Locally-sourced food has been all the rage for a while now, but locally-sourced opera?
Berkeley Chamber Opera hopes to provide just that—productions which showcase the work of the Bay Area’s wealth of resident professional talent in accessible settings, at a price which is affordable for a wide range of opera fans.
Many who have been introduced to opera through the popular Metropolitan Opera films haven’t yet experienced the unique excitement of live performance.
Berkeley Chamber Opera intends to change that.
BCO is dedicated to presenting local professional opera singers in staged productions with a chamber orchestra in intimate venues in the San Francisco Bay Area. Founder Eliza O’Malley, created BCO as an outgrowth of her work singing leading roles with such local opera companies as Verismo Opera, Handel Opera Project and Goat Hall Productions and producing concerts with the Dazzling Divas.
The company’s first venture, Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte, was performed at the historic Berkeley Piano Club in 2012 under the baton of Bay Area luminary Jonathan Khuner. It quickly sold out and received a standing ovation. 2015 offered another Mozart favorite, Le Nozze di Figaro (the Marriage of Figaro), in two performances at the larger Hillside Club, just north of the U.C. Berkeley campus with conductor Osvaldo de Leon. BCO now makes the Hillside Club it’s home.
Last season Maestro Alexander Katsman joined forces with director Elly Lichenstein of Cinnabar Theater to present Verdi’s rarely performed Joan of Arc. And in January of this year Berkeley native daughter Lisa Houston took BCO to new levels (literally!) in her dramatic staging of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut with Maestro Jonathan Khuner. Other recent highlights include Maestro Katsman’s moving rendition of Gian Carlo Menotti’s rarely performed 1950 opera The Consul with notable stage direction by Igor Vieira and Maestro Khuner and director Ellen St. Thomas’ vivacious Luisa Miller.
BCO has also collaborated with William Ludtke’s Handel Opera Project in concert performances of Mozart’s rarely performed La Clemenza di Tito and The Abduction from the Seraglio as well as Cherubini’s Medee.
What people are saying:
“My partner and I enjoyed the performance of Manon Lescaut. so we would like to come and see other performances at the Berkeley Chamber Opera”
“This production of I Capuleti ei Montecchi was an unqualified success. In every aspect – singing, orchestra, staging, costumes, acting – this production demonstrated what great things a small opera company can do. Let us hope we can expect many more wonderful productions from Berkeley Chamber Opera. “