a private voice studio in Kensington, where she lives with her screen writer/composer/rock drummer son, Christopher, and five feral feline foundlings. Information on future performances, including the title role in Handel’s Alcina, can be obtained at www.MADDIVA.com
Dawn Farry is a native of the Napa Valley and made her operatic debut with Seattle Opera in The Marriage of Figaro. She returned to the company as a woodnymph in Rusalka, and to understudy the roles of Wellgunde and Siegrune in Wagner’s Ring Cycle. She received her Master of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory, and has performed throughout the Bay Area and the West Coast. Roles include the title roles in Carmen (Pacific Repertory Opera, West Bay, North Bay Operas) and Tosca (West Bay, Tacoma Opera), Rosina in The Barber of Seville (North Bay and Festival Operas), Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, Nicklausse in The Tales of Hoffmann, Natasha in War and Peace, Ljubasha in The Czar’s Bride, and Nancy in Martha. Dawn has participated in master classes with Speight Jenkins, Warren Jones, Wesley Balk, Georgio Tozzi, Carol Vaness, Renata Scotto and Alfredo Kraus. She has won several vocal performance awards, including the Ungara Diva Award. Dawn conducts a voice and piano studio in the East and West Bays.
Ross Halper, tenor and voice teacher, is delighted to return to Open Opera. Ross has been called “Opera’s mad genius” by conductor Kent Nagano, “Opera’s man for all seasons” by the late heldentenor Jess Thomas, and “Our modern Schikaneder” by the late, great lyric tenor Leopold Simoneau. With a repertoire of 300 roles, he has sung under soloist contracts with LA Opera, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Symphony, San Jose Symphony, Long Beach Opera, San Jose Opera, Carmel Bach Festival, and many others. Ross has summed up these experiences in a unique staged recital, “Gods and Goblins”, as presented by Columbia Artists’ Community Concerts. Ross’ comic acting creations in television commercials have been seen internationally. He toured the world in “Phantom of the Opera”. A triple-threat artist, Halper’s many opera translations have been sung around the hemisphere. Besides serving as stage director in residence at North Bay Opera in Fairfield, he has directed for Eugene Opera, Opera Idaho, Opera San Luis Obispo (CARMEN 2013) and many others. Ross taught operatic acting at Mannes College NYC, UC Berkeley and Calpoly. Future projects include directing MERRY WIDOW (Halper translation) with Opera San Luis Obispo, CA. For more information, please visit www.ross-halper-sf.com
Mark Andrew Kratz, tenor, was recently featured as Lensky in Eugene Onegin (Pocket Opera), Alfred in Die Fledermaus (Lamplighters), Alfredo in La traviata (Juneau Lyric Opera) and as astronaut Alan Shepard in Apollo 14: A Space Opera (International Opera Institute). Kratz also took on the role of St. Nicolas in Britten’s St. Nicolas Cantata (Chorale Society of Northeastern PA.) He also played Don Jose in Carmen (Cinnabar Theater) and was the 2012 tenor soloist for the Kennedy Center’s National Messiah Sing-A-Long with the National Opera Orchestra. His roles include Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni (Cinnabar Theater, Pocket Opera), Flavio in Norma (Pocket Opera), The Beast in Beauty and the Beast (Capital Playhouse, Juneau Lyric Opera), Tamino in Die Zauberflöte (Tri-Cities Opera, Juneau Opera to Go!), Yamadori in Madame Butterfly (Tri-Cities Opera), Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor (Tri-Cities Opera.) Kratz’s other performances include Mozart’s Requiem and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony (Northeast Philharmonic). He is also the youngest person to have sung at the Newport Music Festival (RI). Kratz is also a faculty member at the Performing Art Institute of Wyoming Seminary (Kingston, PA) a prestigious summer institute for high school and college aged musicians in Pennsylvania. Kratz’s upcoming performances include the role of Turiddu in Cavalleria Rusticana and Rodolfo in La bohème with Desert Opera of Palm Springs.
The Matlock Duo, with Jenny Matteucci and Daniel Lockert, is a husband and wife team that specialize in “cross-over” music. Besides traditional musical theater and cabaret, they perform music by Kurt Weill and American Art Songs with a cabaret bent, featuring composers such as Leonard Bernstein, Dominick Argento, Ricky Ian Gordon and Ben Moore. Jenny’s roles include Marcellina in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Jenny in Weill’s The Three Penny Opera, Margaret in Guettel’s Light in the Piazza, Marmie in Howland’s Little Women, and Woman 1 in Sondheim’s Side by Side by Sondheim. She is currently performing in the Masquer’s Playhouse production of Berlin to Broadway, a Kurt Weill revue. Jenny recently just received her MFA in vocal performance from Notre Dame de Namur University, where her husband Daniel is currently professor of Collaborative Piano and vocal coach. He has had an extensive career as an accompanist, and has been on the coaching staffs of the San Francisco Opera and the Juilliard School of Music.
Heather McFadden, mezzo-soprano, Heather McFadden has been a prominent singer throughout California for over a decade. Bringing a lush voice and dramatic presence to the operatic stage, she has established herself as a compelling performer of the lyric and dramatic mezzo repertoire. Her broad range of roles includes the title role in Carmen, Ulrica in Un ballo in maschera, Principessa in Suor Angelica, Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro, Filipyevna in Eugene Onegin, Gertrude in Romeo et Juliette, Berta in Barbiere di Siviglia, Annina in La traviata, Marthe in Faust, 3rd Lady in Magic Flute, Buttercup in H.M.S. Pinafore, Zita in Gianni Schicchi, Wowkle in La fanciulla del West, 3rd Witch in MacBeth, Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, Nicklausse in Tales of Hoffmann, and many others. Appearing with companies that include Opera San Jose, Berkeley Opera, Golden Gate Opera, North Bay Opera, Livermore Opera, Martinez Opera, Pacific Repertory Opera, Pocket Opera, Townsend Opera, Open Opera, Oakland Opera Theatre, and Diablo Light Opera, she has also been featured as a guest artist at Opera San Jose for the past 5 years, most recently performing the role of Agafia in the West Coast Premiere of Anna Karenina. On the concert stage, she has appeared in concerts with Ensemble Vocalis in Las Vegas and the Bay Area, and as the alto soloist in performances of Messiah with Townsend Opera and the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra. Most recently, she performed with Music in the Mountains, singing Buttercup in HMS Pinnafore.
Eileen Meredith, soprano, joined by Ellen St. Thomas and Robert Boyd, started Island City Opera this year, after recent operatic successes with Virago Theatre Co, including Il Trovatore .In early 2015, ICO will present Lucia di Lammermoor, Mr. Bruschino, and Il Tabarro. Eileen has performed for years with San Francisco Opera, and has had appeared with West Edge Opera, Livermore Valley Opera, Goat Hall, and Open Opera. Favorite roles include the title role in Madame Butterfly, Violetta in La Traviata, and Mimi in La Boheme. Eileen is a winner of first prize awards from the National Association of Teachers of Singing and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She can be heard on movie scores and video games. Concert highlights include Mahler’s 4th Symphony, Sir Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Oratorio, and Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols and Messiah. Eileen is also active as a teacher and Music Director. www.islandcityopera.org.
One of the San Francisco Bay Area’s most well rounded musicians; James Meredith conducts the country’s acclaimed Sonos Handbell Ensemble. A native of North Carolina, Mr. Meredith received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Tulane University. He is a musical partner with mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade and dramatic soprano Olivia Stapp. His work has brought him into contact with such artists as Elly Ameling, Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, Eleanor Steber, Evelyn Lear and Gerald Moore for whom he has played masterclasses. For four years he was assistant to pianist Dalton Baldwin in summer art song masterclasses at the French Conservatory in Nice. He has been conductor of the Oakland Symphony Chorus, was on the faculty of Merritt College, taught masterclasses at Holy Names College and San Jose State University and was Festival Opera chorus master for two seasons. Mr. Meredith has been teaching, accompanying and coaching students for the Young Musicians Program at UC Berkeley for 14 years. His voice students are winners of many competitions and have gone for advanced degrees at top-ranked universities and conservatories, many on scholarships. He is on the board of directors for the Pacific Musical Society and has been on the boards of the San Francisco Girls Chorus and the Young People’s Symphony Orchestra. www.sonos.org
Leland Morine, baritone, studied voice and choral conducting in High School. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music at Fresno Pacific College and a Master of Arts in Musicology at California State University, Fresno. His operatic experience began with the Fresno Opera Association as a member of the chorus. He performed principal roles with Amato Opera, Opera Viva, and Regina Opera in New York City. Bay Area companies include West Bay Opera, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Lamplighters, Berkeley Symphony, Marin Opera Association, Oakland Lyric Opera, Pippen’s Pocket Opera, Masterworks Chorale of San Mateo, San Francisco City Chorus, and Peninsula Cantare. Roles performed include Silvio & Tonio in Pagliacci, Renato in Ballo, Scarpia in Tosca, Title role in Falstaff, Elder Germont in La traviata, Ezio in Attila, Michele & Gianni Schicchi in Il Trittico, Count in Le Nozze di Figaro, Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutte, and many Gilbert and Sullivan characters.
Elliot Nguyen is a baritone with operatic credits that include the role of John Brooke with the Opera Academy of California, the Imperial Commissioner in Madame Butterfly with Festival Opera and Antonio in Le Nozze di Figaro with Open Opera. His past roles in the UCSC Opera Program have been Gugliemo in Cosi fan Tutte, John Brooke in Little Women, the Vicar in Albert Herring, Belcore in E’lisir d’Amore, Antonio in Le Nozze di Figaro, and the King in Many Moons. He has also appeared as a soloist in Mozart’s Missa Brevis in B flat, Litaniae KV 109, Purcell’s Rejoice in the Lord Alway with the Santa Cruz Chorale Society. Charpentier’s Messe de Morts, Bach’s Magnificat in D, Ralph Vaughn Williams’ cantata Dona Nobis Pacem and Joseph Haydn’s Missa Sancti Nicolai with the UCSC Concert Choir. He is a recipient of the UCSC Dean’s Award for his exceptional performance in his Bachelor of Music Voice Senior Recital.
Ellen St. Thomas is a Virginia native who enjoys performing, teaching, producing and directing. She has performed with West Bay Opera, Livermore Opera, San Francisco Lyric Opera, Mission Opera and The Marin Summer Festival performing the roles of The Countess The Marriage of Figaro, Rosalinda Die Fledermaus, Mimi La boheme, Miss Jessel Turn of the Screw, Donna Elvira Don Giovanni, Pretzel Girl in Shostakovich’s, The Nose. Directing credits include La Boheme and Rachmaninoff’s, Aleko for the Russian Center in San Francisco, scenes for the Peninsula Teen Opera program and Holy Names University Opera Scenes Program, and Virago Theater’s Il Trovatore in Alameda. Ellen is co-founder of bay area opera company Open Opera and is very happy to be collaborating with Eileen Meredith and Robert Boyd on the creation of Island City Opera. Islandcityopera.org and openopera.net
July 27, 2014 at 4 PM ORINDA OPERA CONCERT IN THE PARK - FREE
July 24th, 2014
Opera Concert in the Park
Orinda Community Park, Orinda, CA
July 27, 2014 4 PM
Julia Nielsen, Host
Eileen Meredith, soprano; Angela Moser, soprano; Julia Nielsen, soprano; Cass Panuska, soprano;
Lisa van der Ploeg, mezzo-soprano; Alex Boyer, tenor; Torlef Borsting, baritone; Brad Kynard, baritone
James Meredith, pianist
“Sous le dôme épais” Lakme by Léo Delibes Angela Moser and Lisa van der Ploeg
“Crudel! Perchè finora” Le nozze di Figaro by Amadeus Mozart Torlef Borsting and Cass Panuska
“Hai gia vinta la causa” Le nozze di Figaro by Amadeus Mozart Torlef Borsting
“Via resti servita” Le nozze di Figaro by Amadeus Mozart Lisa van der Ploeg and Cass Panuska
“Casta Diva” Norma by Vincenzo Bellini Angela Moser
“Vogliatemi bene” Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini Eileen Meredith and Alex Boyer
“Un bel dì” Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini Eileen Meredith
“What a Movie” Trouble in Tahiti by Leonard Bernstein Lisa van der Ploeg
“A Woman is a Sometime Thing” Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin Brad Kynard
“Bess, You Is My Woman Now” Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin Brad Kynard and Julia Nielsen
“Make Believe” Showboat by Kern/Hammerstein II Cass Panuska and Torlef Borsting
“Musetta’s Waltz” La bohème by Giacomo Puccini Eileen Meredith
“Che gelida manina” La bohème by Giacomo Puccini Alex Boyer
“Sì, mi chiamano Mimì” La bohème by Giacomo Puccini Cass Panuska
“Toréador” Carmen by Georges Bizet Brad Kynard
“Seguidilla” Carmen by Georges Bizet Lisa van der Ploeg and Alex Boyer
“La fleur que tu m’avais jetée Carmen by Georges Bizet Alex Boyer
“Du bist der Lenz” Die Walküre by Richard Wagner Angela Moser
“I Feel Pretty? West Side Story by Bernstein/Sondheim Julia Nielsen
“A Boy Like That/I Have a Love” West Side Story by Bernstein/Sondheim Julia Nielsen and Lisa van der Ploeg
“Brindisi” La traviata by Giuseppe Verdi Angela Moser, Alex Boyer and Ensemble
Sponsored by The Orinda Rotary Club with support from The Orinda Park and Recreation Foundation and the Orinda Community Foundation AND people like you!
Open Opera brings free, professional opera to Bay Area parks and uses public space to build community through the arts. Open Opera is a project of Vocal Arts Institute, a California 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation. Tax ID #68-0335928
GRAND OPERA COMES TO ALAMEDA
July 9th, 2014
Island City Opera begins inaugural season in August
Alameda California, July 9 2014: Island City Opera will open its inaugural season Saturday, August 2 at 2pm with a first annual free opera concert in Franklin Park. The event will feature a range of favorite arias, duets and ensembles performed in the tree-lined beauty of a vibrant neighborhood park. It will be a perfect chance for newcomers and longtime opera fans alike to enjoy fresh air and beautiful music.
Just this past spring, Island City Opera was founded with a mission to bring great opera to Alameda, support the ambitions of promising and established performers, and encourage a love of the art of opera. The decision to focus on building connections to the community and inspiring artistic excellence was inspired in equal parts by Alameda’s positive energy and an exuberant love of opera. “Island City Opera invites Alamedans to be inspired by beautiful and powerful singing here in our own neighborhood”, said Executive Director Eileen Meredith. “Why not bring a picnic and a blanket to Franklin Park? That would be a great way to spend a summer Saturday afternoon.”
The opera house will be replaced by grass and sunshine, and the singers will be top-notch. Internationally acclaimed soprano Olivia Stapp, will serve a Master of Ceremonies. Two of the afternoon’s performers include Buffy Baggott and Eileen Meredith. Ms Baggott has traveled the country starring in everything from Carmen to Sweeney Todd, and is currently performing with the San Francisco Opera. Eileen Meredith sings with the San Francisco Opera and starred as Leonora in Virago’s production of Il Trovatore that prompted the launch of Island City Opera.
The founding of Island City Opera was inspired by Virago Theatre Company’s opera productions from 2006 to 2014 and especially the success of Virago’s production of Il Trovatore in January 2014. The show’s success encouraged some of the founders of Virago to create an organization dedicated exclusively to the demands and rewards of opera.
Island City Opera’s first season will continue with Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor in January 2015, followed by a pairing of two one-act operas in March: Rossini’s comedy Il Signor Bruschino (The Accidental Son), and Puccini’s tragedy Il Tabarro (The Cloak). Both of these offerings will take place at the Elks Club Ballroom at 2255 Santa Clara Avenue.
For more information about upcoming events and getting involved, visit www.islandcityopera.org.
DATE CORRECTION JUNE 2014 NEWSLETTER
June 11th, 2014
FREE Summer Concerts in 2014
Save the dates and tell your friends!
July 27 4-6 pm - Opera Concert in the Park, Orinda Community Park in Orinda
August 2 @ 2 pm - Island City Opera presents Opera Concert in the Park, Franklin Park in Alameda (www.islandcityopera.org)
August 16 (not August 18) @ 3 pm - Opera Concert in the Park, Dimond Park Recreation Center in Oakland
IL TROVATORE Feb. 7 and 9 Alameda Elks Club
February 7th, 2014
by Giuseppe Verdi
Directed by Ellen St. Thomas
Conducted by Maestro Robert Ashens
Only two more performances this weekend!
PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS HERE
Friday, February 7 at 7:30pm
Be “in the know” before the show!
6:45pm in the Lobby
Join Maestro Robert Ashens for insider info on the making of a Verdi monument
and prepare for audience participation during the opera!
Sunday, February 9 at 2:00pm
at The Elks Ballroom, 2255 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda
Opening weekend audiences are singing Virago’s praises:
“No one I talked to could have expected such a poignant and exceptional performance. It was magnificent and worthy of being staged at the Met!! The audience was very enthusiastic and there were moments of extraordinary sensitivity…A night to remember!”
“I have not been a season ticket holder to any venue but if [Virago Theatre Company] offers such quality opera, I may have to start. Bravo! and thank you for saving me a trip to the SF Opera House.”
“This was an outstanding opera experience not to be missed!
The vocals, chorus & orchestra were amazing!”
July 28, 2013 at 4 PM OPEN OPERA presents SUMMER SIZZLE CONCERT in ORINDA
July 12th, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Orinda, CA, July 12, 2013 - Open Opera is returning to Orinda for its 5th Annual Concert in the Park, on Sunday, July 28, 2013 at 4PM at The Orinda Community Park. Open Opera, is now in its fifth year of bringing professional quality, admissions-free opera concerts to Bay Area parks. This concert is sponsored by The Orinda Rotary Club and with support from The Orinda Park and Recreation Foundation and the Auxilliary of the Orinda Community Center. This is an event not to be missed.
Maestra Julia Nielsen of San Francisco will be hosting the event and has assembled an exciting cast of talented young singers to present everyone’s favorite opera arias and ensembles. The singers are former Merola graduates Alex Boyer, tenor and Lisa van der Ploeg, mezzo-soprano. Also singing are outstanding Bay Area artists Elizabeth Baker, mezzo-soprano, Coco Harris, soprano, Bradley Kynard, baritone, Angela Moser, soprano, Jason Sarten, bass-baritone and David Zelenka, baritone. James Meredith will be accompanying the singers on piano.
“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.
Board President, Lucy Beck, says Open Opera “makes opera accessible and enjoyable for a wider audience, without the cost or formality. Richard Marchick, Open Opera supporter and long-time Rotary member says, “The people of the City of Orinda look forward to this every year. The quality of singing is first rate and the musical experience is extraordinary. “
Open Opera is the only not-for-profit organization whose mission is to bring free professional opera performances to communities throughout the Bay Area. Since its founding in 2008 by three long time East Bay residents (Elizabeth Baker, Olivia Stapp and Ellen St. Thomas), Open Opera has presented over 30 performances of opera concerts and fully staged operas and has reached nearly 9,000 thousand residents-including those both familiar with and new to the art form.
WHAT: Free performance of crowd-pleasing opera favorites. Bring family, friends and a blanket or chair for a fun afternoon of Opera’s greatest ensembles and arias. Children are welcome.
Food and Drinks will be sold.
WHEN: Sunday, August 18, 2013 4 PM
WHERE: 28 Orinda Way, Orinda, CA 94563 Easy access from Orinda BART station / Free parking
Ellen St. Thomas, 415-819-8322, firstname.lastname@example.org
August 19th-OPEN OPERA IN DIMOND PARK, OAKLAND
August 1st, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oakland, CA, June 7, 2012 Open Opera is coming to OAKLAND on Sunday, August 19, 2012 at 3PM! Dimond Recreational Center and Park, a beautiful park located off of 580 @ Macarthur blvd, between Fruitvale and Park blvd, is hosting Open Opera’s second annual concert at Dimond Park in Oakland. Open Opera, is now in its 4th 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.
Board President, Lucy Beck, 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”.
This concert is sponsored by Karen Long and Karen Schroeder.
WHAT: Free performance of crowd-pleasing opera favorites
WHEN: Sunday, August 19 at 3:00
WHERE: Dimond Recreation Center & Park, 3860 Hanly Rd. Oakland, CA 94602
Dimond Recreation Center and Park is accessible to all persons with disabilities.
Ellen St. Thomas
For more information call:
Dimond Recreation Center & Park
3860 Hanly Rd. Oakland, CA 94602
Open Opera’s Upcoming events:
Gryphons Wild: “Women in Song: Adoration, Anguish & Animosity”
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: email@example.com or 408-773-0946
Open Opera. A project of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation..