FELLOW TRAVELERS An Opera by Gregory Spears Libretto by Greg Pierce Based on the 2007 novel “Fellow Travelers” by Thomas Mallon
Digital Program

Fellow Travelers

June 21 — 23, 2024 @ Presidio Theatre⁠

OpeningNotes

Nicole Paiement

General and Artistic Director’s Note

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Dear friends,

Thank you for joining us for our final production of the season with Fellow Travelers by composer Gregory Spears and librettist Greg Pierce. Based on Thomas Mallon’s important historical novel, the relevance of the story and the entrancing beauty of the musical score made it a perfect choice for us. Much before Mallon’s novel became a popular TV miniseries, OP had decided to bring this San Francisco premiere to our community.  However, with this recent added perspective on the story, I am prompted to ask the popular question – how does opera transform stories? How different a perspective  will it be to experience a theatrical telling of this searing event? We all know that music has a unique power to transcend the narrative, to express the ineffable.  For me,  Fellow Travelers –  the opera – does exactly that. We become immersed in not only the action and events, but also get deeply entangled and moved by  the complexity of our character’s struggles. Through music, this important historical event sheds a deep perspective on the intricacy of the  human condition.  If you have read the book, or/and seen the miniseries, you will  have your personal perspective on how the opera sheds a new light to the  story. It would be interesting to hear some of your thoughts on this. Perhaps some of you will be willing to share them with us after the performance. For now, enjoy the production and let yourself be transported by the inexpressible power of this artform.

 

Taking this opportunity to wish you all a wonderful summer. See you in the Fall for another exciting season as we celebrate our 15th anniversary.

 

My warm regards from Vienna,

 

Nicole Paiement

General Director/Artistic Director

Brian Staufenbiel

Creative Director’s Note

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The Concept: Illuminating Dark Times by OP Creative Director Brian Staufenbiel

 

At the heart of Fellow Travelers is a love between two men that must hide in the shadows. And If you worked for the federal government in the early 1950s — when a moral panic called the lavender scare shattered the lives of thousands of gay men and lesbians — you had good reason to hide, to live a double life. Egged on by demagogues like Joseph McCarthy (who makes an appearance in the second act of this opera), merciless bureaucrats flooded every official crevice with blinding investigative light. It was a witch hunt, and queer people were the target.

 

So blending in became a survival skill. Even in the brightest light, you had to look like everyone else or stay obscured in the gloom. Mulling these themes of light and dark, illumination and shadow, double lives, I hit on a design approach that animates this production. Working with the Opera Parallèle design team, we created a set with a sleek, modular aesthetic. Its concise, almost impersonal silhouettes suggest a supposedly simpler time and enable seamless transitions between scenes, with shadow play that at times obscures figures and faces. We also incorporated projected backgrounds inspired by the precisionist artist Charles Sheeler, whose photographic approach to painting helped usher in American modernism. In the end, we fashioned a metaphoric visual language that evokes the shells in which oppressed people were forced to live.

 

Join this aesthetic approach with the poignant and heartbreaking love story that composer Gregory Spears and librettist Greg Pierce tell in Fellow Travelers, and you have a West Coast premiere of the work that feels especially timely today. Because history may not exactly repeat itself, as the saying goes, but it often rhymes. And make no mistake — even as we gather here in this beautiful theater, in San Francisco, in the midst of LGBTQ+ Pride Month — the discordant rhymes of the McCarthy era and the lavender scare are in the air now: People targeted for not fitting in, demonized for their ethnicity or religious beliefs or gender or sexual identity. Art can shine a light on these parallels, refracting the past in ways that make the present visible.

 

Creative Director of Opera Parallèle
Brian Staufenbiel

Gregory Spears

Composer’s Note

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Opera thrives on stories with rich subtext, where characters cannot fully express themselves in words. Both politicians and gay men and women in Washington DC in the 1950s lived in a world full of coded sensibility – a culture operating under the surface and in counterpoint with the rigid formality of 1950s mores. In our operatic adaption of Thomas Mallon’s novel Fellow Travelers, the world of back room dealings underpinning DC’s political life becomes a hazy reflection of the romantic relationship between state department employee Hawkins Fuller and a young reporter Timothy Laughlin. In both the political world of the McCarthy Era and the private world of Hawk and Tim, dialogue could only tell part of the story. My goal was to craft a musical language for Fellow Travelers that would foreground the undercurrent of clandestine machinations and forbidden longing churning under the surface of Greg Pierce’s adaptation. 

 

In an era where living “in-the-closet” is becoming increasingly rare, it seems important to put characters like Tim and Hawk on-stage — not simply as historical victims struggling against homophobia, but as ordinary people fighting through life in an era where a public expression of love could threaten to destroy one’s world. My hope is that the nuanced machinery of opera might play some small part reminding us of this history, while also preserving in music the sensibility of doubleness that so often defined the gay experience in this era. It has been heartening to see this work produced multiple times since its premiere in 2016 with many different casts. And it has been particularly fascinating watching how a story about McCarthyism and the lavender scare resonates in increasingly eerie ways with our present historical moment.

 

In Tim and Hawk’s public interactions, love cannot simply “speak” its name. Music must bridge the gap. In the opening scene, we witness a conversation between both men on a park bench in Dupont Circle. To most 1950s bystanders, the conversation would seem unremarkable. To Tim it is a pick-up, filled with danger and anticipation. It is also for Tim, a sexual awakening. I tried to embody both the excitement and the surface ordinariness of the exchange — a subtle tension familiar to anyone living in-the-closet. From this starting point, I looked for ways to express the innuendo-driven world of the couple while maintaining a relatively cool musical surface, reproducing in the other scenes the layered experience of the original park bench meeting. I tried to do this by blending two disparate styles: American minimalism and the courtly, melismatic singing style of medieval troubadours.  Throughout the piece, minimalist passages represent the hum of office work — secretaries typing, interns rushing about — and the McCarthy-era political machine, ready to crush. The florid troubadour-like melodies, evocative of courtly longing, represent the passionate inner life of the lovers. These two styles are often present at the same time, generating musical tension and propelling the opera toward its tragic conclusion. 

 

Composer of Fellow Travelers
Gregory Spears

Opera Parallèle and The Presidio Theatre presents

Fellow Travelers

An Opera by Gregory Spears

 Libretto by Greg Pierce

Based on the 2007 novel “Fellow Travelers” by Thomas Mallon

Performed in English with supertitles.

The performance will last approximately 135 minutes, with 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 Friday, June 21st at 7:30pm will be preceded by a pre-show talk with Fellow Travelers author Thomas Mallon and librettist Greg Pierce.

FELLOW TRAVELERS was originally developed and co-commissioned by G. Sterling Zinsmeyer & Cincinnati Opera. Original production directed by Kevin Newbury.

Used by arrangement with European American Music Distributors Company, sole U.S. and Canadian agent for Schott Helicon Music Corporation, New York, publisher and copyright owner.

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.

Presidio Theatre 
99 Moraga Ave
San Francisco, CA 94129
info@presidiothatre.org

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

Cast & Creativesfor Fellow Travelers

Cast

Jonathan Pierce Rhodes*

Jonathan Pierce Rhodes*

Timothy Laughlin

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Hometown: Orlando, FL, USA

Known for his “honey-voice,” Jonathan Pierce Rhodes, Tenor, is a native of Orlando, Florida. This season Pierce is expected to continue on in his second-year residency in The Washington National Opera’s Cafritz Young Artist Program where he is slated to perform as “Pong” in Puccini’s Turandot, a new production directed by Francesca Zambello. Pierce’s previous roles with WNO include, Frank in the Passion of Mary Cardwell Dawson, a role he originated in 2019 with The Glimmerglass Festival, as well as Police Buddy 2 in the critically acclaimed new Opera Blue by Jeanine Tesori and Tazwell Thompson. This fall, Pierce will be making his house and role debut with New Orleans Opera as “The Son” in their new production of Blue as well. This past summer, Pierce covered the title role of Candide in Leonard Bernstein’s Candide at The Glimmerglass Festival, as well as performed the role of Cacambo, a role for which the Wall Street Journal noted him a “Big-Voiced Standout.”

JonathanPierceRhodes.com

Photo credit Julius Sanchez

Joseph Lattanzi*

Joseph Lattanzi*

Hawkins Fuller

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Hometown: Atlanta, GA, USA

Joseph Lattanzi commands attention for his “robust vocalism,” “unmistakable charisma,” and “undeniable star potential.”
Lattanzi established himself as a major artist in the current landscape of opera with his portrayal of Hawkins Fuller in the world premiere of Gregory Spears’ and Greg Pierce’s Fellow Travelers. Future engagements include Paul Jobs in The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs at San Francisco Opera, a role and house debut as Belcore in L’elisir d’amore at Minnesota Opera, the title role of Don Giovanni at Arizona Opera, and a world premiere with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

He has spent 5 years on the roster of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. His ever-growing operatic repertoire includes Figaro in the Barber of Seville, Escamillo in Carmen, Silvio in I Pagliacci, Don Giovanni in Don Giovanni, Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro, Papageno in The Magic Flute, Orpheus in Matthew Aucoin’s Euridice, Lt. Audebert in Kevin Puts’ Silent Night, Dandini in Rossini’s Cinderella and he has been heard by audiences at Seattle Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, San Francisco Opera, Merola Opera Program, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Arizona Opera, Virginia Opera, Atlanta Opera, PROTOTYPE festival & Grand Teton Music Festival – among others.

JosephLattanziBaritone.com

Photo credit Patricia Westley

Victoria Lawal

Victoria Lawal

Mary Johnson

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Celebrated for her “smooth-voiced yet strong” soprano (The New York Times), Lawal debuted with Tulsa Opera as High Priestess (Aida), before jumping in for Heartbeat Opera’s acclaimed production of Lady M. She joined the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, covering Despina (Così fan tutte), Mrs. Hayes (Susannah), and the title role in Treemonisha. As a Manetti Shrem Fellow, Victoria was heard in excerpts as Magda (La Rondine), Contessa (Le nozze di Figaro), and the title role of Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia with the Festival Napa Orchestra, where she also covered Norina (Don Pasquale). Victoria recently made a dual with Detroit Opera as the Rooster in The Cunning Little Vixen. On Film, Lawal starred in the world premiere of The Knock, commissioned by The Glimmerglass Festival, where she previously appeared as First Lady (The Magic Flute) and both originated and reprised the role of Isabelle in The Passion of Mary Cardwell Dawson, starring Denyce Graves. In tandem, Victoria covered the role of Micaëla in Graves’ directorial debut of Carmen. Other highlights include a “confident and charismatic” debut as Marzelline in Heartbeat Opera’s touring production of Fidelio (Bachtrack), Musetta with Opera Birmingham (La Bohème) and creating the role of Opal in the world premiere of The Body Female, commissioned by LA Opera.

 

Victoria looks forward to a dual debut with Detroit Opera as the Rooster in Yuval Sharon’s production of The Cunning Little Vixen. Elsewhere in Detroit, Victoria sings regularly with the 313 group, a Jazz ensemble led by Nate Topo, featuring pianist Bill Meyer. On Film, Lawal starred in the world premiere of The Knock, commissioned by The Glimmerglass Festival, where she previously appeared as First Lady (The Magic Flute) and both originated and reprised the role of Isabelle in The Passion of Mary Cardwell Dawson, starring Denyce Graves. In tandem, Victoria covered the role of Micaëla in Graves’ directorial debut of Carmen.

 

Other highlights include a “confident and charismatic” debut as Marzelline in Heartbeat Opera’s touring production of Fidelio (Bachtrack), Musetta with Opera Birmingham (La Bohème) and creating the role of Opal in the world premiere of The Body Female, commissioned by LA Opera.

 

Engagements impacted by the global pandemic include Beethoven’s Mass in C, Mozart’s Requiem, and two World Premieres. With Beth Morrison Projects, Victoria was engaged to workshop the role of Sabine in Adoration (Kouyoumdijan/Vavrek) and was to join Helsinki’s Sibelius Academy, creating the role of Svitlana in All the truths we cannot see, depicting the 1986 Chernobyl Crisis. Victoria has trained at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, The Glimmerglass Festival, The Banff Centre, The Aspen Music Festival, SongFest, Boston University and the University of Southern California. Victoria is currently based in Detroit, with her Tenor partner, River Guard and their cat Bijou.

 

Photo credit Jiyang Chen

 

www.VictoriaLawal.com

Kurt Winterhalter

Kurt Winterhalter

Tommy McIntyre

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Hometown: Northridge, CA, USA

Kurt Winterhalter is a baritone with a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from San Francisco Conservatory of Music. This proud Filipino-American is an active musician and actor in the performing fields of Los Angeles and San Francisco, with a diverse resume in both opera and musical theater. Kurt has featured as a soloist with the Santa Clarita Master Chorale, North Valley Chamber Chorale and the Sacramento Choral Society & Orchestra. His latest operatic appearances include Conte Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro (comp. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, lib. Lorenzo Da Ponte) with Prague Summer Nights Young Artists Music Festival, and Pausanias in Une éducation manquée (comp. Emmanuel Chabrier, lib. Eugène Leterrier & Albert Vanloo) with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Photo credit Greg Crowder

Elena Galván

Elena Galván

Miss Lightfoot

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Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA

Praised for her “perfectly spun, silvery soprano” and “brilliant, crystalline top,” Elena Galván has gained recognition as a soprano with a “bubbly personality and wicked sense [of] fun.” Elena recently made her house debut at Syracuse Opera, Tri-Cities Opera, and Hawaii Opera Theatre as Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, a role she also performed at Florida Grand Opera to critical acclaim. Elena has performed roles of Adele (Die Fledermaus), Gretel (Hansel and Gretel), Norina (Don Pasquale), Oscar (Un ballo in maschera), and Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi) at companies across the US such as Opera San José, Florida Grand Opera, and Opera Ithaca. In addition, Elena has been a participant in prestigious Young Artist Programs at Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Saratoga, Virginia Opera, and Kentucky Opera. Elena holds degrees in Vocal Performance from Ithaca College and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

www.elenagalvan.com

Photo credit Jessica Osber

 

Cara Gabrielson

Cara Gabrielson

Lucy

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Hometown: Oakland, CA

Soprano, Cara Gabrielson, has achieved notable success in both opera and concert performances. She made her San Francisco Symphony debut in 2018 as the Soprano Soloist in Bach’s Magnificat, was a 2020 National Semifinalist in The Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition and subsequently joined The Met’s roster in 2022 for Idomeneo. This season she reprises Carmina Burana with the San Francisco Symphony and covers the title role in Florencia en el Amazonas with Opera San José. Next season she makes her debut as Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni) with Livermore Valley Opera.

Gabrielson’s diverse repertoire includes the title role in Acis & Galatea (Opera Idaho), Elisena in Ifigenia in Aulide (Ars Minerva), Norina in Don Pasquale (Pocket Opera), The Lover in The Fairy Queen (Tafelmusik) and as the soloist for the video game Final Fantasy (San Francisco Symphony). As a solo recitalist, Cara has been presented by the Oregon Bach Festival and Portland Opera Guild. Cara is an alum of the Georg Solti Accademia di Bel Canto, Opera Idaho Emerging Artists Program, Opera Saratoga Young Artist Program and received degrees from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

https://www.caragabrielson.com/

Photo credit Jiyang Chen

Daniel Cilli

Daniel Cilli

Estonian Frank/Interrogator/Senator McCarthy

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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 during the current Centennial season. 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.

Some highlight projects elsewhere include: Pa Zegner in Proving Up by Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek (Pasadena Opera); Burton in Sharaku Unframed-premiere by Hiroya Miura (Left Coast Chamber Ensemble); Captain Ladoux in Mata Hari by Matt Marks and Paul Peers (West Edge Opera); the title role in Sweeney Todd; Cervantes/Quixote in Man of La Mancha, Javert in Les Miserables; and he has made special appearances with the wrestlers of Oakland’s Hoodslam! Daniel was a principal artist 2006-2010 at Opera San José where he performed 15 title and leading roles. He has also performed with Earplay Ensemble, SF Contemporary Music Players; West Bay, Livermore, Utah, Des Moines Metro, Utah Festival, Central City opera companies; the Houston Grand Opera Studio, the Tanglewood and Aspen music festivals.

https://www.danielcilli.com/

Photo credit Daniel Cilli

Matthew Worth

Matthew Worth

Senator Potter/General Arlie/Bartender

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Hailed by The New York Times for a voice that is “fully powered and persuasively expressive,” highlights of recent seasons for Grammy award-winning baritone Matthew Worth include the title role in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Boston Lyric Opera, the premiere and recording of the Narrator in Richard Danielpour’s The Passion of Yeshua, the title role in the world premiere of JFK with Fort Worth Opera, the world premiere of The Manchurian Candidate with Minnesota Opera, and Moby Dick at the Kennedy Center with Washington National Opera. He has performed Valentin (Faust) with Santa Fe Opera and Harlequin (Ariadne auf Naxos) with Lyric Opera of Chicago. Other notable roles include the title role in Don Giovanni, Dottore Malatesta (Don Pasquale), Mercutio (Roméo et Juliette), and Tarquinius (The Rape of Lucretia). He has performed leading roles at Santa Fe Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Castleton Festival, Tanglewood Festival, Pittsburgh Opera, and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, under such luminary conductors as James Levine, Lorin Maazel, and Sir Andrew Davis. Matthew is a committed recitalist and active concert soloist. He performed Schumann’s Dichterliebe and Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer with the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and was praised by The New York Times as “simply superb, singing with exquisite sensitivity.” Matthew made his Carnegie Hall debut in Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem under James DePriest while still a student at the Juilliard Opera Center. He made his Alice Tully Hall debut with the Richmond Choral Society in Carmina Burana and has since been featured in concerts with the Atlanta Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Boston Pops Orchestra, and has performed with conductors Donald Runnicles, Robert Spano and James Conlon.

Matt Lovell

Matt Lovell

Potter’s Assistant/Bookseller/Technician/French Priest

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Hometown: San Francisco, CA, USA

Bass-baritone Matthew Lovell is an artist praised for his stage presence and musicianship. A native to New England, Mr. Lovell resides in San Francisco and performs throughout the Bay Area. Recent engagements include Zuniga in Carmen – Bizet with Festival Opera and Surin in Pique Dame – Tchaikovsky with West Bay Opera. Other roles Mr. Lovell has performed include Belcore in L’elisir d’amore – Donizetti, Il Conte Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro – Mozart, Abimelech in Samson et Dalila – Saint-Saëns, Demitrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Britten, and Leporello in Don Giovanni – Mozart. Recently he was thrilled to be a part of composer Chris Walden’s Missa lubileum Aurem which has been nominated for a Grammy. Upcoming engagements include the roles of Fafner, Hunding, and Hagen in West Edge Opera’s production The Legend of the Ring.

Photo credit Clifton Romig

Ryan Bradford

Ryan Bradford

Cover: Tommy McIntyre/Estonian Frank/Interrogator/Senator McCarthy Senator Potter/General Arlie/Bartender Potter's Assistant/Bookseller/Technician/French Priest

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Ryan Bradford, is quickly creating a name for himself with his “warm, and sumptuous baritone.”

This season he makes his Lincoln Center debut with Chamber Music Society Lincoln Center in the world premier chamber opera, A Song by Mahler by Marc Neikrug (streaming on demand here). Other performances include the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and The Royal Conservatory in Toronto. He was a Marc and Eva Stern Fellow with LA Opera and Songfest and made a return to the Oakland Symphony, San Rafael Symphony, Rapides Symphony, and Livermore Valley Opera as well as joined Chamber Music Silicon Valley as a vocal fellow. He recently completed a residency with Opera Colorado for their 2016-2017 season singing Happy and covering Jake Wallace in La Fanciulla del West as well as covering Hannah Before in As One. For their touring productions he sang Belcore in L’elisir d’amore and covered Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. During the 2015-2016 season Ryan was a Mosher Studio Artist with Opera Santa Barbara. There he performed Masetto and covered the title role in Mozart’s Don Giovanni. A strong proponent of new music, Ryan sang the role of Henry in David Conte’s The Gift of the Magi with Hidden Valley Opera in Carmel, CA conducted by former Glimmerglass conductor, Steward Robinson. In the summer of 2016, he premiered the role of Michael in the world premiere opera Ours (Estacio, Chafe) with Opera on the Avalon. Bradford made his Virginia debut as John Brooke in Little Women with Opera on the James and performed a German Lieder recital series with legendary mezzo-soprano Fredericka Von Stade as graduate student at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. During the 2014-2015 season Ryan completed a residency with Shreveport Opera where he sang The Baron in La Traviata, Samuel in The Pirates of Penzance, as well as Dandini in La Cenerentola. Other 2013 engagements for the San Francisco native came as John Brooke (Little Women) for the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Guglielmo (Così fan tutte) for both SFCM and the Santa Cruz Symphony, and Masetto (Don Giovanni) for Hidden Valley Opera, Carmel, CA. Oratorio credits include recent soloist roles in Handel’s Messiah with the Rogue Valley Symphony, Poulenc’s Le bal masqué with Opera Parallèle, Bach’s B Minor Mass with American Bach Soloists, and Schubert’s Mass in G with DePaul University. A DePaul University alumnus (BM in Voice Performance and BA in Italian), he received a master of music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He has received distinction from the Loren. L. Zachary Competition, Fort Worth McCammon Competition, Gerda Lissner Competition, and Florida Grand Opera Young Patronesses.

Sydnee Johnson

Sydnee Johnson

Cover for Mary Johnson

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Hometown: McKinney, Texas

Sydnee Turrentine-Johnson is a young African American soprano originally from Dallas, Texas. She aspires to an international career in opera, concert work, and recital with her lush and highly skilled vocal and dramatic abilities. Beyond her world-class skills as a soprano, Ms. Turrentine-Johnson exudes the joy of music-making with her luminous soul and confidence on and off the stage. Goals for her future include building an organization that supports and provides accessibility to music education, specifically creating more inclusive spaces for people of color in the classical music world. Through artistic domination of the stage and every role she embodies, Ms. Turrentine-Johnson aims to be a leader that provides inspiration and support to those around her as well as future musicians who are seeking to see themselves on the stage and in spaces that have been previously inaccessible.

Composer & Librettist

Gregory Spears

Gregory Spears

Composer

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Hometown: Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA

Gregory Spears is a New York-based composer who has been commissioned by The New York Philharmonic, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Santa Fe Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Seraphic Fire, The Crossing, Volti, BMI/Concert Artists Guild, Vocal Arts DC, New York Polyphony, The New York International Piano Competition, the JACK Quartet, and The New York Youth Symphony among others. Spears’ 21-movement solo piano cycle Seven Days was released in the form of a custom designed app produced by the 92Y in fall 2021. His latest opera Castor and Patience, written in collaboration with former U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, was commissioned by Cincinnati Opera for their 100th Anniversary and premiered in 2022. The opera, nominated for an International Opera Award, was a New York Times “Critic’s Pick.” They are currently writing a new opera for Santa Fe Opera (The Righteous) for premiere in Summer 2024.

www.gregoryspears.com

Photo Credit: Dario Acosta

Greg Pierce

Greg Pierce

Librettist

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Hometown: Shelburne, Vermont, USA

Greg Pierce is a playwright, librettist, and lyricist based in New York City.  He wrote the libretto for the opera The Hours with composer Kevin Puts, commissioned and produced by the Metropolitan Opera and The Philadelphia Orchestra.  He wrote the libretto for the opera Fellow Travelers with composer Gregory Spears, which premiered at Cincinnati Opera.  With composer Nico Muhly, he wrote the opera-film The Glitch, commissioned by Catapult Opera.  He has written two musicals with composer John Kander, The Landing and Kid Victory, which was co-produced by the Vineyard Theatre and Signature Theatre.  His play Slowgirl was the inaugural play of Lincoln Center’s Claire Tow Theater (LCT3).  His play Her Requiem, a Lincoln Center Theater commission, was also produced by LCT3.  His play Cardinal was commissioned and produced by Second Stage Theater.  The Quarry, written with composer Randal Pierce was commissioned and produced by Vermont Stage Company.  The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, co-written with director Stephen Earnhart, based on the novel by Haruki Murakami, premiered at the Edinburgh International Festival.  Greg has received fellowships from the Edward F. Albee Foundation, Yaddo, The Djerassi Institute, the New York Public Library, and the Baryshnikov Arts Center.  He has a B.A. from Oberlin College and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College.

Author & Original Commissioner

Thomas Mallon

Thomas Mallon

Author

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Thomas Mallon’s ten books of fiction include Henry and Clara, Fellow Travelers, Watergate (a Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award) and the just-published Landfall.  He has also written volumes of nonfiction about plagiarism (Stolen Words), diaries (A Book of One’s Own), letters (Yours Ever) and the Kennedy assassination (Mrs. Paine’s Garage), as well as two books of essays (Rockets and Rodeos and In Fact).  His work appears in The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review and other publications. Mallon received his Ph. D. in English and American Literature from Harvard University and taught for a number of years at Vassar College.  His honors include Guggenheim and Rockefeller fellowships, the National Book Critics Circle citation for reviewing, and the Vursell prize of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, for distinguished prose style.  He has been literary editor of Gentlemen’s Quarterly and deputy chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and in 2012 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  He is Professor Emeritus of English at The George Washington University and lives in Washington, D.C.

G. Sterling Zinmeyer

G. Sterling Zinmeyer

Original Commissioner

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G. Sterling Zinsmeyer is a veteran producer of films and stage productions.
His interest has been to tell the stories of our gay community. His film
production credits include The Deception, which premiered at the 2015
Santa Fe Film Festival, and Latter Days, which was released to wide acclaim
in 2004. Latter Days has since been selected by The Library of Congress to
be archived in their collection of important American films.

After reading Thomas Mallon’s novel Fellow Travelers, Mr Zinsmeyer enlisted
his friend Kevin Newbury to help him bring this story to the stage as a
chamber opera. Together they brought Gregory Spears and Greg Pierce
aboard as composer and librettist. The opera premiered in Cincinnati in 2016 to rapturous reviews, and was named by The New York Times as one of the ten best classical music events of that year. Mr Zinsmeyer is currently the Acting Director of the Center for Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe, NM.

Creative + Production

Jaymes Kirksey

Jaymes Kirksey

Guest Conductor

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Jaymes Kirksey Jr. made his conducting debut in 2014 with Young Musicians Choral Orchestra (YMCO), filling in for famed Los Angeles conductor musician Anthony Parnther, leading rehearsals in arias by Verdi, Donizetti, Mozart and Aaron Copeland’s Lincoln Portrait with narration by famed actor Delroy Lindo. He serves as Music Director for the Bay Area’s acclaimed Young Musician Choral Orchestra and frequent guest artist/conductor for Golden Gate Symphony.

A frequent guest soloist to orchestras, Kirksey brings with him versatility, precision, and an exciting stage presence. As a conductor and educator, he has created high quality musical interpretations ranging from Baroque to modern symphonic repertoire.

As a resident of the Bay Area, Kirksey strives to bridge gaps between societal norms for classical music and the presence of African American musicians on the concert stage. Many of his students of color often join him on stage and go off to receive training from many renowned artists and institutions including Curtis, Peabody, Juilliard, USC and others. Kirksey has performed in venues across Europe and the US and remains a steadfast performer in the Bay Area.

Brian Staufenbiel

Brian Staufenbiel

Stage/Creative Director

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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 WozzeckOrphéeChampion and Dead Man Walking. Most recently he finished the Cocteau Trilogy with Opera Parallèle’s acclaimed production of La Belle et la Bête, and the first fully immersive opera experience of Talbot and Scheer’s Everest.

On film Staufenbiel recently directed pieces for the online festival season of the Sun Valley Music Festival, a film of Dove/Angelis’ Flight for Seattle Opera, a graphic novel opera film of Talbot/Scheer’s Everest with Opera Parallèle, and a feature length film of Gordon Getty’s opera Goodbye, Mr. Chips. Upcoming film projects include a documentary about the life of Frederica von Stade with Paper Wings Films, and Out of the Darkness, a dance film about Japanese incarceration camps in the United States during World War II. Staufenbiel recently directed Golijov/Hwang’s Ainadamar at L’Opéra de Montréal which will be reprised at Victoria Opera next season. Other upcoming directing engagements include Das Rheingold for Seattle Opera and Calgary Opera and The Shining for Atlanta Opera.

Photo Credit: Cory Weaver.

Jacquelyn Scott

Jacquelyn Scott

Scenic & Props Designer

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Jacquelyn Scott works as a production designer, art director, scenic designer and props designer for theater and film across the Bay Area. Her work has been seen at American Conservatory Theater, San Francisco Playhouse, Magic Theatre, Shotgun Players, The Cutting Ball Theater, Word for Word, and Z Space. Past favorite credits include Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret and Nia Vardalos’ Tiny Beautiful Things at the SF Playhouse, Lloyd Suh’s The Chinese Lady at the Magic Theatre, Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabbler at The Cutting Ball Theater, and Talbot’s Everest with Opera Parallèle.

Y. Sharon Peng

Y. Sharon Peng

Costume & Hair and 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 ysharonpeng.net for more work across two decades.

Spense Matubang

Spense Matubang

Lighting Designer

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Hometown: Oakland, CA, USA

 

Spense Matubang is a freelance lighting and projections designer currently based in Oakland, California. They have been making theatre in the Bay Area since 2018. They received their degree in Theater Arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2020.

 

Spense uses their career as a never-ending outlet for exploration, creative experimentation, and community building. They have previously designed for The Chikahan Company, City Lights Theater Company, EnActe Arts, Town Hall Theater Company, Ferocious Lotus, New Conservatory Theatre Center, Shotgun Players, SF Playhouse, West Valley Light Opera, Crowded Fire, Hillbarn Theatre, ACT Youth Conservatory, and Jewel Theatre.

 

Photo credit Ash Brown

Nora Winsler*

Nora Winsler*

Assistant Stage Director & Intimacy Coordinator

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Nora Winsler is a director and choreographer based out of her 2004 Honda Accord. Winsler has worked on productions at The Atlanta Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, Opera Columbus, Virginia Opera, Opera North, and Des Moines Metro Opera. This past 2023-24 season, Nora joined The Atlanta Opera’s Glynn Studio Artist Program as a Stage Director. Last fall, Winsler directed a new production of Barber of Seville at The Virginia Opera. Upcoming engagements include two productions with The Dallas Opera in 2025.

*Making Opera Parallèle debut this season

View Orchestra List

Orchestra

Stacey Pelinka
Flute

Wentao Jiang
Oboe

Clayton Luckadoo
Clarinet/Bass Clarinet

Katie Lambert
Tenor Trombone

Jason Hebert
Trumpet

Keisuke Nakagoshi
Resident Pianist – Piano

Kate Stenberg
Concertmaster/ Violin 1

Ilana Blumberg Thomas
Violin 1

Bronwyn James
Violin 1

Evan Hjort 
Violin 2

Vita Yee
Violin 2

Ellen Rose
 Viola

Josh Choi
Viola

Vanessa Ruotolo
Violoncello

Constantine Janello
Violoncello

Vanessa Ruotolo
Violoncello

Zachary Iscoff
Contrabass

View Production Team

Production Team

Jaymes Kirksey
Guest Conductor

Brian Staufenbiel
Stage/Creative Director

Jacquelyn Scott
 Scenic & Props Designer

Y. Sharon Peng
Costume & Hair and Make-Up Designer

Spense Matubang
Lighting Designer

Nora Winsler*
Assistant Stage Director & Intimacy Coordinator

Jenise Catrone*
Stage Manager

Chase Kupperberg*
Assistant Stage Manager

Audrey Chandler
Supertitles Operator

Lily Bartone-Garcia
Production/Scenic Intern

View Creative Team

Creative Team

Gregory Spears
Composer

Greg Pierce
Librettist

Thomas Mallon
Author

G. Sterling Zinsmeyer
Original Commissioner

View OP Staff

OP Staff

Nicole Paiement
General & Artistic Director

Ruth Nott
Managing Director

Brian Staufenbiel
Creative Director

Daniel Harvey
Artistic Producer & Community Director

Eman Isadiar
Development Director

Francis Aviani
Marketing Director

Phil Lowery
Director of Production

Jacques Desjardins
Artistic Administrator

Brett Metzger
Finance Manager

Muskan Parashar
Development Associate

Jay Cruz
Marketing Associate

Jenna Toler
Administrative Assistant

Elizabeth Brodersen
Grant Writer

Jon Finck
Publicist

Michael Mohammad
Scholar in Residence

Keisuke Nakagoshi
Resident Pianist

Owen Klein
Artistic/Administrative Intern

Cast & Creative team of Opera Parallèle’s Fellow Travelers with Ron Nyswaner (Creator & Executive Producer of the ‘Fellow Travelers’ limited TV series – front left) and composer Gregory Spears (right)

Listen to clips of Ron Nyswaner (Creator & Executive Producer of the ‘Fellow Travelers’ limited TV series) and composer Gregory Spears discussing their adaptations of Thomas Mallon’s novel ‘Fellow Travelers’.

Supporters

Support for Fellow Travelers is provided in part by Gordon Getty, Philip Goward & Theodore Ueki, Stephen & Diane Heiman, Robert Ripps & Steven Spector, and Terri and Bob Ryan.

Used by arrangement with European American Music Distributors Company, sole U.S. and Canadian agent for Schott Helicon Music Corporation, New York, publisher and copyright owner.

Producer’s Circle

View Producer's Circle

Anderson Norby
Donna Dubinsky & Len Shustek
Bob Ellis
Gordon Getty
Corey Goodman & Marcia Barinaga
Philip Goward & Theodore Ueki
Dina Kuntz & Sherry Parker
Bernice Lindstrom
Scott Lord
Nicole Paiement & Brian Staufenbiel
Martha Peak Rochelle
Jerry Roth & Ray Jenks

Institutional Support

View Institutional and Corporate Sponsors

The Aaron Copland Fund, Adobe, Inc., 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
Helen Berggruen & Hilary Rand

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
Judy & Jeff Gough
Philip & Elayne Dauber
Dr. Marylene DelbourgDelphis
Simon Donovan & Monica Donovan
John Downey & Brad Hise
Savio D’Souza

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
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
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 Season and Individual Supporters

Season Supporters:
Annual Sponsors ($1,000+)
Vincanne Adams and John Norby
Martha Allday
Christopher Barefoot
The Beatrice Giving Fund
Lynn D. Berger
Helen Berggruen & Hilary Rand
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
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
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
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:
Karen Baumer
Lynn D. Berger
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
Bette & Joseph Hirsch
Jeffrey N. & Anne Marie Katz
Elsie Kelly
Harriet Lazer
Sylvia & Paul Lorton Jr.
Lynn MacDonald
Sue & Phil Marineau
Myron Marx & Cora Yang
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

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 June 17, 2024. If an error or omission is noted, please accept our sincere apologies and contact development@operaparallele.org with any updates.

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 June 17, 2024. If an error or omission is noted, please accept our sincere apologies and contact development@operaparallele.org 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.

www.operaparallele.org
info@operaparallele.org
(415) 626-6279

44 Page Street, Suite 400
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 2010 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 ramaytush.org

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

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

The Presidio Theatre is a modern performing arts center, originally built in 1939 by the U.S. Army with funding from the Works Progress Administration.

Presidio Theatre Staff

View Presidio Theatre Staff

Presidio Theatre Staff

Patty Ann Farrell
Technical Director

Jeff Gregory
Technical Director

Chris Kenney
Technical Director

Ben Krames
House Audio Engineer

Damon Pierson
Facilities Manager

Jono Clay
Box Office Manager

Terilyn Steverson
Social Media Manager

Jen Tait
Director of Operations and Community Relations

Alessandra Waste
Production Assistant

Presidio Theatre Mission Statement

View Mission Statement

Presidio Theatre Mission Statement

The mission of the Presidio Theatre is to ensure that the magic of live performance is accessible to the entire community. By reawakening an architectural jewel in the Presidio and creating a professionally run venue that reflects the rich diversity of the Bay Area, the Presidio Theatre encourages artists to grow and flourish.

Coming Up This Season & Next

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.