2016-17 Season Announcement

Gala  |  Xochitl and the Flowers  |  Flight  |  Les Enfants Terribles



San Francisco, May, 27, 2016 – New productions of Philip Glass’ Les Enfants Terribles and Jonathan Dove’s Flight, the world premiere of a new children’s opera, Xochitl and the Flowers, by Christopher Pratorius, and the annual Up Close and Parallèle gala will highlight the 2016-2017 season of Opera Parallèle. The creative team for all three productions will be headed by founding Artistic Director and conductor Nicole Paiement, who will conduct the Glass and Dove performances, and Creative Director Brian Staufenbiel. The season runs from October 8, 2016, through May 28, 2017, with performances at YBCA Theater and Hume Hall at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Nicole Paiement_photo by Christina Waters“Our 2016-2017 season takes off with a world premiere and all new productions that typify our philosophy of giving wings to significant contemporary opera in intimate venues,” says Paiement. “This season we present a story taken from the headlines that underscores the tragic and sometimes absurd plight of refugees, a new children’s opera about the bittersweet leave-taking and home-coming experiences of immigrants in San Francisco’s Mission district, and celebrate the 80th birthday of Philip Glass with his hybrid opera-dance spectacle. Each work explores the human need for belonging, and the search for meaning of home. We invite you to come explore the emotional depths, creative triumphs, and powerful theater of our season.”

Up Close and Parallèle Annual Gala

“Come Fly with Us”
Saturday, October 8, at 6pm
Marines Memorial Club, San Francisco

An evening of intimate performances, cocktails, dinner, and a live auction all to benefit Opera Parallèle. Former Adler Fellows Nikki Einfeld, Renee Rapier, and Eugene Brancoveanu will perform an “in-flight opera” exploring the adventure and romance of travel. Tickets are priced beginning at $350 and tables and sponsorships are available.

Stay tuned for more information!

Xochitl and the Flowers WORLD PREMIERE – Christopher Pratorius

Xochitl and the Flowers book by Jorge Argueto, Illustration by Carl AngelA new children’s opera by Christopher Pratorius based on the book of the same name by Jorge Argueta, with libretto by Roma Olvera and Brian Staufenbiel

Thursday, November 17, at 6pm
Saturday, November 19 at 11am and 1pm
Venue: Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts
2868 Mission Street, San Francisco
Tickets: free of charge

Created in partnership with Alvarado Elementary School’s 3rd grade Spanish immersion program, Xochitl and the Flowers is part of Opera Parallèle’s acclaimed annual Hands-on-Opera program, which features children center-stage as full project participants and performers. Xochitl and the Flowers will be composer Christopher Pratorius’ third commissioned work for Opera Parallèle. Based on real-life events in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood, this quintessentially American immigration story tells the moving tale of a family’s determination to put down roots in a new country, while still preserving the heritage of their homeland.

Flight (1998) – Jonathan Dove

by Jonathan Dove with libretto by April de Angelis

NewLook_OP PlaneFriday, February 10, at 8 pm
Saturday, February 11, at 8 pm
Sunday, February 12, at 2 pm

YBCA Theater, San Francisco

Tickets: $45-150 on sale November 1 at www.operaparallele.org

Based on actual events — the forced residence, from 1988 to 2006, of Iranian refugee Mehran Karimi Nasseri at Charles de Gaulle airport — Jonathan Dove’s opera Flight is a cynical comedy about what it means to be stranded. The refugee, tailed by an Immigration Officer, is surrounded by a variety of colorful characters: a couple on vacation, East European diplomats, a steward and a stewardess, an enigmatic older woman, an air traffic controller. While there are many moments of humor, like great opera, Flight is also an exploration of the many faces of love: the struggle to re-ignite passion in an aging relationship, healing from the great loss of a loved one, and wondering how to be loved with the profound changes that come with parenthood. With a first-rate cast, and the inventive stagecraft of the Opera Parallèle team, Flight, at once comical and deeply human promises an operatic treat in a spectacle rich with visual perspective.

The refugee will be sung by countertenor Tai Oney, and the cast will also feature Nikki Einfeld, Catherine Cook, Amina Edris, Renee Rapier, Aleksandra Romano, Hadleigh Adams, Adrian Kerman, Eugene Brancoveanu, and Philip Skinner.

Read more about the opera and OP’s production!

Les Enfants Terribles  (1996) – Philip Glass

Philip Glassby Philip Glass with a libretto adapted from the work of Jean Cocteau by Philip Glass and Susan Marshall.

Friday, May 26, at 7:30 pm
Saturday, May 27 at 2:00 PM and 7:30 pm
Sunday, May 28 at 2 pm

Caroline H. Hume Hall, San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Tickets: $45-$120, on sale November 1 at www.operaparallele.org

This hybrid dance-opera spectacle is the last in Philip Glass’ trilogy based on the works of Jean Cocteau and features four singers, narrator, dancers, and three pianos. Singers and dancers figure equally in Glass’ experimental work, which combines music and movement in a non-literal fashion to tell Cocteau’s story of Paul and Lise, who live in a world of creativity and imagination. The Opera Parallèle production will feature local favorite Hadleigh Adams, and Rachel Schutz, whom Opera Parallèle audiences will remember from her starring role in Poulenc’s Les mamelles de Tirésias in 2014.

Read more about the opera and OP’s production!


The award-winning Opera Parallèle develops and performs contemporary operas in a dynamic balance of known and new works, in new productions that shed light on their subject matter and engage audiences’ senses and sensibilities. Opera Parallèle is the only organization in the Bay Area presenting fully cast and staged contemporary operas exclusively.

Opera Parallèle also commissions new orchestrations of contemporary grand operas, to give a sense of intimacy to its productions and to give a new life to works which might not otherwise be performed.

Artistic director Nicole Paiement founded Opera Parallèle (originally Ensemble Parallèle) to perform new music and to collaborate “in parallel” with various artists including dancers, choreographers, visual and multimedia artists. These collaborations have enriched the Company’s productions and appeal to a wide-ranging audience, from seasoned opera-goers and classical music enthusiasts to contemporary art and dance-goers.

In 2007 Opera Parallèle began to focus exclusively on contemporary opera, and in February of that year the organization presented the world premiere of Lou Harrison’s opera Young Caesar. Most recently its productions have included the California premiere of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck in a chamber orchestration by composer John Rea (2010); the Bay Area premiere of Philip Glass’ opera Orphée (2011); and Virgil Thompson’s Four Saints in Three Acts in collaboration with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in conjunction with the international exhibition The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde. Subsequent significant and successful productions have included the world premiere of its commissioned reorchestration of John Harbison’s opera The Great Gatsby, Osvaldo Golijov’s riveting opera Ainadamar, Gesualdo – Prince of Madness, Leonard Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti, a double bill of the Weill/Brecht Mahagonny Songspiel with the Poulenc/Apollinaire Les mamelles de Tirésias, Tarik O’Regan’s Heart of Darkness, Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, and in 2015-2016 a new production of Terence Blanchard’s Champion: An Opera in Jazz in collaboration with SFJAZZ, and Peter Maxwell Davies’ The Lighthouse.

Since its founding, Opera Parallèle has presented more than 175 performances including 31 world premieres, released 14 recordings, commissioned 21 new works, and has performed in North America, Australia, and Asia.