Arts & Events

Press Release: West Edge Opera’s 2016 Festival Opens July 30 at Oakland’s Abandoned Train Station

From Marion Kohlstedt
Friday April 15, 2016 - 02:52:00 PM

West Edge Opera’s 2015 Festival of three operas will take place July 30 through August 14 at Oakland’s abandoned Train Station at 18th and Wood in West Oakland.

Under the combined artistic leadership of General/Artistic Director Mark Streshinsky and Music Director Jonathan Khuner, the Festival opens on Saturday, July 30 at 8 pm with Leoš Janácek’s The Cunning Little Vixen. With Janácek’s blend of lyrical modernism and central European folk melody, Vixen also has the distinction of being the only opera in the repertory based on a graphic novel. Soprano Amy Foote will sing the title role of the Vixen, with bass-baritone Philip Skinner as the Forester. Mezzo-soprano Nikola Printz is the Fox and others in the cast are Joseph Meyers, Nikolas Nackley and Carl King. Patrick Diamond will direct and Jonathan Khuner will conduct. Repeat performances are Sunday, August 7 at 3 pm and Saturday, August 13 at 1 pm.  

The first West Coast staging of Thomas Adés’ Powder Her Face opens on Sunday, July 31 at 3 pm. With a plot drawn from real life – the scandalous 1963 divorce proceedings of the "Dirty Duchess," Margaret Campbell, Duchess of Argyll, this modern masterpiece provokes and challenges. Laura Bohn sings the role of the Duchess and Emma McNairy returns after her astounding performance as last season’s Lulu, to sing the Maid. Tenor Jonathan Blalock and baritone Hadleigh Adams round out the cast. Elkhanah Pulitzer, who stunned audiences with last summer’s Lulu, returns to direct. A collaboration with the San Francisco contemporary music ensemble EarPlay, Powder Her Face will be conducted by Mary Chun. Repeat performances are Saturday, August 6 at 1 pm and Saturday, August 13 at 8 pm.  

Handel’s Agrippina, directed by Mark Streshinsky, opens Saturday, August 6 at 8 pm. In this opera that could be considered a prequel to Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea, Handel has created an oddball comedy filled with scheming characters from ancient Rome with a plot full of humorous escapades laden with irony, deception and intrigue. Agrippina is sung by Sarah Gartshore, Celine Ricci is Nero, Hannah Stephens is Poppea, Ryan Belongie is Ottone and Nikolas Nackley is Pallante. Also in the cast are Johanna Bronk Carl King and Michael Orlinsky. Renowned harpsichordist Jory Vinikour leads an early instrument ensemble. Agrippina repeats on Friday, August 12 at 8 pm and Sunday, August 14 at 3 pm.  

Pre-curtain talks will precede each performance in this year’s addition to the grounds, a Festival Pavilion, which will open two hours before each performance. Tables will be provided for picnicking in the pavilion and box meals will be available for order through our website in the near future. Each performance will feature complimentary beer, wine and soda, with bar donations going to support our young technical apprentice program. The company will also offer tours of the 1912 Beaux-Arts train station, designed by architect Jarvis Hunt, which for decades was the main train station for Oakland. It was abandoned after the 1989 earthquake when the tracks were moved to the other side of I-880. Every performance will also feature a post-show reception where patrons can meet the performers. 

Festival Subscriptions are now on sale, priced at $260 for "gold" seating and $154 for "silver" seating; also offered is $146 "silver" seating for seniors and youth. "Gold" seating is reserved; "silver" is general admission within a reserved section. 

Single tickets go on sale June 1 and will also include a non-series limited view price of $20, available a week prior to each performance. For more information or to view a virtual brochure, go to or call (510) 841-1903

A not-for-profit performing arts organization, West Edge (formerly Berkeley) Opera was founded in 1979 by Richard Goodman. Music Director Jonathan Khuner led the company from 1994-2009, when he was joined by Mark Streshinsky as Artistic Director, now General Director. West Edge Opera believes that everyone, regardless of age, circumstance or background, can discover the excitement and relevance of opera in their lives. The company looks at the art form through a new lens, re-imagining tradition to connect with a modern audience and create innovative experiences of the highest quality that respect the original spirit of the work.