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Tragic. Classic. Controversial.

2 hours 45 minutes including 20 minute intermission

It may be the most famous play in the English-speaking world--the title role has proven irresistible for actors from Berndhardt to Olivier. For all that, Hamlet’s operatic incarnation is a rarity. In 1868 Ambroise Thomas gave the melancholy Dane lyrical life in a work we are delighted to offer this festival season. Baritone Edward Nelson, fresh from his performances at SF Opera in Don Pasquale, takes on the title role. Soprano Emma McNairy also joins the cast as Ophelie, returning after her successes in 2015's Lulu and 2016's Powder Her Face

Opera talk begins 45 minutes before curtain. 

Music by Ambroise Thomas

Libretto by Michel Carré and Jules Barbier

In French with English supertitles

Conducted by Jonathan Khuner

Directed by Aria Umezawa

All performances take place at Pacific Pipe Oakland near 1908 Poplar St. 


Hamlet photos by Cory Weaver



Director Aria Umezawa makes her West Edge debut in Hamlet. Umezawa is Artistic Director of Toronto-based independent opera company Opera 5, and the creator, director, and writer of the webseries "Opera Cheats". A graduate of McGill University, she was an Apprentice Stage Director in the 2016 Merola Opera Program, where she staged the Merola Grand Finale concert. She has been praised for her irreverent, post-modern, imaginative and quirky visual style by online and print publications such as The Boston GlobeThe Boston PhoenixSan Francisco Chronicle, and Toronto’s Barcza Blog. Umezawa is a current Adler Fellow at San Francisco Opera.

Check out this West Edge interview with Umezawa!

Jonathan Khuner has been Musical Director of West Edge Opera since 1986 and served as Artistic Director from 1994 to 2009. He has conducted over 65 of our productions. He has also worked as assistant conductor at the San Francisco Opera for over thirty years, at the Metropolitan Opera in New York for over fifteen years, and has served as well on the musical staff of Chicago's Lyric Opera since 1992.  In 2013 he conducted the first Wagner opera ever performed in the nation of Albania: Tannhӓuser, at the National Theater in Tirana, and the Wagner Mini-Ring at Minnesota Concert Opera

Costume designer Maggie Whitaker (HamletFrankenstein) received her BFA in Theatre Design at the University of South Florida and her MFA in Costume Design at the University of San Diego, California. She has designed costumes for the world premieres of nationally recognized plays including “HeLa” by Lauren Gunderson and Geetha Reddy at TheatreFirst, “I and You,” by Lauren Gunderson at Marin Theatre, “Truffaldino Says No!” by Ken Slattery at Shotgun Players, and “Wildflowers,” by Lila Rose Kaplan at UCSD.  Her work as a costume designer has been seen at theaters internationally including The Apollo Theatre, Teatro Tinta Roja, Canal Café Theatre, TheatreWorks, Marin Theatre, Aurora Theatre, Magic Theatre, Ray of Light Theatre, Shotgun Players, Crowded Fire Theatre, and Cutting Ball Theatre. 

Lighting designer Lucas Krech (Hamlet, Frankenstein) is a New York City based Lighting & Video artist who has designed operas, dances, plays, and performance pieces across the United States and in Europe. Installation, lighting, and video art has been shown at Black Rock City, SOMArts, Studio Gracia, and others. Krech was the winner of the 2011 “Best Lighting Design – Local” at Broadway World, San Francisco for his lighting of “Care of Trees” with Shotgun Players. He has designed Off-Broadway (“Sake with the Haiku Geisha”, “The Last Word…”, “Becoming Adele”, “Fate’s Imagination”) and Regionally (The Magic, Marin Theatre Company, The Barter, Center Rep, and others).

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Set designer Jean-Francois Revon has designed over 250 productions for theaters throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.  Some of his credits include the world premiere of Opera San José’s The Tale of the Nutcracker, as well as West Bay Opera’s Tosca, The Barber of Seville, Carmen, Turn of the Screw, Don Pasquale, The Consul, The Tales of Hoffmann and La bohème. He also designed North Bay Opera’s La Bohème and Don Giovanni, which was nominated in the 1998 “Artsy” for set design. He recently designed La Bohème for the Berkshire Opera. Jean-Francois made his Rimrock Opera debut with Girl of the Golden West