La Belle et la Bête

by Philip Glass | Libretto by the Composer | Based on the film by Jean Cocteau | Running Time: 90 mins with no intermission – performed in French with English subtitles.

A new presentation of the classic fairytale La Belle et la Bête blurs the boundaries of film and opera, fusing Jean Cocteau’s 1946 film with a powerful and arresting score by Philip Glass, thus honoring two of the great artistic minds of modern times. With this production Opera Parallèle will become the first company to present performances of all three operas Glass wrote in homage to Cocteau, having performed Orphée in 2011 and Les Enfants Terribles in 2017. OP is thrilled to complete the trilogy in celebration of Philip Glass’ 85th Birthday in 2022.

Performances

  • July 14, 2022 – 7:30pm
  • July 15, 2022 – 7:30pm
  • July 16, 2022 – 7:30pm
  • July 17, 2022 – 3pm

Venue

Once upon a time, in a world of magic and wonder, the true love of a beautiful girl finally dispelled the torment of a feral but gentle-hearted beast. Jean Cocteau’s sublime adaptation of Mme. Leprince de Beaumont’s fairy-tale masterpiece is a landmark of motion picture fantasy, with unforgettably romantic performances by Jean Marais and Josette Day. By transforming the characters of both the Beast and Belle from childlike figures to complex adult characters living in a surrealistic dream world, Cocteau transforms the tale into a surreal vision of death and desire while exploring themes that continue to resonate today—identity, compassion, and inner beauty. This timeless icon of cinematic wonder served as the inspiration for Philip Glass’ 1994 opera of the same name.

EnhanceYour Experience

These resources are to enhance your experience of La Belle et la Bête. Different versions of the fairy tale exist across different cultures, but the version best known in western traditions was first written in 1740 as a comment on the place of women in European society. Since then, the magical tale of a woman who promises herself as bride to the monster has inspired a diverse range of creators.

Panel Conversation

A Tale as Old as Time: Exploring Queer History and Identity Through Beauty and the Beast

From ‘the first gay character’ in a Disney movie in 2017 to Jean Cocteau’s relationship with his leading man Jean Marais (pictured right) in 1946 to Howard Ashman writing his timeless songs while dying of AIDS in the 90’s, Beauty & the Beast has a deep Queer history. Using the classic tale as a leaping point, Opera Parallèle and The Academy SF bring together an exciting and surprising panel to explore the themes of identity and perceptions of beauty in the LGBTQ+ community and beyond.

  • Date: June 29, 2022,  6:30pm – 8pm
  • Venue: The Academy SF, 2166 Market St, San Francisco
  • Moderator: Michael ‘Mojo’ Mohammed
  • Panellists: Dr. Ellie Zara Ley, Hadleigh Adams – Baritone,Prof. Nicholas L. Baham, III , Ph.D.

Source Material – Films

Original Story

Readings on Identity & Queer History

Popular Music

'Beauty & the Beast' - Stevie Nicks

'Send me an Angel' - Real Life

'Beauty & the Beat' (Album) - Edan

'Beauty & the Beast' - Alec R. Costandinos

Cast & Creatives

Cast

Vanessa Becerra

Vanessa Becerra

La Bella - Soprano

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Peruvian & Mexican American Soprano Vanessa Becerra begins the 21/22 season with a role/house debut at Intermountain Opera Bozeman for Il barbiere di Siviglia (Rosina), a return to Washington National Opera for Sankaram’s Rise (Alicia Hernández), part of the world premiere tetralogy Written in Stone, and debuts with Austin Opera for Fidelio (Marzelline) and Opera Parallèle for La Belle et la Bête (Belle). In Concert, she will debut with Minnesota Opera for Opera in the Outfield and return to Fort Worth Opera for Entre Amigos.

Hadleigh Adams

Hadleigh Adams

La Bête/Le Prince/Avenant - Baritone

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

Sophie Delphis

Sophie Delphis

Félicie/Adelaïde - Mezzo-Soprano

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Franco-American mezzo-soprano Sophie Delphis’ operatic roles include: Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro), Giunone (La Calisto), Carmen and Mercédès (Carmen), Flora (La Traviata), Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Marla Maples (The Drumf and the Rhinegold, premiere), Cenerentola and Tisbe (La Cenerentola), Concepción (L’heure espagnole), Hansel, (Hansel and Gretel) and Elle (La voix humaine). An avid recitalist, Sophie regularly produces programs for musical and cultural organizations in the United States and China. Recent and upcoming works include: Ravel’s Chansons madécasses and Trois poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé, Bolcom’s Cabaret Songs, Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire and Das Buch der Hängenden Gärten and Messiaen’s Harawi. Along with classical repertoire, she enjoys collaborating with composers, improvisers and theater artists on new works. She is a soloist on the Grammy Award-nominated Naxos recording of Milhaud’s Oresteia trilogy. She currently resides in New York City, where she is pursuing a doctoral degree in voice performance at the Graduate Center CUNY.

Eugene Brancoveanu

Eugene Brancoveanu

Le Père/Ludovic/L'Usurier - Baritone

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Romanian baritone Eugene Brancoveanu won the Tony Award for his portrayal as Marcello in Baz Luhrmann’s production of Puccini’s La Bohème on Broadway. He also was an Adler Fellow with San Francisco Opera and is currently in his 3rd year as resident at Opera San Jose. La Belle et la Bête marks the 7th collaboration for him and Opera Parallèle.His vast operatic repertoire has taken him all over the world in leading roles in the lyric as well as dramatic repertoire. His European roots introduced him early to the German Lieder culture. He has been the featured artist in many prestigious recital festivals, such as the Schwabacher recital series and the young masters series. As a champion of new and modern music he has recently recorded the title role in Shostakovich’s Orango under the baton of E P Salonen, directed by Peter Sellars and has been published by Deutsche Grammophon.

Composer & Film Maker

Philip Glass

Philip Glass

Composer

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Through his operas, his symphonies, his compositions for his own ensemble, and his wide-ranging collaborations with artists ranging from Twyla Tharp to Allen Ginsberg, Leonard Cohen to David Bowie, Philip Glass has had an extraordinary and unprecedented impact upon the musical and intellectual life of his times. The operas – “Einstein on the Beach,” “Satyagraha,” “Akhnaten,” and “The Voyage,” among many others – play throughout the world’s leading houses, and rarely to an empty seat. Glass has written music for experimental theater and for Academy Award-winning motion pictures such as “The Hours” and Martin Scorsese’s “Kundun,” while “Koyaanisqatsi,” his initial filmic landscape with Godfrey Reggio and the Philip Glass Ensemble, may be the most radical and influential mating of sound and vision since “Fantasia.” His associations, personal and professional, with leading rock, pop and world music artists date back to the 1960s, including the beginning of his collaborative relationship with artist Robert Wilson. Indeed, Glass is the first composer to win a wide, multi-generational audience in the opera house, the concert hall, the dance world, in film and in popular music – simultaneously.
Jean Cocteau

Jean Cocteau

Film Maker

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Jean Cocteau was an enormously influential French artist and writer known as one of the major figures of Dada and Surrealism. With an oeuvre that spanned painting, novels, poetry, plays, and films, Cocteau established himself as a leading creative force in Paris. A regular member of the avant-garde, he maintained long-term friendships with artists such as Pablo Picasso, Tristan Tzara, Francis Picabia, and Man Ray. “The job of the poet (a job which can’t be learned) consists of placing those objects of the visible world which have become invisible due to the glue of habit, in an unusual position which strikes the soul and gives them a tragic force,” he once mused. Born on July 5, 1889 in Maisons-Laffitte, France, the self-taught Cocteau would regularly draw his friends and acquaintances in a distinctive, fluid style informed by his interests in Cubism, psychoanalysis, and Catholicism. “Poets don’t draw,” he once quipped about his artworks. “They unravel their handwriting and then tie it up again, but differently.” Among his best-known works is the novel Les Enfants Terribles (1929) and his critically acclaimed films le Sang d’un poète (Blood of a Poet) (1930), La Belle et la Bête (Beauty and the Beast) (1946), and Orphée (Orpheus) (1949). Cocteau died on October 11, 1963 at the age of 74 in Milly-la-Foret, France. Today, his works are included in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, among others.

Musicians

Members of the MANA Saxophone Quartet

Keisuke Nakagoshi

Keyboard

Kevin Korth

Keyboard

Taylor Chan

Keyboard

Kjell Nordeson

Percussion

Artistic + Production

Nicole Paiement

Nicole Paiement

Conductor

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Conductor, Nicole Paiement is the Founder and General & Artistic Director of Opera Parallèle (OP). Recently for OP, Paiement conducted Glass’ La Belle et la Bête and Everest: An Immersive Experience by Talbot, a work she originally premiered on stage at The Dallas Opera, where she is Principal Guest Conductor. An active guest conductor, Paiement has performed with companies including the Washington National Opera, Seattle Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and The Atlanta Opera. In 2020 Paiement made her debut with L’Opéra de Montréal with Benjamin’s Written on Skin, returning in 2023 to conduct Golijov’s Ainadamar. This season Paiement also made her UK debut with the English National Opera conducting Heggie’s It’s a Wonderful Life, and conducted a series of concerts with the Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana in Palermo, Italy. Upcoming engagements include a return to London to conduct Talbot’s Everest with the BBC Symphony at the Barbican Center. The 2023/2024 season will include 2 world premieres with OP, a return to The Dallas Opera, followed by a debut with the Volksoper Vienna conducting both a symphonic concert and an opera by John Adams. Photo Credit: Cory Weaver

Brian Staufenbiel

Brian Staufenbiel

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 Wozzeck, Orphée, Champion 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.

David Murakami

David Murakami

Projection Designer & Director of Photography

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David Murakami is a projection designer and film director focused on the union between the cinematic and theatrical. Past designs include Opera Parallèle’s Everest, Dead Man Walking, Champion, Flight, Les Enfants Terribles, and Little Prince; Minnesota Opera’s Das Rheingold and Elektra; Sun Valley Summer Symphony’s Daphnis et Chloé, the American premieres of Anya 17 and Heart of Darkness; and the world premieres of Luis Valdez’ Valley of the Heart and Jake Heggie’s Out of Darkness. Other companies include Opéra de Montréal, San Jose Repertory Theater, Skylight Theatre, SFJazz, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Arizona Opera, and LA Opera. Recent credits include the revival of Zoot Suit at the Mark Taper Forum, the sci-fi musical revue “5-SK1-E-S” aboard Princess Cruises, Singin’ in the Rain with McCoy Rigby, and Gordon Getty’s Scare Pair at the Kaye Playhouse in New York. David also teaches projection design at the University of California, Irvine.
Natalie Barshow

Natalie Barshow

Costume Designer

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Natalie Barshow is a costume designer for Theatre and Film, whose credits include: Twelfth Night (SD Rep); In the Red and Brown Water, Orestes 2.0, Letters From Cuba, An Iliad, The Underground, Monster (UCSD); Calafia at Liberty (WOW ’19); Bondage (Alter Theatre); The Jungle Book (MTC); What we carry what we keep, Path of Miracles, News of the World, One Long Breath, Gifts of Solace (ODC/Dance). Assistant credits: Mirrorflores (MAW) Shakespeare: Call and Response (Old Globe); War of the Roses, Everybody, Quixote Nuevo, As You Like It, black odyssey (Cal Shakes). Natalie is also a media artist whose work explores embodiment and identity through clothing, fabric, projections, and animation. Natalie is a recent graduate of University of California, San Diego and holds their MFA in Costume Design.
Y. Sharon Peng

Y. Sharon Peng

Wigs & Make Up Designer

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Y. Sharon Peng is pleased to be joining Opera Parallele for the first time. A member of IATSE 706, her works range from stage to editorial to film & television. She is head of Wigs & Makeup at Opera San José and a foreperson at San Francisco Opera. Recent stage productions include Mozart & Salieri (Opera San José), Allegiance (Palo Alto Players), and Shout! the Musical (South Bay Musical Theatre)
Mextly Couzin

Mextly Couzin

Conductor

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Mextly Couzin is a Mexican Lighting Designer based in New York and Los Angeles. Credits include working for, NYC: Clubbed Thumb, Atlantic Theatre Company, Regionally: The Old Globe, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, San Diego Symphony, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, Kansas City Repertory Theatre. She holds a Pure Mathematics Bachelor’s degree from UC, San Diego and an MFA in Lighting Design also from UCSD.
Jacques Desjardins

Jacques Desjardins

Assistant Conductor

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

Erin Neff

Assistant Director

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Erin Neff is delighted to be back working with Opera Parallèle. She has worked with OP as both singer and assistant director. She has been singing in the San Francisco Opera Chorus for the last 26 seasons. Neff has an active private voice studio as well as teaching voice in academia, most recently at Urban High School and San Francisco State University. She does collaborative work with visual artists making multi-media installations in galleries, museums, and public spaces. As a stage director, she has worked with many Bay Area companies including the San Francisco Opera Center in 2017.
Tony Shayne

Tony Shayne

Production Manager

Patricia Kristof Moy

French Diction Coach

Sam Clevenger

VFX Artist

Jay Cruz

Sound Designer & Programmer

Supporters

Major support for La Belle et la Bête has been provided by Gordon Getty, Stephen & Diane Heiman, and Horizons Foundation, with support from the Hulisch-Flechtheim Fund, Future Fund, Dillonwood Arts, and Anne Sterling Dorman LGBT Fund. Additional support has been provided by Elizabeth McMillan & George Varian, Susan & Mark Geyer, and Producers Circle members Donna Dubinsky & Len Shustek.

Major institutional and corporate support for Opera Parallèle has been provided by Adobe, The Lemala Fund, National Endowment for the Arts, City & County of San Francisco Grants for the Arts, and The Shenson Foundation.

The Bullhorn: Amplifying Unheard Voices received funding from a Civic Practice Grant from OPERA America’s Opera Fund.