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West Edge Opera Offers $19 Tickets For Their Summer Festival

By: Jun. 11, 2019
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West Edge Opera Offers $19 Tickets For Their Summer Festival  Image

West Edge Operais offering $19 tickets for all performances in their upcoming summer festival, including the highly anticipated Bay Area premiere of Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek's adaptation of the Lars von Trier film Breaking the Waves. True to our East Bay roots, we have long been committed to presenting world class opera in unconventional locations and to an often overlooked audience. By offering a limited number of tickets at only $19, we hope to erase any barrier that would keep patrons from experiencing the drama and intensity of fully produced opera.

The Threepenny Opera by Kurt Weill and Berthold Brecht opens the season with performances on Saturday, August 3 at 8:30 with repeat performances on Sunday, August 11 at 3:00 and Thursday, August 15 at 8:30. Elkhanah Pulitzer will direct the production, marking her seventh production with West Edge Opera. Pulitzer is well known to West Edge audiences for her ground-breaking productions of Luluand Powder Her Face. Last summer she directed our production of Quartettby Luca Francesconi. Conducting from the piano will be David Möschler who made his West Edge debut with Hydrogen Jukebox in 2014. Noted for his work in musicals and music theater, Möschler has been music director for several productions at Shotgun Players and ACT and is founding artistic director of Awesöme Orchestra. The cast is headed up by tenor Derek Chester as MacHeath making his West Edge Opera debut. Polly Peachum will be soprano Maya Kherani who charmed our audiences as Britomarte in The Chastity Treein 2017. Well known to Bay Area audiences is mezzo soprano Catherine Cook who will take on the role of Mrs. Peachum. Lucy Brown will be performed by soprano Erin O'Meally. Mezzo soprano Sarah Coit will take on the role of Jenny, made famous by Weill's wife and muse Lotte Lenya. The opera will be in English with English Surtitles.

Christoph Willibald Gluck's Orfeo & Euridice opens Sunday, August 4 at 3:00 with repeat performances Friday, August 9 at 8:30 and Saturday, August 17 at 8:30. As perhaps a small correction to our male dominated art form, Orfeo & Euridice will be conducted, directed, choreographed, designed and performed by women an non-binary artists. KJ Dahlaw makes their debut with West Edge, leading the production as both director and choreographer. Soprano Christine Brandes takes on the musical direction as she begins a new career as a conductor. Presented as a love story between two women, Orfeo will be performed by mezzo-soprano Nikola Printz who last was with West Edge in the role of The Fox in The Cunning Little Vixen. Her lover Euridice will be sung by Soprano Maria Valdes, while Soprano Shawnette Sulker sings the role of Amore. Orfeo & Euridice will be performed in Italian with English surtitles.

The final opera of our festival will be the West Coast Premiere of Breaking the Waves by Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek with performances on Saturday, August 10 at 8:30, Friday, August 16 at 8:30 and Sunday, August 18 at 3:00. Based on a film by Lars von Trier, Breaking the Waves has been hailed as one of the best new operas of recent years. The opera premiered in Philadelphia in 2016 and had subsequent performances in New York in 2017. Our new production will be directed by West Edge General Director Mark Streshinsky and conducted by Music Director, Jonathan Khuner. In the central role of Bess McNeill will be soprano Sara LeMesh. Sara is a new music specialist performing with several groups in the Bay Area and recently wowed West Edge fans at our annual gala, singing excerpts of György Ligeti and George Crumb. In the role of Jan Nyman, we are thrilled to present baritone Morgan Smith who created the role of Starbuck in Jake Heggie's Moby Dick, performing the role at San Francisco Opera as well as on the Great Performances telecast. Dodo McNeill, Bess' sister-in-law, will be performed by mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich who last appeared with the company in Monteverdi's Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria in 2015. Tenor Alex Boyer, who was Alwa in our Lulu in 2015, will be Dr. Richardson. The opera will be performed in English with English surtitles.

From The New York Times: "It is not easy to find new operas that command attention, tell their story lucidly and create a powerful, permeating mood. Dark and daring, "Breaking the Waves" does all this with sensitivity and style." -Zachary Woolf

Opera News wrote: "Breaking the Waves stands among the best twenty-first-century American operas yet produced". -David Shengold

"Breaking the Waves" has been recognized by the Music Critics Association of North America with the Best New Opera Award.

The audience is invited to hear General Director, Mark Streshinsky lead talks approximately 45 minutes before all performances in the adjacent out-door amphitheater. The West Edge Festival Pavilion will return this year, located immediately outside the performance space and patrons will once again be able to enjoy pre-ordered box meals from Berkeley's Poulet prior to each show or bring their own picnic. Complimentary beer and wine will also be served in the Pavilion which will open to the public two hours before each performance. Opera-goers are invited to attend a free wine reception in the Pavilion after each performance where they'll be able to meet the artists and staff. This year, we will replace the silver section folding chairs with more comfortable seating.

3-Opera series tickets are priced from $129 to $339. Series ticket holders enjoy priority seating and a discount as well as easy exchanges. Single tickets are priced at $19-$125. All tickets may be purchased online at or by calling (510) 841-1903 (with the exception of the $19 Bronze tickets, which can only be purchased online.)

A not-for-profit performing arts organization, West Edge Opera, formerly Berkeley Opera was founded in 1979 by Richard Goodman. Music Director Jonathan Khuner led the company from 1994-2009, when he was joined by Mark Streshinsky as Artistic Director, now General Director. West Edge Opera looks at the art form through a new lens, re-imagining tradition to connect with a modern audience and create innovative experiences of the highest quality that respect the original spirit of the work.



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