From the Artistic Director

Berkeley Opera is Now Berkeley West Edge Opera

After much consideration and collaboration we have decided on a name which captures our new spirit of growth and excitement. Our first season outside of Berkeley was completely exhilarating and our audiences were captivated by our new home in The El Cerrito Performing Arts Theater. We sold more tickets per performance than in the history of Berkeley Opera. In order to survive in this economy we have pulled back our budget, but focused on presenting singers who are performing on the national level alongside the best of the local talent. All this has paid off and we are on our way to becoming a regional company that people talk about.

This season we will continue our tradition of doing opera with a twist: three operas from three different eras done three different ways! This season for the first time we will present a fall production. Handel's Xerxes heads our lineup, with Paula Rasmussen taking on the title role. She has performed this part to great acclaim world-wide (including a DVD in a German production). Xerxes will be conducted by the noted Baroque expert Alan Curtis.

In the spring we totally re-invent Bizet's opera Carmen for a production we are calling The Carmen Fixation, paring the grand opera down to its core and presenting it with Buffy Baggott in the title role. Buffy has performed Carmen at Chicago Lyric and Arizona Opera among others and is well known to Berkeley Opera audiences. Her most recent production with us was the world premiere of Chrysalis.

Next summer we present another world premiere, Caliban Dreams, by Clark Suprynowicz and Amanda Moody. Between the lines of Shakespeare's The Tempest, we meet Ariel and Caliban, plotting their revenge against Prospero. Caliban will be performed by John Duykers, one of the leading artists of the new opera scene today.

I hope you are all as enthusiastic about our future as I am. As we continue to expand our artistic vision, I encourage all of you to join the Berkeley West Edge Opera family and become supporters and subscribers.

Mark Streshinsky
Artistic Director
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