From the Press
March 30, 2014
Based on the true story of a Venetian-born woman who married royalty at age 14 and ruled the island of Cyprus from 1474-89, Donizetti’s 1844 opera Caterina Cornaro is an act of decisive historical reimagination. The composer and librettist Giacomo Sacchèro grafted a melodramatic love triangle onto the story, gave the heroine a made-up noble suitor, and killed off a king in battle who actually died of an illness. In a final twist, two different endings now finish off the opera. Donizetti shaped and reshaped the facts to his dramatic and musical purposes.
Presented in a lightly staged concert version by West Edge Opera at the Northbrae Community Church in Berkeley, Caterina Cornaro proved to be, especially in the gripping final acts, an unjustly neglected lyric tragedy from the composer’s late period. The piece premiered a year after Don Pasquale. It’s a shame there was only one performance. This is a rarity that merits a more sustained rediscovery.
January 19, 2014
The word must have gotten out about soprano Emma McNairy. How else to explain the warm Sunday afternoon packed house at Berkeley’s Northbrae Community Church for West Edge Opera’s concert performance of Rossini’s early opera, Elizabeth, Queen of England, (or, more rightly put, for an opera performed in Italian with well-projected English translations, Elisabetta, regina d'Inghilterra).
. . . Music director Jonathan Khuner’s pianism, pacing, and English supertitle authoring were exemplary, and the other two members of the piano trio “orchestra,” violinist Sara Usher and cellist Judiyaba, performed quite well. . . Meanwhile, a major thumbs up, not only to McNairy, but also to a laudably determined company whose motto for its three-concert performance series — Opera Medium-Rare (but well done!) — absolutely spoke the truth on January 19.
Bay Area Pioneers: Mining the Imagination
West Edge Opera Director Mark Streshinsky is interviewed in this Opera America article [pdf] about Bay Area opera companies producing adventuresome new work. (Reprinted by permission of Opera America, the quarterly magazine of the national service organization for opera.)
2014 Summer Festival
West Edge announces our summer series of operas, held at the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley, July 26 to August 10. Select a three-opera series most convenient for you — 3 Saturdays, 3 Sundays, or all in one weekend. General and Artistic Director Mark Streshinsky explains it all for you here.
Buy series tickets to the 2014 Summer Festival.
Download the 2014 Summer Festival Brochure [pdf].
West Edge Opera
"Always trying to push the envelope."
Pushing the envelope. This is what drives our work. At West Edge Opera we believe there is no limit to where this art form can go. We want to break down the perceptions of opera as exclusive and distant and present the essence of the story. To reveal the emotions that can't be spoken.
Tweets by @westedgeopera
West Edge Opera thanks our Sponsors