August 2014 Special Events

Ciao, Opera Mavens. Here are some special opera-tunities that defy categorization:

FEINSTEIN’S AT THE NIKKO or 415-394-1111
Operation Opera
– West Coast premiere of a show that has played to SRO audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. “Bari-chunk” Adelmo Guidarelli uses a vintage music hall style to weave well-known opera arias and their pop culture references into a performance that shuns pomposity and reminds us how accessible and enjoyable opera really is! Tickets $35 Premium, $50 Up Front, plus $20 Food & Beverage minimum per person in the showroom; available through, discounted tickets available on
Thu Jul 31 and Aug 7 at 8pm, Fri Aug 1 and Aug 8 at 8pm, Sat Aug 2 and Aug 9 at 7pm, Sun Aug 3 and Aug 10 at 7pm, Feinstein’s at the Nikko Hotel, 222 Mason St, SF

Midsummer Music – Concert of rarely performed French and Italian Baroque madrigals and songs on authentic instruments featuring soprano Nanette McGuinness, mezzo Kindra Scharich, tenor Jonathan Smucker, and bass Kirk Eichelberger (OSJ 2001-03, 2005-06). Tickets $25 Public, $15 Mechanics’ Institute Members and Friends of Vinaccesi Ensemble; advance reservations required, available through or call 415-393-0100.
Fri Aug 1 at 7pm (wine café opens at 6:30pm), Mechanics’ Institute, 57 Post St, SF

The Golden Age of Russian Vocal Music
– Concert by Bolshoi Theater and Metropolitan Opera soloists featuring countertenor Andrey Nemzer and bass Mikhail Svetlov with pianist Donna Stoering; program includes opera scenes, arias, duets, and songs by Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Glinka, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and Rachmaninoff. Tickets $30 Preferred Seating, $24 General Admission, $15 Seniors and Students, available through
Fri Aug 8 at 8pm, St. Mark’s Church, 2300 Bancroft Way, Berkeley

An Introduction to Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen – Ringmaster Phyllis Neumann’s course concludes with Gotterdämmerung and a special Tribute to Wagner! Socializing, barbecue, and potluck begin at 12 noon, followed by the afternoon’s big-screen presentation.
Sat Aug 9 at 1pm, Gotterdämmerung (5 ½ hrs plus intermissions)
Sat Aug 23 at 2pm, A Tribute to Wagner
10350 Cabrillo Hwy, 3 miles south of Pescadero Road (look for the American flag)

Marin Chapter Champagne Gala – Benefit celebrating 32 years of bringing opera into local schools! Enjoy an afternoon with the Adler Fellows in the lovely Music Pavilion of San Domenico School; hors d’oeuvres, champagne, and soft drinks will be served. Tickets $50 per person; available at door or in advance (check payable to Marin Chapter SF Opera Guild, mail to Anne Zucchi, 596 Riviera Circle, Larkspur, CA 94939).
Sat Aug 9 at 2pm, San Domenico Conservatory, 1500 Butterfield Rd, San Anselmo
East Bay Chapter Summer Potluck Garden Party – Join us for a delightful afternoon and evening with your fellow opera lovers! A brief chapter meeting will be followed by a potluck supper and presentation by Linda Riebel, who has just published a book about Irene Dalis and Opera San Jose. This event is open to all, but space is limited and reservations required before Aug 18; contact Silvia Lin at 925-838-9255 or for more information.
Sat Aug 23 at 4:30pm, 921 Kirkcrest Road, Alamo

Opera in the Garden – Annual benefit for Healdsburg Center for the Arts: Adler Fellows in concert with special guest Eugene Brancoveanu (Adler 2005-06) and dinner by Michelin Star Chef Jesse Mulgren. Tickets $170 per person; reserve by contacting or Pat at 707-477-8750.
Wed Aug 27 at 5pm, Madrona Manor, 1001 Westside Rd, Healdsburg


August 2014 Performances

Ciao, Opera Mavens. The summer opera scene continues to heat up!

Carmen (Bizet) – Fully staged production by the Academy’s young artists in honor of Marilyn Horne’s 80th birthday; directed by David Paul, James Gaffigan conducting.
Fri Aug 1 at 7:30pm and Sun Aug 3 at 2:30pm
Granada Theatre, 1214 State St, Santa Barbara

WEST EDGE OPERA or 510-841-1903
La Boheme (Puccini) – Experience anew a perennial favorite; you’ll feel as though you’re part of the action as the opera unfolds around you! In Italian with English supertitles; directed by Mark Streshinsky, Jonathan Khuner conducting.
Fri Aug 1 at 8pm and Sun Aug 10 at 3pm
Hydrogen Jukebox (Glass) – Alan Ginsberg’s poetry, set to Philip Glass’s pulsating lyricism, captures the heart and heartache of America. Featuring sopranos Sara Duchovnay and Molly Mahoney, mezzo Nicole Takesono, tenor Jonathan Blalock, baritone Efrain Solis (Adler 2014), and bass Kenneth Kellogg; directed by Elkhanah Pulitzer, David Möschler conducting.
Sat Aug 2 and Fri Aug 8 at 8pm
The End of the Affair (Heggie) – Based on Graham Greene’s novel, the story of a woman who makes a promise she must keep that will change her whole world. Featuring soprano Carrie Hennessey, mezzo Donna Olson, baritones Philip Cutlip and Philip Skinner (Adler 1986-87); directed by Mark Streshinsky, Jonathan Khuner conducting.
Sun Aug 3 at 3pm, Thu Aug 7 and Sat Aug 9 at 8pm
All performances at Ed Roberts Campus, 3075 Adeline St (Ashby BART), Berkeley

Pirates of Penzance (Gilbert & Sullivan) – This popular comic opera about pirates with a soft spot for orphans and poetry was the duo’s first work to premiere in the U.S. and launched their international career. Sullivan’s rousing score and Gilbert’s hilarious lyrics guarantee fun for the entire family!
Fri Aug 1 at 8pm, Sat Aug 2 at 2pm & 8pm, Sun Aug 3 at 2pm
Lesher Center for Arts, 1601 Civic Dr (at Locust St), Walnut Creek
Sat Aug 9 at 2pm & 8pm, Sun Aug 10 at 2pm
Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St, Mountain View
Thu Aug 14 at 8pm, Fri Aug 15 at 8pm, Sat Aug 16 at 2pm & 8pm, Sun Aug 17 at 2pm
Lam Research Theatre, Yerba Buena Center for Arts, 700 Howard St, San Francisco
Sat Aug 23 at 2pm & 8pm, Sun Aug 24 at 2pm
Bankhead Theatre, Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center, 2400 1st St, Livermore

Opera Concert in the Park – Dramatic soprano / director Olivia Stapp hosts Island City Opera of Alameda’s singers Eileen Meredith, Buffy Baggott, Deb Niles, Raymond Chavez, Sigmund Seigel, and Paul Cheak performing with pianist James Meredith. *FREE*
Sat Aug 2 at 2 pm, Franklin Park, 1433 San Antonio Ave, Alameda
Opera Concert in the Park – Bring a blanket, umbrella, chair, kids, dogs, and your love of opera to this lovely concert in the BBQ area of the park near the Fruitvale entrance. *FREE*
Sat Aug 16 at 3pm,Dimond Park Recreation Center, 3860 Hanly Rd, Oakland

Adler Fellows in Concert – Arias and ensembles from some of opera’s greatest composers including Mozart, Handel, and Verdi. Tickets $20 Reserved, $25 Premier, $30 VIP; available through
Sun Aug 10 at 2pm. Napa Valley Opera House, 1030 Main St, Napa

MEROLA OPERA PROGRAM or 415-565-6427
Grand Finale – Hear the amazing Merola artists before they head out to dazzle audiences on opera stages around the world! A thrilling evening of arias and scenes from beloved operas with direction by Merola apprentice Omer Ben Seadia; Ari Pelto conducting. Following the performance, toast the artists’ successes at a celebratory reception in the WMOH Lower Level Café. Tickets $25-60 (reception sold separately).
Sat Aug 16 at 7:30pm, War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco

OPERA BRAVURA or 408-673-7228
Vengeance, Betrayal, Desire, and Fire! – Hear the best pieces from 20 different operas and orchestral works performed by singers in full costume accompanied by a 35-piece orchestra and English supertitles. Featuring soprano Sharon Maxwell, mezzo Katja Heuzeroth, tenor Christopher Bengochea (OSJ 2005-08), and baritone Michael Taylor; Greg Anderson conducting.
Sat Aug 16 at 7:30pm, Montgomery Theater, 271 S Market St, San Jose

VERISMO OPERA or 707-864-5508
La Boheme (Puccini) – Rotating casts perform this romantic opera about Rodolfo, the aspiring poet who falls in love with Mimi, a fragile seamstress. Tickets $25 General, $18 Seniors / Students, $12 Children under 12; available through
Sat Aug 16, Aug 23, and Aug 30 at 7:30pm
Sun Aug 17, Aug 24 and Aug 31 at 2pm
Bay Terrace Theater (with Mira Theatre Guild), 51 Daniels Ave, Vallejo


Opera Good News and Bad

Ciao, Opera Mavens. Just a couple of quick news items this afternoon.

Here’s the bad news: Carlo Bergonzi has died at age 90. He sang at the SF Opera in Forza in 1969 and Ballo in 1985. He also sang a recital here in 1986. Although he didn’t perform a whole lot here, internationally he was a major opera star. You might check out the opera nostalgia website here:

In other news. Bayreuth’s Tannhauser Had a Technical Breakdown a few minutes into the annual summer festival’s opening performance.

First Glitches, Then Boos at Opera Festival Billboard – Bayreuth’s annual opera festival has gotten off to an unexpectedly dramatic start, with a technical malfunction forcing an interruption …

This production of Tannhauser will be live-streamed on August 12 at 4pm German time (7am Pacific coast time here):

Potpourri of Opera News

Ciao, Opera Mavens. Lots of hot opera news this evening, mostly out of NY.

Profits decline for Metropolitan Opera broadcasts

New York Post – The Metropolitan Opera’s plan to push high-definition video performances into movie theaters worldwide to boost revenue isn’t panning out.

Protesters Demand That Met Opera Cancel Show Some Call Anti-Semitic

CBS New York – Jewish groups this week were trying to get the Metropolitan Opera to cancel an opera based on the cruise ship murder of a Jewish businessman …

Met Opera’s Peter Gelb Gives Unions Ultimatum: Contract In One Week Or Lockout

The New York Times story. Storm clouds brewing. Will the Met open Sep 22?

When Richard Strauss Faced Down American GIs
The New Yorker story by Alex Ross, author of The Rest is Noise.

Die Walküre – An Amazing View from a Dozen ROH Cameras

At this site you can see Bryn Terfel in Act 3 of the Royal Opera’s production of Die Walküre from every angle caught by the HD cameras. This goes along with comments by the Technical Director and the Stage Director as it is happening. You can even follow along with the score and the prompter’s book. Be careful. You could get hooked on this.

David Pogue makes opera debut at Wolf Trap with Google Glass in ‘Carmen’

Washington Post Technology writer David Pogue at Wolftrap with Google Glass. (Pogue, by the way, is author of Opera for Dummies.)