Two months ago, West Edge Opera artistic director Mark Streshinsky learned that the company was losing its venue at Oakland’s Abandoned Train Station. The news couldn’t have come at a worse time the company’s summer season was fully planned, and rehearsals were about to begin. But Streshinsky didn’t despair white ballet shoes womens. Instead, he went into high gear, finding a new performance space that was just as accommodating — and just as unusual. That’s par for the course for West Edge, which has become the Bay Area’s most adventurous opera company..
Now Streshinsky and company are putting the finishing touches on their new venue, a 500-seat space at Pacific Pipe in West Oakland. In this massive former factory, West Edge will present its 2017 festival, which features three very different operas: “Hamlet” by Ambroise Thomas, “The Chastity Tree” by Vicente Martín y Soler and “Frankenstein” by Libby Larsen. Performances run Aug. 5-20. On a recent afternoon, Streshinsky took me on a tour of Pacific Pipe, which was built in 1920 and refurbished in the 1960s. It’s mostly an artist space now, with outer walls covered with grafitti and large metal sculptures displayed in the tented outdoor area where operagoers will sip wine and hear preshow talks. Inside, a large stage was already in place; tech crews were still installing lighting and video screens. On the other side of the building, workers were building the temple for this year’s Burning Man festival white ballet shoes womens.
A perfect place for opera? Streshinsky says yes. “This is what should be happening in this art form,” he said. “People want a total experience at the opera.”. We were joined by Edward Nelson, who will sing three performances in the title role of “Hamlet,” opening Aug. 5. Nelson, a handsome baritone, is a former Adler Fellow who has given impressive performances in San Francisco Opera productions of “Don Pasquale” and “Madama Butterfly.” He’d just returned from Oslo, where he sang the title role in Debussy’s “Pelléas and Melisande” at Norwegian National Opera, and he was thrilled to be cast in “Hamlet.” “French is really my language,” said Nelson. “The vocal writing for baritone is unique. In ‘Hamlet,’ it sits in a range that’s quite high white ballet shoes womens. For me, it’s a dream role.”..
A dream role with a dream cast: Thomas’ opera isn’t often produced (S.F. Opera last offered it in 1996), and the West Edge cast includes the Ophelia character, here named Ophelie, of soprano Emma McNairy, who was scintillating in the company’s 2015 “Lulu” and 2016 “Powder Her Face.” Soprano Susanne Mentzer is Gertrude, and Philip Skinner is Claudius. West Edge music director Jonathan Khuner conducts. “Hamlet,” written 260 years after Shakespeare’s play, is in five acts, but West Edge is paring it down, cutting the score’s ballets and orchestral interludes. The result is a streamlined 2 hours and 45 minutes. Streshinsky says the look of the opera will be edgy; Pacific Pipe should serve nicely as Elsinore white ballet shoes womens.
The night after “Hamlet” opens, Streshinsky directs “The Chastity Tree,” a rarity by Mozart contemporary Soler. Composed in 1787, this romp on Mt. Olympus features nymphs, shepherds and a Cupid in drag. “It’s quite sexy,” says Streshinsky. “The message is that love should be free, so it’s a great piece for the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love.” Robert Mollicone conducts, and the cast is starry – featured singers include sopranos Christine Brandes and Nikki Einfeld white ballet shoes womens. The season concludes with Larsen’s “Frankenstein,” opening Aug. 12. The high-tech production is conducted by Khuner and directed by Matthew Ozawa, with video design by Jeremy Knight. Streshinsky says it “really extends our parameters.”..