2021 | 2022 Season
Opera Parallèle presents
La Belle et la Bête
by Philip Glass
Libretto by the Composer
based on the film by Jean Cocteau
A surreal new take on a
timeless tale, fusing opera
& film live on stage.
Click the + symbol to read more
Creative Team & Musicians
Hadleigh Adams - 'La Bête / Le Prince' - 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.
Vanessa Becerra - 'La Belle' - 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.
Eugene Brancoveanu - 'Le Pére / L'Usurier' - Baritone
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.
Sophie Delphis - 'Felicíe / 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.
Philip Glass - Composer
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. Read more at philipglass.com/biography/
Jean Cocteau - Flim Maker
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.
Nicole Paiement - Conductor
Conductor, Nicole Paiement is widely acclaimed for her interpretations of contemporary operas. As Founder and Artistic Director of Opera Parallèle (OP) in San Francisco, Mo. Paiement has conducted many new productions, commissions and world premieres including Laura Kaminsky’s Today it Rains; John Harbison’s The Great Gatsby; Blanchard’s Champion; Dove’s Flight; Tarik O’Regan’s Heart of Darkness; Osvaldo Goljov’s Ainadamar and John Rea’s reorchestration of Wozzeck. Most recently Paiement conducted OP’s new film production Everest – A Graphic Novel Opera by Joby Talbot, a work she originally premiered on stage at The Dallas Opera. An active guest conductor, Mo. Paiement made her debut at Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2019 with Heggie’s Dead Man Walking and at Opéra de Montréal with the Canadian premiere of Benjamin’s Written on Skin in 2020. Other guest conducting engagements have brought her to Fort Worth Symphony, Atlanta Opera, Washington National Opera, Seattle Opera, Glimmerglass Festival, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Monterey Jazz Festival, and the Hollywood Bowl. Upcoming engagements include a concert performance with the Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana in January 2022, followed by her UK premiere in November 2022 at the English National Opera. Paiement will return to London in June 2023 to conduct Talbot’s Everest with the BBC Symphony at the Barbican Center. Mo. Paiement will also return to the Dallas Opera, where she is Principal Guest Conductor in April 2022 and to Opéra de Montréal in 2023. In addition to being a leader in contemporary opera, Paiement is also a specialist in early 20th Century French music and regularly conducts music from the Baroque and Classical repertoire.
Brian Staufenbiel - Director
As Creative Director and Stage Director for Opera Parallèle, Brian Staufenbiel has directed and spearheaded the conceptual designs of the company’s productions since its founding in 2010. Specializing in multimedia, immersive, and interdisciplinary productions, he actively works across a wide range of artistic disciplines collaborating with film and 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 Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, Glass’ Orphée and Les Enfant Terribles, Golijov’s Ainadamar, Berg’s Wozzeck, Davies’ The Lighthouse, Blanchard’s Champion and Dove’s Flight. Mr. Staufenbiel ‘s recent productions include Elektra with Minnesota Opera, a new film of Dove’s Flight with Seattle Opera, and productions for the online festival season of the Sun Valley Music Festival. His 2016 production of Das Rheingold with Minnesota Opera was named a Star Tribune Classical Music pick of the decade and was reprised at Arizona Opera and at L’Opéra de Montréal. Upcoming projects include the creation of a new work for Fort Worth Opera, and directing a documentary about the life of Frederica Von Stade with Paper Wings Films.
Jacques Desjardins - Assistant Conductor
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 - Assistant Director
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.
Jamie Fuller - Stage Manager
Jamie K. Fuller is a freelance stage manager of opera, theater, dance, and events. Originally from Henry, IL, Jamie earned her MFA in Stage Management from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Favorite stage management credits include Elektra (Minnesota Opera), Peter and the Starcatcher (Illinois Shakespeare Festival), and The Nutcracker (Champaign-Urbana Ballet). www.jamiekfuller.com
David Murakami - Projection Designer & Director of Photography
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. www.davidmurakami.com
Natalie Barshow - Costume Designer
Y. Sharon Peng - Wig & Make Up Designer
Mextly Couzin - Lighting Designer
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.
MANA Saxophone Quartet
Called a “groundbreaking ensemble” by the Los Angeles Chronicle, the MANA Quartet has repeatedly won high praise from today’s leading composers, noted as “vigorous and accomplished…deserving every success” and “beautifully balanced…a new bright light in the world of chamber music” by Pulitzer Prize winners Charles Wuorinen and Ellen Taafe Zwilich. Championed as “Saxophone Ambassadors” by Chamber Music Magazine, MANA embodies its namesake as a force advocating for the saxophone in classical music. Read more at themanaquartet.com/about/
Keisuke Nakagoshi - OP Resident Pianist & Keyboard 1
Keisuke Nakagoshi began his piano studies at the age of ten, arriving in the United States from Japan at the age of 18. Mr. Nakagoshi earned his Bachelor’s degree in Composition and Master’s degree in Chamber Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he studied composition with David Conte and piano with Paul Hersh. Graduating as the recipient of multiple top awards, Keisuke was selected to represent the SFCM for the Kennedy Center’s Conservatory Project, a program featuring young musicians from major conservatories across the United States. Read more at zofoduet.com/keisuke
Kevin Korth - Keyboard 2
Taylor Chan - Keyboard 3
Taylor Chan holds an M.M. in Collaborative Piano from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she is currently a staff accompanist and coach/repetiteur. Her favorite past performances include: the full-length version premiere of Mortal Lessons (2018), a medical oratorio by Ryan Brown (b. 1979); Meredith Monk’s Ellis Island, with pianist Kate Campbell, in a side-by-side concert between SFCM and San Francisco Contemporary Music Players (2018); Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians at the 2019 Hot Air Music Festival; and Cycles of Resistance (2022), an art song recital which premiered international works commissioned during lockdown by coloratura and operatic activist Chelsea Hollow, founder of Concert Rebels.
Taylor is always looking for novel interdisciplinary collaborative creative experiences. Her other interests include the physics and pedagogy of piano technique, interpersonal psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, writing, design, and visual art.
Kjell Nordeson - Percussion
Kjell Nordeson is a Swedish percussionist and drummer living in San Francisco. He studied percussion for Steve Schick at UC San Diego, where he earned a Ph.D. in music. Nordeson has worked as a musician and composer in theatre performances at Sweden’s Dramaten (The Swedish Royal Dramatic Theater), Riksteatern (The Swedish National Theater), and Stockholm’s Stadsteater (The Stockholm City Theater). He has toured extensively in Europe, North America, North Africa, and Japan, performing over 1200 concerts and performances in around 30 countries, and recorded over 50 CDs.