La Belle et la Bête
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.
- July 14, 2022 – 7:30pm
- July 15, 2022 – 7:30pm
- July 16, 2022 – 7:30pm
- July 17, 2022 – 3pm
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.
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
The Women behind Beauty and the Beast
Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve
Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont
Readings on Identity & Queer History
'Howard' - Disney+ Documentary on Howard Ashman
- A Queer Reading Of Beauty And The Beast
- A Gay “Beauty And The Beast”? Sorry, Disney, They Already Made It—In 1946: A Cinema Classic
- The Touching Tribute Behind Disney’s First Openly Gay Character: How the tragic death of a pioneering gay artist may have shaped the story of the new Beauty and the Beast
- Desire and Desirability in Villeneuve and Leprince de Beaumont’s “Beauty and the Beast”
'Beauty & the Beast' - Stevie Nicks
'Send me an Angel' - Real Life
'Beauty & the Beat' (Album) - Edan
'Beauty & the Beast' - Alec R. Costandinos
Cast & Creatives
La Bella - Soprano
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.
La Bête/Le Prince/Avenant - Baritone
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.
Félicie/Adelaïde - Mezzo-Soprano
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.
Le Père/Ludovic/L'Usurier - Baritone
Composer & Film Maker
Members of the MANA Saxophone Quartet
Artistic + Production
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 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.
Projection Designer & Director of Photography
Y. Sharon Peng
Wigs & Make Up Designer
Patricia Kristof Moy
French Diction Coach
Sound Designer & Programmer
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.