Digital Program

Birds & Balls

April 5 —7, 2024 @ SFJAZZ Miner Auditorium

Vinkensport, or The Finch Opera (Birds) Composer David T. Little | Vinkensport Librettist Royce Vavrek
Balls Composer Laura Karpman | Balls Librettist Gail Collins


Nicole Paiement

General and Artistic Director’s Note

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Dear Friends, 

It is with great joy that I welcome you to Opera Parallèle’s latest production, Birds & Balls presented here at SFJAZZ. As the General Artistic Director and Conductor of Opera Parallèle, it fills me with immense pride to return to this history-making venue following our previous successful co-productions of Philip Glass’ La Belle et La Bête; One Story Two Operas featuring works by Leonard Bernstein and Jake Heggie; and Terrance Blanchard’s Champion


Birds & Balls is a testament to our ongoing commitment to push the boundaries of opera and present thought-provoking works which  resonate with audiences of all backgrounds. This production holds a special significance for us as we delve into the fascinating intersection of sport, music, and human resilience. At the heart of Birds & Balls lies the story of the historic “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match of 1973, a momentous event that transcended the court and became a beacon of hope and progress. Billie Jean King’s unwavering courage and determination continue to inspire us, and it is our privilege to honor her legacy through the medium of opera.


This collaboration between Balls composer Laura Karpman and Vinkensport (“Birds”) composer David T. Little represents a bold artistic endeavor, merging their respective operas into a cohesive and compelling narrative. The result is a rich tapestry of sound and emotion that invites audiences to contemplate the essence of competition, humanity,  and resilience.


Returning to SFJAZZ feels like coming home, and we are grateful for the opportunity to once again share our passion for meaningful music with this vibrant community. We extend our deepest gratitude to SFJAZZ for their continued support and collaboration, as well as to our dedicated artists, creative team, and patrons who make productions like Birds & Balls possible.


As we take the stage, let us revel in the power of music to inspire, provoke, and unite us. May this evening be a testament to the boundless possibilities of opera and the enduring magic of live performance.


With warmest regards,


Nicole Paiement

General & Artistic Director, and Conductor

Opera Parallèle

Brian Staufenbiel

Creative Director’s Note

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“The thrill of victory in the agony of defeat” is a kind of mantra from the sports world of the ’70s and ’80s, when television reigned supreme and Americans ingested much of their news and entertainment through comically small cathode ray tubes. Imagine, if you will then, that it’s September 20, 1973. You are in the SFJAZZ Astrodome where Howard Cosell declares the “Greatest Sporting Event Ever,” is about to be broadcast on national television. In OP fashion our live event will consist of two operas
combined into, an über-story: Birds & Balls, the unprecedented operatic comedic sports double-bill!


We begin the broadcast in Belgium with “Birds” the West Coast premiere of
Vinkensport, or the Finch Opera, composed by David T. Little with a libretto by Royce Vavrek. Vinkensport is a traditional Flemish competition where trained male finches vie to produce the most calls—in one hour. The bird trainers’ poetic language is beautifully weaved into the score; as they share their lives and stories, they explore the complexities of the human condition and competition.


After the liberating conclusion of Vinkensport there is a brief halftime transition featuring live and pre-filmed interviews. When we resume, we’re back in the SFJAZZ astrodome, where the crowd (you!) are reeling with anticipation for the next event: the world premiere of Balls by composer Laura Karpman and librettist Gail Collins. The greatest tennis match
of the century, the infamous Battle of the Sexes between Billy Jean King and Bobby Riggs, is about to begin.


It’s the ’70s, the heyday of second-wave feminism, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. Even as King takes on the unapologetically chauvinist Riggs, there are women’s marches and protests happening around the world, including in Belgium. Women are demanding equality and pushing back hard against the deep misogyny that still permeates Western culture. It is startling to think that just 53 years earlier American women could not vote. Susan B Anthony (who just might drop by during the opera) and her suffragist colleagues fought tirelessly for the 19th amendment, which was enacted on August 18, 1920. That legal victory found its counterparts in 1972, when title IX of the Civil Rights Act prohibited sex-based discrimination, and in 1974 with the passage of the equal credit opportunity act, which gave women the right to credit (yes, a credit card) without the requirement of a male co-signer. It was amid this feminist ferment that the much-hyped tennis match was to take place. Billie Jean King understood that losing to Bobby Riggs would be devastating for future progress. Talk about the agony of defeat! And so, our program is ready. At its core, Birds & Balls is a seamless orchestrated production that brings together two distinct operas to explore the complexities of human competition. Through the lens of sport and music, we delve into the intricacies of human nature and the dynamics of rivalry. As you embark on this journey with us, I invite you to open your heart and mind to the power of music and theater. Birds & Balls is not simply a performance—it is a celebration of human creativity, passion, and resilience. I am honored to share this production with you. I hope the music, the visuals, and the emotion leave a lasting impression.


Let the games begin. I’m rooting for Billie!


Brian Staufenbiel

Creative Director, Stage Director and Set Director

Opera Parallèle

Nicole Paiement

Composer’s Note

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Dear Friends,

I am thrilled to share with you the world premiere of Balls at SFJAZZ, a momentous collaboration between Opera Parallèle and SFJAZZ. The creation of this piece has been a journey filled with inspiration and reflection, and I am deeply honored  that it is being brought to life on stage.


Reflecting on the genesis of Balls, I am reminded of the profound impact of the historic tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs in 1973. As a young composer at the time, I vividly remember the significance of that moment and how it reverberated across the nation. It was more than just a match—it was a watershed moment that challenged gender norms and inspired millions of women, myself included, to pursue their dreams with courage and determination.


For me, Balls is not just about recounting a tennis match; it is about capturing the essence of courage and resilience in the face of adversity. Through the lens of the music and this production, we explore themes of heroism, humor, and social justice, weaving together the stories of Billie Jean King, Bobby Riggs, and other iconic figures of American history.


As we bring Balls to the stage, I am filled with excitement and anticipation. It is my hope that this opera will not only entertain and delight audiences but also inspire them to embrace their own courage and make a difference in the world.


Thank you for joining us on this journey, and I look forward to sharing this unforgettable experience with you.


Warm regards,


Laura Karpman

Composer, Balls

Brian Staufenbiel

Composer’s Note

View Composer's Notes

Dear Friends,

I’m very happy to introduce you to my opera Vinkensport, or the Finch Opera which makes up the “Birds” portion of this double-bill collaboration between SFJAZZ and Opera Parallèle.


Vinkensport may be an unfamiliar term to many. It certainly was to me. But as my collaborator Royce Vavrek and I discovered, it is a sport with a long history, first being played in Flanders in 1596 and continuing today.


So how does it work? Essentially, trained finches compete to sing a certain call the greatest number of times over the course of an hour–the call is called a “susk-e-wiet”. Whichever bird does this is deemed the champion. Simple enough.


But when Royce and I began to read about the history of scandals that have accompanied the sport, in some cases reaching back centuries–doping, smuggling, cheating–we suspected there was something deeper going on. And that’s what our opera is really about: the need to win and what it does to us as people. 


Indeed, as our characters (the bird’s trainers) compete, they reveal their inner selves; their joys, sorrows, delusions, and all-too-stark realities, and the deep, indescribable feeling that leads people to compete, to want to win, and yes, even to cheat.


I hope you enjoy the performance.


David T. Little

Composer, Vinkensport, or The Finch Opera

Opera Parallèle presents

Birds & Balls

Composers Laura Karpman and David T. Little

 Librettists Royce Vavrek and Gail Collins

Performed in English with supertitles.

The performance will last approximately 90 minutes, no intermission. No food or drink allowed inside the theater. Please note the location of all exits, and place your electronic devices in “Airplane mode,” or turn off. 

The performance Saturday, April 6th at 7:30pm will be followed by a post-show retro tennis party with local Bay Area sports organizations.

Please respect the audience and the performers on stage. Photographing, videotaping, or recording this production is strictly prohibited.

All images and/or content provided by Opera Parallèle staff, contractors, and/or creative artists unless otherwise credited. Opinions expressed by contractors, contributors, and/or creative artists do not necessarily reflect the views of Opera Parallèle. Photo credits are included as provided.

SFJAZZ 201 Franklin Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

The use of face masks are encouraged at SFJAZZ, (including in common spaces, studios, and theaters).

Fellow Travelers follows the story of Hawk and Tim, who become clandestine lovers at the height of the McCarthy Era in 1950’s Washington D.C. Recent college graduate Timothy Laughlin is eager to join the crusade against communism, and a chance encounter with handsome State Department official Hawkins Fuller leads to Tim’s first job—and his first love affair with a man.

Drawn into a maelstrom of deceit, Tim struggles to reconcile his political convictions and his forbidden love for Fuller. The piece uses the love affair of Laughlin and Fuller to shed light on the ‘Lavender Scare’, an often-overlooked period of McCarthyism that resulted in the mass firings of suspected homosexuals from the United States government. With Senator McCarthy’s investigations into ‘sexual subversives’, Tim struggles to reconcile his political convictions, his love for God, and his love for Fuller.

The West Coast premiere of the opera adaptation of Thomas Mallon’s novel "Fellow Travelers", a tender love story and political thriller set in the corridors of power during the McCarthy era. Adapted by composer Gregory Spears and librettist Greg Pierce, Opera Parallèle and the Presidio Theatre are proud to bring this contemporary classic to the West Coast, a beautiful opera with the message that love will always flourish under persecution.

Sung in English with supertitles

Vinkensport Rules

View Vinkensport Rules

Vinkensport, also known as Finch-Sitting, is a traditional Flemish sport that involves competitors sitting in front of cages containing male finches (commonly known as “vinken”) and counting the number of times their birds sing a specific song within a set period of time. The rules of Vinkensport are relatively simple:


1. Setup: Each participant sits in front of a small cage containing a male finch. The cages are placed in a row, allowing all participants to have a clear view of each other.


2. Duration: The competition typically lasts for a set period of time, often around an hour. During this time, participants closely monitor their finches’ singing activity.


3. Counting: Participants keep track of the number of times their bird sings a specific song, known as a “susk-e-wiet.” This song is typically a distinctive melody that the finches are trained to sing.


4. Scoring: At the end of the competition, each participant reports the total number of “susk-e-wiets” sung by their bird. The participant with the highest count is declared the winner.


5. Observation: Judges or officials may oversee the competition to ensure fair play and adherence to the rules. They may also resolve any disputes that arise during the event.


6. Sportsmanship: While Vinkensport is a competitive activity, participants are expected to conduct themselves with sportsmanship and respect for their fellow competitors.

Tennis Rules

View Tennis Rules

The famous tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, known as the “Battle of the Sexes,” followed the standard rules of tennis as governed by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) at the time. The match took place on September 20, 1973, at the Houston Astrodome in Texas. Here are the general rules of tennis that applied to the match:


1. Scoring: Tennis matches are typically played in sets, with each set consisting of games and each game consisting of points. The first player to win six games with a margin of at least two games wins the set. If the score reaches 6-6, a tiebreaker may be played to determine the winner of the set. The player who wins the majority of sets wins the match.


2. Serve: The server must stand behind the baseline and alternate serving from the deuce court (right side) and the ad court (left side) after each point. The server has two attempts to deliver a valid serve into the opponent’s service box.


3. Return: The receiver stands on the opposite side of the net from the server and attempts to return the serve. The receiver must let the ball bounce once before hitting it, except on serve and volley points.


4. Points: Points are scored as follows:

  • Love (0 points)
  • 15 points
  • 30 points
  • 40 points
  • Game (when a player wins four points with a margin of at least two points)

5. Deuce and Advantage: When the score is tied at 40-40 (known as deuce), the next point won by a player gives them the advantage. If the player with the advantage wins the next point, they win the game. If the player without the advantage wins the next point, the score returns to deuce.


6. Tiebreaker: In some cases, a tiebreaker may be played to determine the winner of a set when the score reaches 6-6. The tiebreaker involves players alternating serves every two points until one player reaches seven points with a margin of at least two points.

Cast & Creativesfor Birds & Balls


Tiffany Austin

Tiffany Austin

Marilyn (Balls)

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Hometown: Los Angeles, California, USA


Tiffany Austin is a vocalist, composer, educator, and Berkeley Law Juris Doctor. She has performed with luminaries such as Pharoah Sanders, Roy Ayers, John Handy, Cyrus Chestnut, and Doug Carn. Her soulful delivery and musical storytelling has brought her to stages at Birdland and Dizzy's Den in NYC, Walt Disney Concert Hall in her native Los Angeles and the SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco. Beyond California, she has performed in Europe, Asia, and Australasia, as well as on nationally televised programming in the United States.


Photo Credit: Leah Marie Photography

Jamie Chamberlin*

Jamie Chamberlin*

Holy St. Francis's Trainer (Vinkensport) | Vocal Quartet (Balls)

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Hometown: Santa Barbara, CA, USA


Jamie Chamberlin enjoys a diverse career as a soprano, producing artist, and sought-after interpreter of new works. As Marilyn Monroe in the US Premiere of Marilyn Forever (Bryars/Bowering), Jamie was praised for her “shimmering tones” and “star-struck vulnerability” (Opera News). Career highlights include Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor, Cunegonde in Candide, Lucy in The Telephone, and Hazel George in the US Premiere of The Perfect American by Philip Glass. In collaborations with rock legend Stewart Copeland of The Police, Jamie is celebrated for her “superhuman soprano” (Schmopera) as Faustine in The Invention of Morel and Raphaella in Satan’s Fall. A Delos recording artist (Terrain of the Heart), Jamie’s voice can also be heard during the water ballet scene in the Coen Bros 2016 film, Hail Caesar! Chamberlin holds BA and MM degrees from UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of music, where she has also served as Lecturer in Vocal Technique.













Daniel Cilli

Daniel Cilli

Atticus Finch’s Trainer (Vinkensport) | Larry King (Balls)

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Hometown: Emeryville, CA, USA


Baritone Daniel Cilli has performed an array of new and standard works throughout the Bay Area and the United States. Daniel debuted in 2016 at the San Francisco Opera and has returned for multiple engagements there. Previously with Opera Parallèle: Le Directeur in Les mamelles de Tirésias by Poulenc/Apollinaire, Thames Captain in Heart of Darkness by Tarik O’Regan/Tom Phillips/Joseph Conrad, title role in Gesualdo, Prince of Madness graphic opera by Dante De Silva/Mitchell Morris.


Photo credit Daniel Cilli

Nathan Granner

Nathan Granner

Han Sach’s Trainer (Vinkensport) | Bobby Riggs (Balls)

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Hometown: Kansas City, KS, USA


Tenor Nathan Granner has enjoyed a unique and diverse performing career which has allowed him to leverage his distinctive timbre and impressive range in a multitude of projects and productions. Granner's early studies included training with Utah Festival Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Tulsa Opera, and Pittsburgh Opera Center. Granner was also a semifinalist at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in New York City. Most recently, Mr. Granner has achieved critical success in a challenging and unique mix of roles and works including a debut of Verdi's Alfredo with both Fort Worth Opera and Opera Santa Barbara, an on-film and studio soundtrack recording of the title role in Gordon Getty's Goodbye, Mr. Chips, and Rob Hall in the award-winning animated film Everest, produced by Opera Parallèle and presented by The Dallas Opera. New roles for the coming seasons include Mozart's Don Ottavio and Bizet's Don Jose.


Photo credit Sage Etters

Mark Hernandez

Mark Hernandez

Howard Cosell (Balls)

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Hometown: Palm Springs, CA, USA


Mark Hernandez previously appeared with Opera Parallèle as the Ring Announcer in Champion (Terence Blanchard & Michael Cristopher) and Motorcycle Cop/Inmate in Dead Man Walking (Jake Heggie & Terence McNally). For many years, he was a member of the San Francisco Opera Chorus, and a teaching artist for the San Francisco Opera Guild. He collaborated with Lotfi Mansouri, former General Director of San Francisco Opera, on True Tales from the Mad, Mad, Mad World of Opera and Lotfi Mansouri: An Operatic Odyssey. By day, Mark works for The Trevor Project.

Photo credit Orna Rae Boozler

Chelsea Hollow*

Chelsea Hollow*

Farinelli’s Trainer (Vinkensport)

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Hometown: Thousand Oaks, CA, USA


Chelsea Hollow is known for her “soaring high range” and “stage panache!” premiering new operatic works such as the roles of Helen Chavez and Ethel Kennedy in Dolores (Benavides/Koch) and Fenghuang in Hutong (Dong/Datta/Schick). Traditional operatic roles include Queen of the Night, Zerbinetta, Lakmé, and Olympia. Hollow “has rewritten the book on the potential of musical activism," curating & commissioning powerful perspective-expanding solo recitals as well as exploring ways to make traditional opera exciting to new audiences. In recognition of this work, Hollow presented on Art and Activism (2021) for the United Nations’ Office of Human Rights. In 2023, Aerocade Music released Chelsea’s debut album Cycles of Resistance, featuring 22 of her commissions. The album journeys through international resistance movements over the last 120 years, chronicling human resilience in Mandarin, Dutch, Turkish, Arabic, Sanskrit, and Czech in addition to English.           

Learn more at


Photo credit Veronique Kherian

Nina Jones*

Nina Jones*

Butler (Vinkensport) | Vocal Quartet (Balls)

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Hometown: Bolton, MA, USA


Originally from Bolton, Massachusetts, Nina Jones, mezzo-soprano, graduated with their Masters of Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of Susanne Mentzer in 2023. In 2021, Nina graduated from McGill’s Schulich School of Music, with a Bachelors of Music and Dean’s Honour List distinction, studying with Dominique Labelle and Louise Pelletier. Nina has appeared in hundreds of vocal, theatrical, choral, and ensemble performances, some of the most notable including Bireno in Freschi's Olimpia Vendicata (Ars Minerva, 2023), L’enfant in Ravel's L'enfant et les sortilèges (SFCM, 2023), Flora in Dove's The Enchanted Pig (SFCM, 2022), and Nireno in Handel's Giulio Cesare (SFCM, 2022). Nina will begin their 2024-2025 season signing in the chorus of the San Francisco Opera’s The Handmaid’s Tale as well as Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.


Photo credit Dean Birinyi

Gabriela Linares*

Gabriela Linares*

Butler (Vinkensport) | Rosie Casals (Balls)

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Hometown: Puerto Rico


Puerto Rican mezzo-soprano, Gabriela Linares, completed her undergraduate degree at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in voice and ethnomusicology, and her masters degree in voice at the San Francisco Conservatory. Her instructors include Rhoslyn Jones, Jonathan Beyer, and Marlene Rosen. Linares is a winner of the Oregon District (2023) and award recipient of the North West Region of the Metropolitan Opera’s Laffont Competition. At the Oberlin Conservatory she sang in Trouble in Tahiti (Dinah), Dialogues of the Carmelites (Mère Marie), and Cosi Fan Tutte (Dorabella). At the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, she performed in the productions of Giulio Cesare (Cornelia) and The Consul (Mother). She performed in the production of Gianni Schicchi (Zita) with Chautauqua Opera Company and Conservatory. She was a 2023 Gerdine Young Artist at the Opera Theater of St. Louis where she stepped in their production of the opera Susannah (Mrs. Ott). Gabriela will be performing in Opera Parallele’s premiere of Birds & Balls (Rosie Casals).


Photo credit Helenna Santos

Nikola Printz

Nikola Printz

Billie Jean King (Balls)

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Hometown: Oakland, CA, USA


Known for their vast stylistic range and artistic fearlessness, multi-hyphenate performer Nikola Printz (they/them) is quickly becoming a rising star in the opera world. Currently in their first year in the prestigious Adler Program with San Francisco Opera, Printz has already made a splash in the Bay Area Classical music scene, having held many titular roles from previous engagements including Carmen and Dido (Opera San Jose), Orfeo (Orfeo Ed Euridice-West Edge Opera), Domenico Freschis unknown masterpiece – Ermelinda and Oreste in Astianatte (both with baroque recreation company Ars Minerva.) Upcoming engagements include covering roles in the 2023 Fall Season with San Francisco Opera as well as singing the role of Rosina in Barber of Seville with Opera San Jose in November of 2023.


Photo credit Destiny Grace

Chad Somers*

Chad Somers*

Referee (Vinkensport) | Vocal Quartet (Balls)

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Hometown: St. Louis, MO


Award-winning tenor, Chad Somers, sings on opera stages and in concert halls across the country. His current season sees Chad take on the role of Curley in Floyd’s Of Mice and Men with Livermore Valley Opera, and he will return to Opera Modesto to create the role of Sherlock Holmes in the world premiere of Meier/Lewis' Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Fallen Giant. He anticipates creating the role of Boy in the operatic adaptation of the Pulitzer-finalist play Bulrusher (Nat Stookey and Eisa Davis, West Edge Opera) and will give a reprise performance of last year’s premiere of Laitman’s orchestral song cycle, Becoming a Redwood, with Livermore Amador Symphony. Chad will sing the tenor soloists in Finzi’s Intimations of Immortality with Stockton Chorale and Orchestra and Puccini’s Messa di Gloria with Symphony San Jose. Chad recently appeared as the tenor soloists in Britten’s St. Nicolas under the baton of Jordan Cox in St. Louis and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 2, Lobgesang with Sacramento Chorale and Orchestra. Other recent highlights include Fritz in Offenbach’s The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein (Offenbach, Pocket Opera), King George in Eight Songs for a Mad King (Maxwell Davies, EnsembleID) and Kudrjaš in Kat’a Kabanova (Janacek, West Edge Opera). Collaborations with Heggie, Lachenmann, Laitman, Stewart Copeland, Guettel and more. Winner of the Philadelphia Classical Singer Competition and finalist in the Friends of Eastman Opera Competition.


Photo Credit: Jeannie Liataud

Chung-Wai Soong

Chung-Wai Soong

Prince Gabriel III of Belgium’s Trainer (Vinkensport) | Vocal Quartet (Balls)

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Hometown: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Bass-baritone Chung-Wai Soong has sung with companies in Australia and the US, in extensive repertoire which includes world premieres: David Chesworth (Sabat Jesus); Lisa Bielawa’s groundbreaking streaming opera, Vireo; and the title role in Meira Warshauer’s Elijah’s Violin. He has been featured soloist in works by Bach, Fauré, Mozart, Dvořák, Berlioz and Handel. He sang Schumann’s Dichterliebe at the Melbourne International Festival, which was broadcast live nationally on ABC.

Chung-Wai has sung with the San Francisco Symphony as Mityukha (Boris Godunov), and Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy under Kurt Masur, which he also performed at Ojai Festival under Artistic Director Jeremy Denk. Roles include Sadistic Sailor (Missy Mazolli’s Breaking the Waves), High Priest (Nabucco), Melchior (Amahl and the Night Visitors), Kuligin (Katya Kabanova), and Un vieux paysan in Dukas’ Ariane et Barbe-Bleue. Recent and upcoming: Marco in Gianni Schicchi (Hawaii Opera Theatre), Senator in The Shining (Opera Parallèle debut), Chamberlain in Stravinsky’s Le Rossignol (West Edge Opera), the title role in Il Ducato – The New Mikado (Lamplighters Music Theatre), Soloist in Duruflé Requiem (Grace Cathedral), Benoit and Alcindoro in La Bohéme (Hawaii), Christus in Bach’s St. John Passion (San Francisco Bach Choir).


Photo credit Vero Kherian

Shawnette Sulker

Shawnette Sulker

Sir Elton John’s Trainer (Vinkensport) | Susan B. Anthony (Balls)

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Guyanese-American soprano Shawnette Sulker has been acclaimed for her “heart-breaking poignancy” and “beautifully tuned soprano” by the San Francisco Chronicle and for her “enchanting vocal splendor” by the Leipziger Volkszeitung. Also described as a singer “…displaying a bright, superbly controlled soprano with perfectly placed coloratura” (The San Francisco Chronicle), she is sought after both in the US and abroad. A consummate performer, she has been a featured artist at San Francisco Opera in their production of Porgy and Bess. Her recently sung roles include Poppea (L’incoronazione di Poppea) with both Intermountain Opera Bozeman and West Edge Opera, Die Königin der Nacht (Die Zauberflöte) with Santa Rosa Symphony, and Cleopatra (Giulio Cesare) with West Edge Opera. Her upcoming engagements feature singing in a workshop for the new opera Bulrusher by Nat Stookey as Bulrusher for Cincinnati Opera, Die Königin der Nacht with Livermore Valley Opera, the soprano solo in Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with Mission Chamber Orchestra, and Opera Parallèle and SF Jazz’s double bill production of Little’s Vinkensport/Karpman’s Balls (as Sir Elton John’s Trainer and Susan B. Anthony, respectively).


Her upcoming engagements feature singing the soprano solos in Bond's Credo and Dvorak's Mass in D major with San Francisco Choral Society, singing and moving onstage with the Oakland Ballet in Dialogues with music composed by Pat Rasile, and singing the titular role in the world premiere of Bulrusher (Stookey) with West Edge Opera.

Supernumeraries: Zack McKnight, Shane Smith, Chad Stewart, Brandon Styles, Lawrence Dillon

Onscreen Supernumeraries: John Fisher, Rebecca Pingree


Composer & Librettist

David T. Little*

David T. Little*

Vinkensport Composer

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Hometown: Weehawken, New Jersey, USA


A natural musical storyteller with “a knack for overturning musical conventions” (The New York Times), composer David T. Little is known for stage, concert, and screen works permeated with the power of the unexpected. Little’s broad catalog speaks to the mix of light and dark that we experience in life, unafraid to invoke the mythical, bewitching, disturbing, surreal, or comedic.

David T. Little has drawn acclaim for operas including Dog Days, JFK, and the comedy Vinkensport, or The Finch Opera (all with libretto by Royce Vavrek), as well as his GRAMMY-nominated opera Soldier Songs. Little’s Black Lodge, a metal-infused opera with a libretto by poet Anne Waldman, was premiered by Beth Morrison Projects at Opera Philadelphia, with a soundtrack released by Cantaloupe Music. Recent and upcoming projects include the world premiere of SIN-EATER by The Crossing at Penn Live Arts; monodrama What Belongs to You, developed for tenor Karim Sulayman and Alarm Will Sound; and a commission from the Metropolitan Opera / Lincoln Center Theater New Works Program. Little’s music is published by Boosey & Hawkes.


Learn more at


Photo Credit: Daniel Welch

Royce Vavrek*

Royce Vavrek*

Vinkensport Librettist

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Hometown: Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada


Royce Vavrek is a Canada-born, Brooklyn-based librettist and lyricist who has been called “the indie Hofmannsthal” (The New Yorker) a “Metastasio of the downtown opera scene” (The Washington Post), “an exemplary creator of operatic prose” (The New York Times), and “one of the most celebrated and sought after librettists in the world” (CBC Radio). His opera Angel’s Bone with composer Du Yun was awarded the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Music.


Photo Credit: Ricardo Beas

Laura Karpman*

Laura Karpman*

Balls Composer

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A bold, incandescent talent, composer Laura Karpman creates powerful, imaginative scores that push the boundaries of storytelling. Her award-winning music, spanning film, television, theater, interactive media and live performance, reflects an audaciously creative, prodigious, fresh spirit. Karpman collaborates with the most creative filmmakers of our time, including Misha Green, Steven Spielberg, Nia DaCosta, Kevin Feige, Alex Gibney, Kasi Lemmons, Sam Pollard and Eleanor, Francis Ford & Sophia Coppola.


Karpman’s more recent foray into the Marvel Universe has her scoring the eclectic animated series What If? and the newly acclaimed Ms. Marvel which blends bold, driving, heroic orchestral music with authentic South Asian elements to create a unique sound for this ground-breaking superhero. The five-time Emmy winner’s scores span the HBO hit series Lovecraft Country, the 2020 Oscar-nominated Walk Run Cha-Cha, and the Discovery Channel docuseries Why We Hate. Others include Miss Virginia starring Uzo Aduba, the Netflix romantic comedy Set It Up, Sony’s Paris Can Wait, Lionsgate’s The Cotton Club Encore, Fox Searchlight’s Step and Black Nativity, starring Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett and Jennifer Hudson, the drama series Underground, Sony’s L.A.’s Finest, Peabody award-winning series Craft in America, and Showtime’s Sid and Judy.


Across concert halls, Karpman is well known for her Grammy award-winning album, ASK YOUR MAMA, a multimedia opera based on the iconic cycle of poems by Langston Hughes, commissioned by Carnegie Hall. The album's Grammy-winning recording would use vocalist Janai Brugger who would later perform a new original piece by Karpman called ’Tulsa 1921: To Catch a Fire’ from Lovecraft Country. Other notable works include All American, commissioned and performed by The Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl; Brass Ceiling, commissioned and recorded by The U.S. Army Band, and And Still We Dream, commissioned by Lyric Opera of Kansas City honoring 100 years of suffrage; Wilde Tales, commissioned by Glimmerglass Festival; Balls, an opera chronicling Billie Jean King’s 1973 “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match with words by NYTimes writer Gail Collins; and a pandemic opera for Opera Theatre of St. Louis with libretto by Taura Stinson & Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum.


A fierce champion for inclusion in Hollywood, after founding the Alliance for Women Film Composers, Karpman became the first woman governor in the music branch of the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences, and was subsequently elected to be the first female governor of the music branch. During her two consecutive terms, she was able to implement sweeping change, facilitating the admission of dozens of underrepresented voices, helping to create the Academy Women’s Initiative, helping to create The Academy Code of Conduct, and updating language of the Academy bylaws to be inclusive and representative of the membership. Her leadership in creating opportunity and standing up for inclusion is unparalleled.


Karpman’s upcoming projects include The Marvels, a Marvel Studios feature film directed by Nia DaCosta. She lives and works in Los Angeles with her wife, composer Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum, their son and two dogs.

Gail Collins*

Gail Collins*

Balls Librettist

View Bio

In 2001 Gail Collins became the first woman appointed editor of the New York Times‘ editorial page, and she resumed her twice weekly syndicated opinion column for the New York Times in 2007. As an author, Collins offers insightful research and historical perspective, with characteristic wit and humanity, having written When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women From 1960 to the PresentAmerica’s Women: Four Hundred Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates and HeroinesAs Texas Goes: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda, William Henry Harrison: The American Presidents Series, Scorpion Tongues: Gossip, Celebrity and American Politics, and The Millennium Book, which she co-wrote with her husband, Dan Collins. She is currently at work on a history of older women in America.                                        

A native of Cincinnati, Collins earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at Marquette and a master’s in government at University of Massachusetts. Before joining The Times,  Collins was a columnist at New York Newsday and the New York Daily News, and a reporter for United Press International. Her first jobs in journalism were in Connecticut, where she founded the Connecticut State News Bureau (CSNB), which provided coverage of the state capitol and Connecticut politics. Since 2013, Ms. Collins has been a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board.

She lives in New York City with her husband, Dan Collins.

Creative + Production

Nicole Paiement

Nicole Paiement


View Bio

Hometown: Montreal, Québec, Canada


Conductor, Nicole Paiement is the Founder and Artistic Director of Opera Parallèle (OP) in San Francisco. Recently for OP, Paiement lead productions of Moravec’ The Shining, Philip Glass’ La Belle et la Bête and Everest: An Immersive Experience by Joby Talbot, a work she originally premiered on stage at The Dallas Opera, where she is Principal Guest Conductor.


An active guest conductor, Mo. Paiement has performed with companies across the US including the Washington National Opera, Seattle Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and The Atlanta Opera. In 2020 Paiement made her Canadian debut at Opéra de Montréal with Benjamin's Written on Skin, returning in 2023 to conduct Ainadamar by Golijov. Paiement will also return to Montreal in the 24/25 Season. In 2022, Mo. Paiement returned to The Dallas Opera with Bizet's The Pearl Fishers, and made her UK debut with the English National Opera conducting Heggie’s It's a Wonderful Life, followed by a series of concerts with Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana in Palermo. Paiement recently returned to London to conduct Talbot's Everest with the BBC Symphony at the Barbican Center.


The 2023/2024 season includes 2 world premieres with OP, a return to The Dallas Opera for Gonoud’s Romeo et Juliette, followed by a debut with the Volksoper Vienna conducting both a symphonic concert and John Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary.


Photo credit Cory Weaver

Brian Staufenbiel

Brian Staufenbiel

Stage/Creative Director, Scenic Designer

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Brian Staufenbiel is the creative director for Opera Parallèle where he has directed and created 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 artists, and designer fabricators. His progressive approach to stagecraft has garnered critical acclaim for many of the company’s productions, including Wozzeck, Orphée, Champion and Dead Man Walking.


Staufenbiel recently directed films for the online festival season of the Sun Valley Music Festival, a film of Dove/Angelis’ Flight for Seattle Opera, an award-winning graphic novel film of Talbot/Scheer’s Everest with Opera Parallèle, and a feature-length film of Gordon Getty’s opera Goodbye Mr. Chips


Last season included new productions of Moravec and Campbell’s The Shining, a fully immersive experience of Talbot and Scheer’s Everest, for Opera Parallèle, and Golijov’s Ainadamar for L’Opera de Montréal.  Staufenbiel directed a new documentary about the life of Frederica Von Stade with Paper Wings Films and co-directed, with choreographer Yayoi Kambara, IKKAI, a dance installation about Japanese incarceration camps in the United States during World War II, which was performed at Georgia Tech last summer. 


This season includes productions for Opera Parallèle, Birds and Balls; the west coast premiere of composer David T. Little and librettist Royce Vavrek’s Vinkensport, combined with Balls, a World Premiere by Emmy & Grammy award winning composer Laura Karpman with a libretto by NY Times writer Gail Collins. Other projects include OP’s the west coast premiere of Fellow Travelers by composer Gregory Spears and librettist Greg Pierce, Ainadamar at Pacific Opera Victoria and Das Rheingold with Calgary Opera.


Staufenbiel recently created a new production of Elektra for Minnesota Opera. His 2016 production of Das Rheingold for Minnesota Opera was reprised at Arizona Opera and L’Opéra de Montréal and opened the 60th season at Seattle Opera in 2023.  It was named a Star Tribune Classical Pick of the Decade.  Other recent projects include the premiere of Miguel Zenon’s Golden City Suite with SF JAZZ, and a new production of Gordon Getty’s Usher House and Canterville Ghost for the Center of Contemporary Opera in NY and LA Opera.


Staufenbiel enjoys an ongoing relationship with composer Philip Glass, having directed many of his operas including In the Penal Colony for Glass’ own festival. The production is currently streaming on a new platform, Philip Glass Days and Night’s Festival Presents, and was named a New York Times Top Ten pick.  He recently finished the Cocteau Trilogy with Opera Parallèle’s acclaimed production of La belle et la bête.


Staufenbiel recently left his position after seventeen years as the director of the opera program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he mounted a wide spectrum of award-winning productions ranging from traditional operas to commissioned works for the program. Staufenbiel holds degrees in Philosophy and Music including a Doctor of Musical Arts from the Eastman School of Music and currently resides in San Francisco.


Photo Credit: Cory Weaver.

Jaco Wong

Jaco Wong

Assistant Conductor

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Hometown: Hong Kong


Hong Kong native, San Francisco-based conductor and composer, Jaco Wong currently serves as the associate conductor of Opera Parallèle and assistant conductor at Oakland Symphony. Wong has conducted the Orchestre symphonique de Québec under the guidance of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Mason Bate’s Mercury Soul, and has assisted Elim Chan at San Francisco Symphony, Teddy Abrams at Louisville Orchestra, and Edwin Outwater at the Dr. Phillips Center Steinmetz Hall. Other career highlights include serving as assistant conductor for Festival Opera, conducting the Taipei Philharmonic, for Emmy Award-winning composer Jeremy Zuckerman, and participating in the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music and Monteux Music Festival.

Wong’s multimedia orchestra work Inkling, in collaboration with animation artist Evan Tedlock and neuroscientist Enrique Vargas, UCSF Sound & Music Perception Lab will be performed in New World Symphony’s “By Ear: A Journey into Musical Perception”. A finalist of the American Prize in composition, Psithaura has been performed in more than 4 countries and 7 cities, including under the baton of Donald Nally at the Northwestern University New-Music Conference. Wong has previously composed for San Jose Chamber Orchestra, Iris Contemporary Dance Company, Hocket piano duo, Lang Lang, and the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra.                                         

As an active educator, Wong led the Harker School Orchestra to perform in Carnegie Hall and is also the resident conductor of the Great Wall Youth Chinese Orchestra, projects including collaboration with Lara Downes in Rhapsody in Blue @ 100 American Kaleidoscope. Wong holds advanced degrees from San Francisco Conservatory of Music and University of Southern California.


Photo credit Michael Stahlberg

Erin Neff

Erin Neff

Associate Stage Director

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Hometown: San Jose, CA, USA


Erin Neff's day job is at the San Francisco Opera Chorus where she has worked for the last 28 seasons. She has sung as a soloist with Opera Parallele, the San Francisco Opera, West Edge Opera, The San Francisco Symphony, Symphony of the Redwoods, SF Choral Society and others. Her work as a director has been seen with several companies including; the San Francisco Opera Center, Opera Parallele, Mendocino Music Festival, The Telluride Music Festival, and Island City Opera. Her multi-media installation work has been shown at the San Jose Institute for Contemporary Art, Culver Center for the Arts,  and Joshua Tree National Park.


Photo Credit: Alexa Trevino

Y. Sharon Peng

Y. Sharon Peng

Costume and Hair/Make-Up Designer

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Y. Sharon Peng is a guild member of IATSE Local 706 and an alum of FIDM. Recent stage costumes include La Muerte Baila (Teatro Visión), Rent (South Bay Musical Theatre), Head Over Heels (Berkeley Playhouse), and Chriskirkpatrickmas (Edinburgh Fringe Festival). Recent titles in Film & Television include Ride (Costume Supervisor), Finger (Costume Designer), Anime Crimes Division Season 2 (Costume Designer), and Stranger Things Season 4 (Makeup Artist). Sharon is a Wig & Makeup foreperson at San Francisco Opera and heads the Wigs & Makeup Departments of both Opera San José and the Merola Opera Program. Recent Wig & Makeup design in opera include The Rape of Lucretia (Merola Opera Program), The Shining (Opera Parallèle), and The Barber of Seville (Opera San José).


Visit for more work across two decades.

Mextly Couzin

Mextly Couzin

Lighting Designer

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Hometown: Los Angeles, California, USA

Mextly Couzin Lighting Designer, recent credits include, Broadway: Camelot (Associate), Birthday Candles (Associate). Off-Broadway: Pericles, JOB, A Good Day to Me Not To You, Here We Are (ALD), Straight Line Crazy, peerless, Tambo & Bones; Regional: MEXODUS (Baltimore Center Stage), Das Rheingold (Seattle Opera); Merry Wives of Windsor (The Old Globe); Incendiary (Woolly Mammoth); West Side Story (Centro de Bellas Artes Puerto Rico); La Belle et la Bête (Opera Paralléle). 2023 recipient of The 1/52 Project grant. MFA University of California, San Diego ’20.

David Murakami

David Murakami

Projection Designer

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David Murakami is a projection designer and film director. Recent Productions include Das Rheingold at Seattle Opera, Everest at Dallas Opera, Elektra at Minnesota Opera, The Shining at Atlanta Opera, Zoot Suit at the Mark Taper Forum, Singin’ in the Rain with McCoy Rigby, and Scare Pair at LA Opera Off Grand. Other notable design credits include Opera Parallèle's La Belle et la BêteDead Man WalkingLittle Prince, and ChampionHabibati Man Takoun at Riyadh Season; and Spotlight Bar and 5-Skies aboard Princess Cruises’ flagship Royal-class vessels. Other companies include Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Calgary Opera, Opéra de Montréal, San Jose Repertory Theater, SFJazz, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Presidio Theatre, Arizona Opera, Skylight Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Sun Valley Summer Symphony, and East West Players. David is a proud member of United Scenic Artists 829 and teaches projection design at the University of California, Irvine.

Leah Hammond*

Leah Hammond*

Props Artisan

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Hometown: Boulder, Colorado


Leah Hammond has worn many theatrical hats over the past 20-odd years, but gets especially excited about props. Leah has worked at theatres around the Bay Area, including: Magic Theatre, Aurora Theatre, Shotgun Players, Z Space, SF Playhouse, Bay Area Musicals, CCSF’s Diego Rivera Theatre, Center REP, and more. Favorite projects include: set design & scenic painting - Cradle Will Rock (Diego Rivera Theatre), Frozen Jr (Tomorrow Youth Rep); props - Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Shotgun Players), Road to Mecca (Weathervane Productions), Paradise Blue (Aurora Theatre); production tech - Don’t Eat the Mangos, Nassim (Magic Theatre). Leah has also dabbled in acting, including playing Universanaut in Disinsemination, Lenny in Rumors, multiple 24 hour play festivals, and a very cute 5-year-old Tortoise in Tortoise and the Hare.


Photo Credit: Olivia Lawrence-Weilmann

Lawrence Dillon

Lawrence Dillon


View Bio

Hometown: Redding, California


Mr. Dillon is very excited with his supernumerary debut with Opera Parallèle.  He has been a supporter and fan for many years.  Not only is he an award winning documentary film maker he also loves to sing!  Mr. Dillon has performed with the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and Lamplighters Music Theater.

*Making Opera Parallèle debut this season

View Orchestra List


Jessie Nucho
Flute, Alto Flute & Piccolo

Peter Josheff
Clarinet & Bass Clarinet

Jamael Smith

Craig Hansen
French Horn

Alan Matteri

Michael Hernandez
Alto Saxophone

Kaitlin Lambert
Tenor Trombone

Bill Bunyan

Joel Davel
Percussion 1

Tim DeCillis
Percussion 2

Carlos Alvarez
Percussion 3 & Samples Operator

Keisuke Nakagoshi
Piano & Resident Pianist

Taylor Chan
Rehearsal Pianist

Hrabba Atlasottir
Concertmaster, Violin 1

Noah Strick
Violin 2

Vanessa Ruotolo

Zachary Iscoff

View Production Team

Production Team

Phil Lowery
Director of Production

Bethanie Baeyen
Stage Manager

Lawrence Dillon
Camera Operator

David Gardner
Set Construction

Marc Hernandez
Assistant Stage Manager

Arina Izadi
Hair and Makeup Artist

Glo Mueller
Hair/Makeup Artist & Wardrobe Supervisor

Audrey Chandler
Supertitles Operator

Michelle Escoto
Costume Assistant

View Creative Team

Creative Team

Laura Karpman
Composer – Balls

David T. Little
Composer – Vinkensport

Gail Collins
Librettist – Balls

Royce Vavrek
Librettist – Vinkensport

Nicole Paiement

Jaco Wong
Assistant Conductor

Brian Staufenbiel
Stage/Creative Director & Scenic Designer

Erin Neff
Associate Stage Director

Sharon Y. Peng
Costume & Hair/Makeup Designer

Mextly Couzin
Lighting Designer

David Murakami
Projection Designer

Mark Simmons

Jacquelyn Scott
Technical Drawings

Leah Hammond
Props Artisan

View OP Staff

OP Staff

Nicole Paiement
General & Artistic Director

Ruth Nott
Managing Director

Brian Staufenbiel
Creative Director

Eman Isadiar
Development Director

Francis Aviani
Marketing Director

Daniel Harvey
Artistic & Community Director

Phil Lowery
Director of Production

Jacques Desjardins
Artistic Administrator

Brett Metzger
Finance Manager

Muskan Parashar
Development Associate

Jay Cruz
Marketing Associate

Emerson McAlister
Community, IDEA & Contracting Associate

Jenna Toler
Administrative Assistant

Elizabeth Brodersen
Grant Writer

Michael Stephens
Grant Writer

Jon Finck

Michael Mohammad
Scholar in Residence

Jaymes Kirksey
Guest Conductor (Fellow Travelers)

Keisuke Nakagoshi
Resident Pianist


Balls is supported in part by a gift from Louise Fox in memory of Jane Withers Fox. Vinkensport, or The Finch Opera (Birds) received funding from OPERA America’s Next Stage program, which is funded in part by the Mellon Foundation and gifts from OA’s 50th Anniversary Campaign, including a leadership gift from Frayda B. Lindemann. Support for Birds & Balls is also provided in part by The Amphion Foundation, Inc., Gordon Getty, Dina Kuntz & Sherry Parker, Bernice Lindstrom, Elizabeth McMillan & George Varian, the National Endowment for the Arts, Martha Peak Rochelle, and William Adams Design.

Producer’s Circle

View Producer's Circle

Anderson Norby
Donna Dubinsky & Len Shustek
Corey Goodman & Marcia Baranaga
Gordon Getty
Dina Kuntz & Sherry Parker
Bernice Lindstrom
Scott Lord
Nicole Paiement & Brian Staufenbiel
Jerry Roth & Ray Jenks

Institutional Support

View Institutional and Corporate Sponsors

The Aaron Copland Fund, The Amphion Foundation, Inc., Bill Graham Supporting Foundation of the Jewish Community Endowment Fund, The California Arts Council, The California Office of the Small Business Advocate, The Lemala Fund, National Endowment for the Arts, OPERA America, The Henry W. & Nettie Robinson Foundation, City & County of San Francisco Grants for the Arts, The Sam Mazza Foundation, Sing for America, Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, Zellerbach Family Foundation

Season Supporters

View Season Supporters

Annual Sponsors ($1,000+)
Vincanne Adams and John Norby
Martha Allday
Christopher Barefoot
The Beatrice Giving Fund
Lynn D. Berger
David Bertoni
Didi & Dix Boring
Machelle Burkstrand & Steven Winick
Kenneth Caldwell
Joseph Chan
Hella & Melvin Cheitlin
Celeste Chin & Vincent Dureau
Debbie Chinn
Carolyn Clark Beedle
Janet Cluff
George Cogan & Fannie Allen
Marie & Leonard Collins
Michèle & Laurence Corash
Kip Cranna
Drs. John and Lois Crowe
Philip & Elayne Dauber
Dr. Marylene DelbourgDelphis
Simon Donovan & Monica Donovan
John Downey & Brad Hise
Savio D’Souza
Bob Ellis
Judith & Philip Erdberg
Lisa Erdberg & Dennis Gibbons
Andrea Fineberg & Don Fineberg
Harvey Fineberg
Mr. and Mrs. William Fisher
Steve Fletcher & Carl Croft
Bill Foss
Louise Fox in memory of Jane Withers Fox
Lisa Jill Freeman
Harriet C. Fried
Keith & Priscilla Geeslin
Susan & Mark Geyer
Mark Gibson
Alexandra Gillen & Hartmut Koeppen
David Golden & Susan Golden
Judy & Jeff Gough
Philip Goward & Theodore Ueki
Amy Graham and Jamie Lantz
Geoffrey Green & Marcia Green
Melinda Haag
Katie Hafner & Bob Wachter
Kennen Hagen
Jane Hartley
Lizbeth Hasse
William Hays
Stephen & Diane Heiman
Malcolm Heinicke & Meg Heinicke
Olivier Janin
Franklin & Catherine Johnson
Teresa Johnson
Mark L. Kalow & Marlene Pitkow
Frank Kelly
Martha Kessler
Kelly Klaus
John Klopacz & Richard Wilson
Marcia Lazer
Steven Lei
Deborah Lewis & Martin H. Myers
Peter Li & Patty Li
Arend Lijphart
Lisa Lindelef
Priscilla Lore
Jeffrey A. Lyttle
Betty Maddux
David Madson
Patrice Maginnis & Eric Rice
Jeff Mattlin & Alexa Fitzpatrick
Patrick McCabe
Susan McConkey
Elizabeth McMillan & George Varian
James Meehan
Mina Miller & David Sabritt
Judy Miner
The Moore Dry Dock Foundation
Alice Morison
Anne L. Morton
Simin Naaseh & Farhang Ostadan
Jessica Nall
Ruth Nott
Peggy & Boyce Nute
Margie O’Driscoll & Niels Swinkels
Peggy Otum & Andrew Price
Erica Pascal & Michael Hostetler
Martha Peak Rochelle
Nancy Petrisko & Don Beckham
Mary Ellen Poole
Karl Pribram
Robert Ripps & Steven Spector
Mark Robinson & Leslie Winick
John Roevekamp
Dr. Elise Rossiter & Jay Rossiter
Cheryl Ruby & Richard Hart
Terri & Bob Ryan
Jack & Betty Schafer
Tony Shayne
The Shenson Foundation
Dr. Katherine Slazak
Deborah Stallings & Sharna Fey
Michael Staufenbiel
Joseph Stecher
Hal & Kelly Stober
Francoise Stone
Martin Tannenbaum & Alex Ingersoll
Aileen Tat
Jessica Wan
Emily Wang and Aaron Hoffer
Holly Ward
Henry Weissmann
Marianne A Welmers
Peter Wender
Karen & James Wiley
Dee Williams
Akiko Yamazaki & Jerry Yang
Brenda Yost
Jee Young You & Paul Alsdorf
Denise Young Smith
Candace Zander Kahn

Individual Supporters

View Individual Supporters

Karen Baumer
Lynn D. Berger
Helen Berggruen
Leslie Caldwell
Marna Clark
Dr. Bradford Crowell
Meriem Curtil
The Deus Ex Machina Family Fund
Nick & Nicole Franco
Karen Gabrielson
Jo Giessler
Dr. Steven Goldberg & Sandee Blechman
Don & MaryAnn Graulich
Jake Heggie & Curt Branom
Mary Henderson
Jeffrey N. & Anne Marie Katz
Elsie Kelly
Harriet Lazer
Sylvia & Paul Lorton Jr.
Lynn MacDonald
Sue & Phil Marineau
Carmelita Mitchell
Alan Olejniczak and David Bourne
Marcia & Robert Popper
Mark and Susan Reinstra
Jarman Rogers
Pia Schneider
Paul Schrage
Judy Sheldon
Richard Sparks
Blanche Germain Streeter
Theresa Stuart
Larry and Pauline Wallden
Daphne and Stuart Wells
Paul Woolford & Rick Freeman

Special Thanks

View Special Thanks

42nd Street Moon

San Francisco Conservatory of Music

We are deeply grateful for the collective generosity of our patrons at all levels. Giving at the Collaborator+ level includes digital program recognition, and gifts of $100+ are recognized on our website. This listing recognizes gifts received between September 1, 2022 to March 31, 2024. If an error or omission is noted, please accept our sincere apologies and contact with any updates.

Donate toOpera Parallèle

Help us move opera forward. Giving sustains Opera Parallèle’s artistic excellence and our community partnerships in a changing performing arts landscape.
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San Francisco, CA 94102

About Opera Parallèle

Opera Parallèle is a prominent contemporary opera company based in San Francisco, known for its innovative and boundary-pushing productions. Founded in 2007 as Ensemble Parallèle by conductor Nicole Paiement, the company has been a driving force in redefining the operatic experience for modern audiences. Collaboration is in Opera Parallèle’s DNA: the company was named for founder Nicole Paiement’s belief that working “in parallel”, or in partnership, with organizations and artists in our own communities is essential for the survival of opera as a living art form.

Opera Parallèle is deeply committed to presenting works that explore relevant social and cultural themes. Its productions often challenge traditional operatic norms by incorporating multimedia elements, technology, and unconventional staging. By blending classical opera with contemporary ideas, the company has garnered a reputation for pushing artistic boundaries and fostering creativity within opera.

Throughout its history, Opera Parallèle has garnered critical acclaim for its thought-provoking and artistically rich performances. The company has been a champion of new and lesser-known works, shedding light on pieces that might not receive mainstream attention. This dedication to artistic exploration and collaboration has made Opera Parallèle a significant cultural contributor to the vibrant San Francisco arts scene.

As Opera Parallèle continues to evolve, it remains a vital platform for both established and emerging artists to experiment with and present opera in fresh and engaging ways, solidifying its position as a dynamic and influential force in the world of contemporary opera.

Mission Statement

Opera Parallèle merges tradition with innovation to re-invent opera for our modern world. We are committed to the highest artistic standards in our productions. We foster an inclusive and creative environment that values curiosity and innovation. We are committed to equity, diversity and inclusion in all aspects of our work. We embrace communication, respect and are accountable for our actions.

Land Acknowledgment

We, Opera Parallèle, acknowledge that we are on the unceded ancestral homeland of the Ramaytush Ohlone who are the original inhabitants of the San Francisco Peninsula.

As the indigenous stewards of this land and in accordance with their traditions, the Ramaytush Ohlone have never ceded, lost nor forgotten their responsibilities as the caretakers of this place, as well as for all peoples who reside in their traditional territory. As guests, we recognize that we benefit from living and working on their traditional homeland. We wish to pay our respects by acknowledging the Ancestors, Elders and Relatives of the Ramaytush Community and by affirming their sovereign rights as First Peoples.

For more information, please visit

Board of Directors

View Board Members

Jerome C. Roth, Chair
Peggy Otum, Vice Chair
Jane Hartley, Treasurer
Lisa Lindelef, Secretary
Kip Cranna
Melinda Luisa de Jesús
Marylene Delbourg-Delphis
Louise Fox
Jo Giessler
Marcia Lazer
Steven Lei
Jeff Mattlin
Simin Naaseh
Nancy Petrisko
John D. Roevekamp
Tony Shayne
Jee Young You

Honorary Board Members

View Honorary Board

Terence Blanchard
Ruth A. Felt
Philip Glass
Jake Heggie
John Holiday
Frederica von Stade

Advisory Council

View Advisory Council

Joseph Chan
Steve Kesten
Carmelita Mitchell
Robert Ripps
Lawrence Siegel, JD

Now in its 41st year, SFJAZZ is the largest non-profit jazz presenter in the world. Originally founded in 1983 as a two-day festival, SFJAZZ now serves over a quarter of a million fans and students every year through its year-round concert, commissioning, and education programs.

Opened in 2013, the SFJAZZ Center is located on the corner of Franklin and Fell Streets in the heart of San Francisco’s arts district, and includes two performance spaces, multiple music practice rooms, a digital lab, and the B-Side restaurant and bar.


View SFJAZZ Staff


Amy Heiden
Director of Production

Egan O’Rourke
Technical Director

Matt Moreau
Lighting Designer/Board Operator

Robert Bambey

Alexandre Espolet
A1-FoH Audio

Masanori Yura

Jeremy Guy
L1-LX Board Operator

Saskia Lee
House SM

Erin Laetz
AA-Artist Assistant

SFJAZZ Mission Statement

View SFJAZZ Mission Statement

SFJAZZ explores the full spectrum of jazz—from its origins in the African American and Afro Caribbean communities, to its diverse and evolving expressions around the world today. We honor the artists and the music that have influenced or been influenced by jazz, and through creation, presentation and education, we inspire and build a community in the Bay Area and beyond.

Coming Up This Season

June 21-23. Presidio Theatre, San Francisco. Director Brian Staufenbiel. Guest Conductor Jaymes Kirksey. Opera Parallèle and Presidio Theatre present Fellow Travelers. Composer Greg Spears. Librettist Gregory Pierce.

Donate toOpera Parallèle

Help us move opera forward. Giving sustains Opera Parallèle’s artistic excellence and our community partnerships in a changing performing arts landscape.