Looking back on the 2014 Summer Festival

From the Press

August 11, 2014
'La Bohème' review:
West Edge Opera innovates in meager space

By Joshua Kosman

Like the impoverished but resourceful young esthetes in "La Bohème," the folks at West Edge Opera have turned the company's precarious finances into a golden artistic opportunity. The compact 2014 season — a tight little three-opera festival that concluded Sunday afternoon with a beautiful and magnificently inventive production of Puccini's opera — demonstrated how far a combination of determination and imagination will take you.

...This mini-festival, which also included Philip Glass' incantatory "Hydrogen Jukebox" to texts by Allen Ginsberg and Jake Heggie's Graham Greene adaptation "The End of the Affair," has been a small miracle of theatrical inventiveness and musical splendor. The pro­ductions, two of them staged by Streshinsky, have made ingenious use of what would seem to be a barren space, and the vocal and instrumental performances have served as a reminder of how ambitious a small company can and should be.


August 8, 2014
Apocalypse Wow: Hydrogen Jukebox at West Edge Opera
By Jessica Balik

Can the idea of an impending apocalypse somehow alleviate human suffering? The visionary American poet Allen Ginsberg has suggested such a possibility underlies Hydrogen Jukebox (1990), a chamber opera or “melodrama“ that Ginsberg created with the composer Philip Glass. On Friday evening at the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley, the West Edge Opera courageously performed this dizzying and dumbfounding piece.


August 5, 2014
Impressive Results for West Edge Opera's End of the Affair
By Niels Swinkels

...With her strong lyricism and impressive stage presence, so­prano Carrie Hennessey gave voice — and body — to Sarah’s fears and frustration, her yearning for Maurice, dreams about what could be, and her newfound religious fervor.

Baritone Keith Phares sang the role of Maurice Bendrix in earlier productions of The End of the Affair at the Madison Opera and Lyric Opera of Kansas City. He has honed the vocal and dramatic com­plexities of the part to perfec­tion and the pure indignation with which he vents his anger at God after Sarah’s death was awe-inspiring.

...The directness of the staging and the audience’s proximity to the podium created an operatic ex­perience with an immediacy and intensity that is not all too common.


August 4, 2014
Jake Heggie's 'End of the Affair' gets strong Bay Area debut
By Georgia Rowe

The West Edge production, di­rec­ted by company general director Mark Streshinsky as part of the company's three-show summer series, makes a strong case for the opera. Based on Graham Greene's novel ... the story of an affair pas­sionately begun and mysteriously broken off came to life Sunday afternoon with an assured orchestral performance conducted by Jonathan Khuner and an excellent, fully committed cast.

...Heggie's score is beautiful — characteristically elegant, with enveloping orchestral passages, soaring solo flights and arresting duets, trios, and ensembles. Khuner, West Edge Opera's music director since 1985, drew vibrant playing from his 24-piece orchestra, and the singers poured themselves into the performance.


July 28, 2014
'Hydrogen Jukebox' review: splendid, opera or not
By Joshua Kosman

The question of genre has rarely felt so sublimely beside the point as it did on Sunday afternoon, during the beautiful and unforgettable opening performance of "Hydrogen Jukebox" at West Edge Opera.

...Anyone open to the concerns on display here will find the piece transfixing, especially as delivered by a superb cast under the leadership of conductor David Möschler. The score includes some of Glass's most sensuous melodic writing, as well as choral numbers marked by suave assurance, emotional transparency and wit...


This just in...

> Photos from the Summer Festival.

2014 Summer Festival

West Edge announces our summer series of operas, held at the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley, July 26 to August 10. Select a three-opera series most convenient for you — 3 Saturdays, 3 Sundays, or all in one weekend. General and Artistic Director Mark Streshinsky explains it all for you here, and in the video above.

Festival performances are at the Ed Roberts Campus, 3075 Adeline Street at the Ashby BART Station.

Buy series tickets to the 2014 Summer Festival, or . . .

Buy single tickets to individual operas.

Download the 2014 Summer Festival Brochure [pdf].

Get directions to the Ed Roberts Campus.


The Big Wine Deal!

Win a fabulous collection of wines just in time for the holidays

The Big Wine Raffle was a tremendous success, and all the tickets have been sold. The drawing will be held at the The 4rd Annual West Edge Opera Comedy Night on September 13. You need not be present to win, but do come and have a good time!



Donate your Car...

...to West Edge Opera! Details here.


West Edge Opera

"Always trying to push the envelope."
   —San Francisco Classical Voice

Pushing the envelope. This is what drives our work. At West Edge Opera we believe there is no limit to where this art form can go. We want to break down the perceptions of opera as exclusive and distant and present the essence of the story. To reveal the emotions that can't be spoken.

"This summer's festival was only further evidence of how essential this brilliant company has become to the local operatic scene."
   —San Francisco Chronicle


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