Become an Artist Sponsor today!

Presenting opera today requires the creativity and vision that have been the hallmark of Opera Parallèle since its inception. OP boldly forges ahead with innovative ways to produce live work and bring the best artistry to San Francisco and beyond. We invite you to help us write our next chapter as we present a new season that is as unique to OP as it is to the times in which we live.

This season we present the groundbreaking Graphic Novel Opera of Everest, Harriet’s Spirit Workshop, and a series of Close-Up recitals with some of today’s most exciting artists who represent the future of opera. Take your time and get to know each of the artists via their biographies below (click the + sign to the right of the artist’s name to view their bio.) After you select your sponsored artist(s), secure your sponsorship online using the “Sponsor” buttons.

Artistic Leadership

Click the + sign to the right of the Artistic Leader’s name to view their bio.
Nicole Paiement, Artistic & General Director, Conductor, 'Everest', 'Harriet's Spirit' – $10,000

“This year has taught all of us the importance of being nimble and resilient. It has also further unleashed OP’s imagination to create the inconceivable in opera – storytelling far beyond the stage, which we could not do without you!”

Nicole Paiement has gained an international reputation as a conductor of contemporary music and opera. Her numerous recordings include many world premiere works.

Maestro Paiement’s 2012 Dallas Opera debut conducting Peter Maxwell Davies’ 1979 thriller, The Lighthouse, earned rave reviews. Subsequently, Paiement was appointed Principal Guest Conductor at The Dallas Opera. Paiement has since returned to Dallas to conduct performances of Tod Machover’s Death and the Powers, as well as the critically acclaimed and highly anticipated world premiere of Joby Talbot’s opera Everest, Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, and Douglas Cuomo’s Arjuna’s Dilemma. In 2018, Paiement conducted the US premiere of Michel Van Der Aa’s Sunken Garden. Read Nicole’s full bio here

Jessica Bejarano, Assistant Conductor, 'Everest' – $2,500

Jessica Bejarano is the founder and music director of the San Francisco Philharmonic! She also serves as music director of ELM Youth Orchestra, assistant conductor of Opera Parallèle and music director at Escuela Bilingue Internationale. Jessica is a regular guest conductor with the Antonio Soler Orquestra in Spain and has guest conducted in the Czech Republic, Venezuela, Spain, Bulgaria, Romania, Italy and Russia. She has held conducting positions with numerous orchestras throughout the Bay Area and United States. Jessica was named KQED Arts’ Bay Brilliant Top 10 Artists of 2018, was featured by PBS NewsHour as an emerging female conductor to watch and recently featured on NBC’s The Today Show with Natalie Morales as the “Woman Breaking Barriers as a Trailblazing Symphony Conductor.”

Jacques Desjardins, Artistic Administrator – $2,500

Jacques Desjardins

Jacques Desjardins served as the General Manager of Opera Parallèle from 2004 until 2013 when he became the company’s first Artistic Administrator. As a composer, Desjardins was responsible for the re-orchestration of John Harbison’s The Great Gatsby performed by OP at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and at the Aspen Music Festival in 2012. He has received commissions from BluePrint, the Sherbrooke Symphony Orchestra, the Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal, the Arthur-LeBlanc Quartet, the Québec Youth Orchestras Association, and the Musica Nova Ensemble.  Desjardins is on faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he teaches Conducting, Music Theory, and Musicianship. He received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree (DMA) in Composition at the University of Michigan.

Sponsor an Artistic Leader Here

Click the + sign to the right of the Artistic Leader’s name to view their bio.
Brian Staufenbiel, Concept, Director, 'Everest' – $7,500

“What a pleasure and honor to have you traveling with us on this colossal adventure of making timeless opera at a time when we need opera more than ever.”

Brian Staufenbiel is the creative director for Opera Parallèle where he has directed and spearheaded the conceptual designs of the company’s productions since it was founded in 2010. Specializing in multimedia, immersive, and interdisciplinary productions, he actively works across a wide range of artistic disciplines collaborating in film and with media designers, choreographers and dancers, circus and fabric artists, and designer fabricators. His progressive approach to stagecraft has garnered critical acclaim for many of the company’s productions, including WozzeckOrphée, Champion and Dead Man Walking. Read Brian’s full bio here

Jaymes Kirksey, Assistant Conductor, 'Harriet's Spirit' – $2,500

A native of the great state of Oklahoma, Jaymes Kirksey has become a national presence as a violinist, pianist and conductor. The Music Director of Young Musicians Choral Orchestra, Solano Youth Chamber Orchestra and frequent guest soloist and conductor of Golden Gate Symphony, Kirksey brings with him versatility, precision, and an exciting stage presence. As a conductor and educator, Jaymes has created high quality musical interpretations ranging from Baroque to modern symphonic repertoire. He has performed in venues across Europe and the US and remains a steadfast performer in the Bay Area. He holds a Master’s Degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in Violin Performance. 

 

Keisuke Nakagoshi, Resident Pianist – $2,500

Keisuke Nakagoshi, Resident PianistKeisuke Nakagoshi began his piano studies at the age of ten, arriving in the United States from Japan at the age of 18. Mr. Nakagoshi earned his Bachelor’s degree in Composition and Master’s degree in Chamber Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he studied composition with David Conte and piano with Paul Hersh. Graduating as the recipient of multiple top awards, Keisuke was selected to represent the SFCM for the Kennedy Center’s Conservatory Project, a program featuring young musicians from major conservatories across the United States.

Mr. Nakagoshi has performed to acclaim on prestigious concert stages across the United States, including the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, and Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco. He has received training from some of the most celebrated musicians of our time—Emanuel Ax, Gilbert Kalish, Menahem Pressler, Robert Mann, Paul Hersh, David Zinman—and enjoys collaborating with other accomplished musicians such as Lucy Shelton, Ian Swensen, Jodi Levitz, Robin Sutherland, Lev Polyakin, Axel Strauss, Mark Kosower, Gary Schocker and also conductors such as Alasdair Neale, George Daugherty, Nicole Paiement, Michael Tilson Thomas and Herbert Blomstedt. In 2014, he made a solo debut with San Francisco Symphony on Ingvar Lidholm’s Poesis with Herbert Blomstedt conducting.

In 2009, Keisuke and Swiss pianist Eva-Maria Zimmermann formed ZOFO, a piano duet team commissioning and performing music for piano four hands and their first CD was nominated for Grammy award for best chamber music/small ensemble in 2013. Mr. Nakagoshi is currently Pianist-in-Residence at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and he serves as resident pianist in the production team for Opera Parallèle.

Tony Shayne, Production Manager – $1,000

Tony Shayne, Tony has formerly toured with and served in the roles of PM/TD for ODC, REDCAT, and Rosanna Gamson/Worldwide, and worked at some of California’s best colleges including UCLA, CalArts, Berkeley & UC Davis. Recently he helped Music Academy of the West with the West Coast premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain. When not working on a new production Tony has the pleasure of being a Lecturer at Stanford University where he endeavors to promote new and passionate advocates for dance, opera, and performance art. Now in his third year there, he enjoys teaching Hands-on Technical Theater, Lighting Design, and Producing, as well as working with student designers and technicians.Tony has formerly toured with and served in the roles of PM/TD for ODC, REDCAT, and Rosanna Gamson/Worldwide, and worked at some of California’s best colleges including UCLA, CalArts, Berkeley & UC Davis. Recently he helped Music Academy of the West with the West Coast premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain. When not working on a new production Tony has the pleasure of being a Lecturer at Stanford University where he endeavors to promote new and passionate advocates for dance, opera, and performance art. Now in his third year there, he enjoys teaching Hands-on Technical Theater, Lighting Design, and Producing, as well as working with student designers and technicians.

Everest Featured Singers

Click the + sign to the right of the Featured Singer’s name to view their bio.
Sasha Cooke, Mezzo-Soprano “Jan” – $5,000

Two-time Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke is sought after by the world’s leading orchestras, opera companies, and chamber music ensembles for her versatile repertoire. She has sung at the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, English National Opera, Seattle Opera, Opéra National de Bordeaux, and Gran Teatre del Liceu, among others, and with over 70 symphony orchestras worldwide. She recently collaborated with 17 composers on a project called ‘Songs in a Time of Silence’ which will be released on Pentatone next fall.

Nathan Granner, Tenor “Rob” – $5,000

Nathan Granner TenorWorld-renowned leading tenor and producing artist Nathan Granner gained chart-topping success as a founding member of The American Tenors. In addition to singing roles like Puccini’s Rodolfo, Mozart’s Ferrando and Verdi’s Jacopo Foscari, he has originated numerous roles in world premieres, including Korey Wise in Anthony Davis’ 2020 Pulitzer Prize-winning opera The Central Park Five, and Aubrey Wells in Opera Parallèle’s beautiful work Today it Rains, by the Laura Kaminsky, Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reid team.

Kevin Burdette, Baritone “Beck” – $5,000

Bass Kevin Burdette has impressed audiences around the world with his mellifluous voice and strongly dramatic characterizations, with the New York Times dubbing him “the Robin Williams of opera.”

Recent highlights include Señor Russell in Adès’s The Exterminating Angel and Stefano in The Tempest (Deutsche Grammophon, 2014 Grammy Award) with the Metropolitan Opera; Pangloss in Candide with Gran Teatre del Liceu; Doktor in Wozzeck with the Philharmonia Orchestra; and Stobrod in Cold Mountain with Santa Fe Opera.

Hadleigh Adams, Baritone “Doug” – $5,000

Baritone Hadleigh Adams is delighted to return to Opera Parallele. Born in New Zealand, Hadleigh relocated to the US in 2012 after studying at London’s Guildhall School of Music & Drama. He is a former merola artist and San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow. Among his extensive performance history he has performed as a principal baritone at London’s Royal National Theatre, the Nederlandse Reisopera, Lincoln Center Festival, the San Francisco Opera, and the LA Philharmonic. His performances centre around the baroque, and modern operatic repertoires.

Charlotte Fanvu, Child Soprano “Meg” – $1,000

Charlotte is excited to be performing in her first opera! The 11-year-old San Francisco native began her vocal training at 6 years old with the Young Women’s Choral Projects of San Francisco. Charlotte loves the spotlight and enjoys being on stage singing, dancing, and acting. She is also an aspiring baker and hopes to find a way to combine her passions for the performing arts and baking when she grows up.

Matt Boehler, Bass "Vocal Quartet" – $1,000

Matt Boehler is a singer and composer based in San Francisco. As a bass, he has appeared as a principal artist at The Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Dallas Opera, Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, and Canadian Opera Company, and as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. As a composer, recent commissioners include Washington National Opera, Victory Hall Opera, Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, as well as mezzo Sasha Cooke.

Shawnette Sulker, Soprano “Vocal Quartet” – $1,000

Soprano Shawnette Sulker is acclaimed for her “beautifully tuned soprano” (San Francisco Chronicle) and for her “enchanting vocal splendor” (Leipziger Volkszeitung). Recent roles include Pip (Moby Dick), Clitennestra (Ifigenia in Aulide), Carolina (Il matrimonio segreto), and The Queen of the Night (Magic Flute). Internationally, she has performed in Holland, Belgium, Leipzig’s Gewandhaus, and Prague’s Smetana Hall. Ms. Sulker has sung with San Francisco Opera, American Bach Soloists, Mark Morris Dance Group, Hawaii Opera Theatre, Opera Memphis, Eugene Symphony, and Opera Fairbanks to name a few.

Whitney Steele, Mezzo-Soprano “Vocal Quartet” – $1,000

Whitney Steele, a mezzo-soprano from Portland, Oregon, received her Master’s degree at The San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Favorite roles include Hermia in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Nancy in Britten’s Albert Herring, Ottone in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, as well as Jane Austen heroine Fanny Price in the West Coast premiere of Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park. She can often be seen on stage at San Francisco Opera as a member of the regular chorus.

Kevin Gino, Tenor “Vocal Quartet” – $1,000

American-Filipino Tenor Kevin Gino is proud and excited to join Opera Parallèle during this season. Originally from Los Angeles, Gino has been privileged to sing with ensembles such as Cal Bach Society, American Bach Soloists, Pocket Opera, Ars Minerva, Volti, and the SF Opera Chorus since he moved to San Francisco. A proud alumnus of the SF Conservatory of Music and Music Academy of the West, Kevin enjoys discovering works that challenge him, old and new.

Everest Creative Team

Click the + sign to the right of the Creative Team member’s name to view their bio.
David Murakami, Media Designer – $7,500

David Murakami is a projection designer and film director focused on the union between the cinematic and theatrical. Past productions with OP include Dead Man Walking, Heart of Darkness, Champion, Flight, Les Enfants Terribles, and Little Prince. Additional credits include Minnesota Opera’s Das Rheingold and Elektra; and Luis Valdez’ Zoot Suit and Valley of the Heart. Others include Princess Cruises, Opéra de Montréal, and Arizona Opera. David also teaches at the University of California, Irvine.

Mark Simmons, Illustrator – $7,500

Mark Simmons is a San Francisco-based freelance artist. His cartooning and sequential art work includes comics for publishers such as Capstone, Behrman House, Madefire, and Rebellion; animation and advertising storyboards; and graphic recording. He also teaches classes in comic art, figure drawing, and wildlife illustration for the Academy of Art University and local zoos and museums.

Miles Lassi, Sound Engineer – $1,000

Miles Lassi, is an interdisciplinary artist based out of Oakland, CA. As a musician, has performed in over 150 cities throughout North America, Europe and Asia with many different ensembles ranging from the Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall to the national tour of Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage.

Harriet’s Spirit Workshop Creative Team

Click the + sign to the right of the Creative Team member’s name to view their bio.
Marcus Shelby, Composer – $5,000

“Opera Parallèle is an inspiration to me. Not only do they produce innovative world-class opera, but they are also very committed to education and exposure to opera in all of our diverse communities. I’m grateful, thankful, and honored to be given the opportunity to learn and create music about my history and with the full support of Opera Parallèle. Thank you!”

Marcus Anthony Shelby is a composer, bassist, and educator who currently lives in San Francisco, California. His work focuses on the history, present, and future of African American lives, social movements, and music education.

In 1990, Marcus Shelby received the Charles Mingus Scholarship to attend Cal Arts and study composition with James Newton and bass with Charlie Haden. Currently, Shelby is an artist in residence with the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival and will be a new resident artist director for the San Francisco Jazz Festival 2019-2020. Shelby has composed several oratorios and suites including “Harriet Tubman”, “Beyond the Blues: A Prison Oratorio”, “Soul of the Movement: Meditations on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”, “Black Ball: The Negro Leagues and the Blues”, “Green and Blues”, and a children’s opera “Harriet’s Spirit” produced by Opera Parallel 2018. Shelby also composed the score and performed in Anna Deveare’s off Broadway Play and HBO feature film “Notes from the Field” and has also worked on a range of productions, such as Joanna Haigood’s “Dying While Black and Brown” commissioned by the Equal Justice Society (2014), Margo Hall’s “Bebop Baby” (2013) and “Sonny’s Blues” (2008), the Oakland Ballet’s “Ella”, The SF Girls Choir (2013), The Oakland Youth Chorus (2014), the Healdsburg Freedom Jazz Choir (2012-present), and many other productions over the past 21 years. Shelby has served on the San Francisco Arts Commission since 2013.

Roma Olvera, Librettist – $2,500

Roma Olvera worked as the Educational Programs Director for Opera Parallèle. She helped to develop a three-tiered community engagement program that commissioned new works for children and families, developed original curriculum for engaging local communities in main-stage contemporary opera productions, and hosted students in the Bay Area for final dress rehearsals throughout the season. Roma specializes in curriculum development that integrates music into every subject of standardized elementary and high school education. She is currently the music Director for Woodland School in Portola Valley. She has taught music for several school districts in southern California, as well as developed music programs for underserved communities in Brooklyn and the Bronx in New York City. She is a librettist for OP’s children’s opera commissions which include: Harriet’s Spirit, by Marcus Shelby, Xochitl and the Flowers (2016) and Amazing Grace (2015) by Chris Pratorius. A lyric soprano, Roma holds a Bachelor of Music from UC Santa Cruz in Vocal Performance and a Masters of Music Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She lives with her family in Redwood City.

L. Peter Callender, Dramaturg – $2,500

L. Peter Callender is a Bay Area theater veteran, and Artistic Director of African-American Shakespeare Company in San Francisco, CA. His extensive theater credits extend from Broadway to the Bay, with many stops in between. Former Artistic Associate at California Shakespeare Theater, he has performed in over 20 Shakespeare plays and directed seven. A multi-award winning actor, director, now his very first venture as a playwright, STRANGE COURTESIES, will be presented at San Jose Stage (February, 2021). He is currently rehearsing, SATCHMO AT THE WALDORF, (Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong) for American Stage Company in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he’s been a resident actor/director for the past 6 years (JITNEY, JOE TURNER’S COME AND GONE, A RAISIN IN THE SUN, PIPELINE, SKELETON CREW and played Walter “Pops” Washington in BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY). More on Mr. Callender can be found at www.lpetercallender.com.

OP Close-Up Singers

Click the + sign to the right of the Featured Singer’s name to view their bio.
Shawnette Sulker, Soprano – $1,000

Shawnette Sulker, SopranoSoprano Shawnette Sulker is acclaimed for her “beautifully tuned soprano” (San Francisco Chronicle) and for her “enchanting vocal splendor” (Leipziger Volkszeitung). Recent roles include Pip (Moby Dick), Clitennestra (Ifigenia in Aulide), Carolina (Il matrimonio segreto), and The Queen of the Night (Magic Flute). Internationally, she has performed in Holland, Belgium, Leipzig’s Gewandhaus, and Prague’s Smetana Hall. Ms. Sulker has sung with San Francisco Opera, American Bach Soloists, Mark Morris Dance Group, Hawaii Opera Theatre, Opera Memphis, Eugene Symphony, and Opera Fairbanks to name a few.

Tiffany Austin, Mezzo-Soprano – $1,000

Tiffany Austin, Mezzo-SopranoVocalist Tiffany Austin combines classic jazz tradition with a deep love for blues, spirituals, and contemporary soul. Hailed as a “fully formed masterpiece” by All About Jazz, Tiffany’s new album, “Unbroken” has earned rave reviews from both Downbeat and Jazziz, and has reached #16 on the Jazz Week chart. Tiffany has performed with jazz luminaries (including pianist Cyrus Chestnut, bassist Rodney Whitaker, and vibraphonist Roy Ayers), and continues to appear at illustrious engagements including the San Francisco and Oakland Symphonies, Birdland NYC, Dizzy’s NYC, SFJAZZ, and Walt Disney Music Hall in Los Angeles. A graduate of UC Berkeley’s Boalt School of Law, Austin decided to forgo a career as a lawyer to focus on music, her true passion, and she’s been raising the bar ever since.

Kindra Scharich, Mezzo-Soprano – $1,000

Kindra Scharich, Mezzo-Soprano

Kindra Scharich has performed more than 200 art songs in 13 languages and over 30 roles ranging from Monteverdi to Philip Glass, including première performances of David Carlson’s Anna Karenina, Laura Kaminsky’s Today It Rains and Missy Mazzoli’s Breaking the Waves. Her recordings include: In meinem Himmel: The Mahler Song Cycles (2018) To my Distant Beloved: Songs of Beethoven & Schumann  (2020) and David Conte’s Everyone Sang (2018) kindrascharich.com

Kenneth Kellogg, Bass – $1,000

Kenneth Kellogg, BassBay Area resident Kenneth Kellogg, bass, is from Washington D.C. He performed the role of Young Emile Griffith in Opera Parallèle’s production of Terence Blanchard and Michael Cristofer’s Champion: An Opera in Jazz in 2016. Recent and upcoming engagements include Commendatore in Mozart’s Don Giovanni at Seattle Opera, the role of Father in Jeanine Tesori and Tazewell Thompson’s Blue for the world premiere at Glimmerglass Opera and with several US opera companies, and the world premiere of A More Perfect Union by Paul Frucht with Ridgefield Symphony. Kenneth is an alum of San Francisco Opera’s Adler Fellowship and the Washington National Opera Emerging Artists Program. He sits on the board of several arts related organizations and advocates for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Arts. www.kennethkellogg.com

As an Artist Sponsor, you have an opportunity to help singers, musicians, and technical personnel in their artistic journey and play a vital role in ensuring that OP can continue to hire, develop and elevate thrilling work. You’ll also have the benefit of knowing that you have contributed towards the success of an artist, and you will enjoy:

  • The opportunity to meet your sponsored artist;
  • Recognition on the Opera Parallèle website and online performance program;
  • An invitation to a pre-screening of Everest at a Tanzing Norgay event on May 29.

Other ways to sponsor an artist

Send a check

Payable to Opera Parallèle and mail them to:
Opera Parallèle – Artist Sponsorship
44 Page St., Ste 400
San Francisco, CA 94102

To have an OP Artist Sponsorship packet mailed to you, please send your name and address to lori@operaparallele.org.