Highlights from West Edge Opera's press coverage:
June 2018 - California Alumni Magazine: Opera Untucked
Begun as a geologists labor of love, West Edge Opera company is a cultural gem.
Music director Jonathan Khuner ’70, M.A. ’73, has been a shaping force for West Edge Opera company since the mid-1980s, when he began conducting for this vibrant troupe.
August 2017 - San Francisco Classical Voice: A Rare Delight from Mozart's Vienna Debuts at West Edge Opera
West Edge Opera has done us a favor in reviving Vicente Martín y Soler’s L’arbore di Diana (The Chastity Tree), in a bright and vibrant production by Artistic Director Mark Streshinsky at the old Pacific Pipe warehouse in West Oakland and featuring a raft of superior singers.
August 2017 - San Francisco Chronicle: West Edge Opera stages a Viennese Rarity
There’s a temptation to imagine that 18th century musical Vienna was populated by Mozart, Haydn and a bunch of guys named Moe. That notion isn’t entirely wrong as a rough first approximation of history, but it leaves a lot out of the picture.
It omits, to take just one example, Vicente Martín y Soler, the Spanish-born composer whose comic opera “L’arbore di Diana” (“The Tree of Diana”) got a rare and rollicking production over the weekend from the West Edge Opera under the cheeky title “The Chastity Tree.”
August 2017 - Opera Wire: The Chastity Tree: An Exciting & Enticing Comedic Romp
Director Mark Streskinsky’s “Chastity Tree” doesn’t stop for a moment, with wild antics, continuous stage business, and details always specific and well-executed, providing a spirited theatrical adventure from top to toe.
August 2017 - San Francisco Chronicle: West Edge Opera strikes a blow in favor of Ambroise Thomas' Hamlet
“Hamlet” gets a bad rap from observers who too glibly measure it against its illustrious source.... But the West Edge production strikes a valiant blow in defense of the always-wise principle of taking a work on its own terms.
January 2017 - San Francisco Classical Voice: Local Composers Caught in the Act at West Edge Opera's Snapshot
The four operas featured on Program One had such vastly different subjects -- ranging from the biblical to the technological -- it's difficult to imagine anyone coming out of the January 22 performance without having enjoyed at least one of the works.
January 2017 - Repeat Performances: West Edge Opera launches its new "Snapshot" series
Snapshot should be applauded for its wide-ranging and inventive material, both in words and music. That it is also beautifully presented and performed seems the frosting on a divinely delicious cake. It's also fun.
January 2017 - San Francisco Classical Voice: Snapshot takes West Edge Opera into new territory
This year, Streshinsky went east with board member Brian Rosen and something new to show off: West Edge Opera’s inaugural Snapshot festival — brainchild of Streshinsky, Rosen, and artistic director Jonathan Khuner — which will showcase selections from eight selected new operatic works.
August 2016 - SF Chronicle: West Edge’s ‘Powder’ is a brash erotic adventure
If this is what can be done in the arena of new music — this degree of vocal and theatrical magnificence, this level of fearlessness and artistic imagination — then why on Earth should we ever have to settle for less?
July 2016 - SF Chronicle: This Oakland opera company has an edge
In just the past few years, this enterprising East Bay company — which began life as the Berkeley Opera but has seen a flowering with its new name, mission and leadership — has become one of the region’s most exciting cultural touchstones. Operating on a shoestring budget and a seemingly boundless font of energy, West Edge offers a blend of new and recent work, early music and pieces from the standard repertoire done in innovative ways.
October 2015 - Opera News: Review of Lulu in Oakland
"Even for West Edge Opera, the peripatetic, risk-taking troupe that is known for producing intriguing repertory on a limited budget in various Berkeley and Oakland locals, the choice seemed a bit overly ambitious, if not foolhardy. Yet with an outstanding cast of committed singing actors, twenty instrumentalists, and a production team that explored the opera's gritty realism within the stylized trappings of 1920s German cinema, this Lulu unexpectedly came to life and scored a magnificent success."
July 2015 - San Francisco Chronicle: West Edge makes a Brilliant Case for Lulu
"West Edge Opera has proved itself bold and resourceful, and the “Lulu” that opened the company’s summer festival season Saturday night at the abandoned train station in West Oakland is a powerfully impressive undertaking from top to bottom — fearless in its dramatic imagination, arresting in its musical particulars."
March 29, 2015: San Jose Mercury News: Review: West Edge Opera thrills with 'Poliuto'
"If the purpose of West Edge Opera's Opera Medium Rare series is to introduce audiences to seldom-performed works, then Saturday afternoon's performance of "Poliuto" was an unqualified success.
"And if the point was to give the audience a thrilling time at the opera -- well, mission accomplished there, too."
March 19, 2015: Contra Costa Times: West Edge Opera dusts off Donizetti's rarely heard 'Poliuto'
"Creativity and resourcefulness continue to run high on the Bay Area's vibrant classical music scene. A prime example is the modestly financed East Bay-based West Edge Opera. "
"West Edge Opera: (July 26-Aug. 10) Homelessness was a boon for this endlessly inventive company, which washed up in an unpromising lobby space in Berkeley and transformed it with wit and imagination into the venue for a brilliant triple play of operas by Puccini, Philip Glass and Jake Heggie."
-Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle
Invigorating is not an adjective you would normally associate with Puccini’s tragic tale of love and death in a Parisian garret. But at the Saturday night opening of Mark Streshinsky’s production of La bohème for West Edge Opera, the erosion of boundaries between singers and audience left attendees beaming.
-Jason Victor Serinus, San Francisco Classical Voice