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A tragedy on the banks of the Seine

Puccini’s taut melodrama set in working-class Paris is a tale of infidelity and murder set on the banks of the Seine.

Giorgetta, the wife of Michele, a Parisian barge owner, has fallen in love with Luigi, one of her husband’s stevedores.  Michele’s growing suspicion and jealousy lead him to violent action.

As the story unfolds, Michele watches the stevedores finish their work for the day. As they walk past the barge, Giorgetta has a private conversation with Luigi, her lover. Giorgetta plans a secret meeting for late that night. Michele watches, but says nothing.

Later that evening, Luigi mistakes the light from Michele’s pipe as a sign from Giorgetta. As Luigi boards the barge, he encounters Michele.

When Giorgetta eventually reaches the barge, who does she find motionless under the cloak?

CAST (alphabetically)

Michael Belle Luigi, a stevedore and Giorgetta’s lover,
Richard Bogart Tinca, a drunken stevedore,
Emma Rosenthal Lover, a midinette
Kiril Havezov Talpa, stevedore, nicknamed ‘the mole’
Alix Jerenic  La Frugola, ‘the rummager’, Talpa’s wife
Eileen Meredith Giorgetta, the cause of all the commotion,
Alfredo Rodriguez        The Songseller
Michael Rogers  

Barge owner and Giorgetta’s husband

A comedy transplanted from 1813 Italy to 1986 Alameda

Rossini’s comic romp of a love story is updated to Alameda, California 1986.

Meet Mr. Bruschino Sr.; a successful if somewhat shady businessman.  He’s come to see his old friend Gaudenzio.

Gaudenzio, a once ambitious politician, (and one-time Alameda Mayoral candidate) he now lives a rather dazed ‘alternative lifestyle‘.  He’s also guardian to the lovely young Sofia.

Bruschino Sr. and Gaudenzio arrange for Sofia to marry Bruschino Jr; a coupling advantageous for their latest business scheme.

Well,  Bruschino Jr  is a party boy down to the bone and only interested in diversion 24/7.  Sofia finds him a bore.  She’s fallen head over heals for Florville.

Sofia and Florville hatch a hare-brained scheme to get Guadenzio’s permission to let them marry by passing off Florville as Bruschino Jr!

Confused yet?  Come and enjoy this non-stop comic Farce by Rossini!

CAST (alphabetically)

Kelly Britt Sophia, the apex of this confusing love triangle
Darron Flagg Florville, Sophia’s beloved
Kiril Havezov Gaudenzio, Sophia’s guardian, old hippy stoner and unsuccessful Berkeley mayoral candidate
Bojan Knezevic The eponymous Mr. Bruschino Sr., Gaudenzio’s old stoner buddy, now a successful and powerful businessman
Erin Neff Marianna, a maidservant and our English narrator for this evening’s escapades
Branislav Radakovic Filberto, an innkeeper
Alfredo Rodriguez        The hapless, playboy Bruschino Jr.

 

Director, Erin Neff – “Rossini meets the Marx Brothers”

Whenever I see a Rossini farce, I wish he were alive today so that I could call him when I am having a bad day and meet him and his librettist for drinks later.

He clearly understood the importance of laughter.  He has a wonderful way of acknowledging the complexity and subtlety of human nature, yet mocking everyone along the way for being human, and never, ever to be taken too seriously.  In the case of Il Signor Bruschino, now written 200 years ago, we see themes of parenthood, love, desire, marriage, and acceptance beautifully presented and consequently ridiculed.

I originally directed this show and co-conceptualized it with Allan Pollack at the Mendocino Music Festival.  In trying to be true to Rossini’s intention of this one act farce it is set in modern day where we combine the humor and physical comedy of the Marx Brothers with the musical genius of Gioachino Rossini

Bojan Knezevic stars as the eponymous Bruschino Senior in ICO’s production of Rossini’s Il Signor Bruschino (Or, The Accidental Son)

 

Former Adler Fellow and Merola alumnus Bojan Knezevic made his San Francisco Opera debut as Marquis D’Obigny (La Traviata) in 1995 and has since appeared with the Company in a number of roles, including Harašta (The Cunning Little Vixen), Dulcamara (L’Elisir d’Amore), and most recently as Haly (L’Italiana in Algeri).
 
Career highlights include Frosch (Die Fledermaus) with Lyric Opera of Chicago; Scarpia (Tosca) with Mississippi Opera; Benoit and Alcindoro (La Bohème) with Vancouver Opera; Enrico Ashton (Lucia di Lammermoor) with Opera Santa Barbara; the Four Villains (Les Contes d’Hoffmann) with Sacramento Opera and Fort Worth Opera; Narumov (The Queen of Spades) with the National Symphony (Washington D.C.); and the title role of Le Nozze di Figaro with the New National Theatre in Tokyo. 

Kelly Britt as Sophia in Rossini’s Il Signor Bruschino

Kelly Britt reprises her role as Sophia in Rossini’s comic romp of an opera, Il Signor Bruschino which she first performed at the Mendocino Music Festival.  Sofia and Florville (Darron Flagg) hatch a hare-brained scheme to get Guadenzio’s (Kiril Havezov) permission to let them marry by passing off Florville as Bruschino Jr!

Kelly has performed professionally since 2011.  She is equally at home with operatic reportoire (Donna Anna, Micaëla, First Lady) as well as American Musical Theatre (Maria in The Sound of Music, Maria in West Side Story, Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls).

Much more about Kelly’s repertoire can be found here.

Eileen Meredith stars as Giorgetta in ICO’s production of Puccini’s Il Tabarro

Eileen Meredith stars as Giorgetta, the pivotal figure in the fatal love-triangle at the heart of Puccini’s Il Tabarro (The Cloak).

Eileen most recently appeared in the eponymous role in ICO’s production of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, and is a member of the San Francisco Opera Chorus. 

 

 

Mike Rogers stars as Michele in Puccini’s tragedy Il Tabarro

Baritone Michael Rogers has had a 25-year career in the worlds of opera, oratorio and sacred concert music, beginning his career with the San Francisco Opera in 1989. He has performed prominent solo roles in Rigoletto, Carmen, Pagliacci, Tosca, La Forza del Destino, Un Ballo in Maschera, Acis and Galatea, Alcina, Undine, Le Villi and Stiffelio. He is a frequent oratorio soloist and has performed with oratorio and choral societies in the Bay Area and throughout California, incluidng the baritone solos in Orff’s Carmina Burana with the San Francisco Choral Society, and Charpentier’s Te Deum at the Grand Teton Music Festival in Jackson Hole, WY.

Kiril Havezov pulls double duty in Rossini’s Mr. Bruschino (The Accidental Son) and Puccini’s Il Tabarro (The Cloak)

Kiril Havezov makes his Island City Opera debut as Gaudenzio, in Il Signor Bruschino and Talpa in Il Tabarro. Kiril was most recently a resident artist with Opera San Jose.

Since 2007, Mr. Havezov has performed regularly with the Sofia National Opera, the Bulgarian National Music Theatre, as well as some of the largest opera theatres in Bulgaria. Roles performed recently include the Count (The Marriage of Figaro) with  Opera Art Lirica (touring in China), Zupan  (The Gypsy Baron), and Cascada inThe Merry Widow.  

He appeared as Gasparo in Rita with National Music Theater and performed the roles of Hermann in Les Contes d’Hoffmann and Sonora in La Fanciulla del West  with the National Opera and Ballet –both in Sofia, Bulgaria. For the State Opera of  Stara Zagora, he appeared as Sharpless (Madama Butterfly), and performed the roles of Belcore  (L’elisir d’Amore) and Selim Pasha (Die Entführung aus dem Serail) with State Opera of Ruse.

Alexandra Jerinic plays La Frugola in Puccin’s tragedy Il Tabarro (The Cloak)

Mezzo-soprano Alexandra Jerinic makes her Island City Opera debut as La Frugola in Il Tabarro.  Alexandra excels in the high lyric mezzo repertoire.

She was most recently seen as Matilde in Rossini’s Elisabetta, Regina di Inghilterra with West Edge Opera (FKA Berkeley Opera). She made her debut with California Opera Association with the role of Dorabella in their 2011 production of Così fan tutte and has been a regular performer with the company since. In 2010, she created the role of Mrs. Hale in the world premiere of Trifles, a one act opera produced by San Francisco Cabaret Opera and composed by John Bilotta with a libretto by John McGrew, adapted from Susan Glaspell’s play by the same name.

Alex’s other roles include Katisha in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado at the Great Dickens Christmas Fair, Albine in Massanet’s Thaïs with San Francisco Parlor Opera and the Housekeeper in Stefan Weissman’s contemporary opera Fade with San Francisco Cabaret Opera. She has also been seen as Mercedes in Carmen and Theresa in Bellini’s rarely performed La Sonnambula .

Michael Shahani conducts Tabarro/Bruschino

This is MICHAEL SHAHANI’s first production with Island City Opera.  He has conducted more than 350 performances of more than 70 different operas and musicals, as well as several orchestras and choirs in dozens of concerts.  He has conducted most of the City Summer Opera and City College of San Francisco’s productions since 1989 including Kurt Weill’s The Silverlake (U.S. premier), The Threepenny Opera (original version San Francisco premier), and Happy End (San Francisco premier), Ernst Bacon’s A Tree on the Plains (world premier), Britten’s Paul Bunyan (San Francisco premier), Sondheim’s Assassins (San Francisco premier), Robert X. Rodriguez’s Frida (West Coast premier), K. A. Hartmann’s Simplicius! (U.S. premier), and Gordon Getty’s Plump Jack (world premier complete staged version).

He founded the Moraga Chamber and Hesperian Ensemble orchestras.  He has conducted for Lyric Theatre of San Jose, Contra Costa Musical Theater for which he won a Shellie Award for Outstanding Musical Director, and has been a regular conductor for Verismo Opera, conducting fully staged productions of Rigoletto, Carmen, Madama Butterfly, Das Rheingold, Un Ballo in Maschera, La Boheme, and most notably, Die Walküre.  He conducts the City College of San Francisco Masterworks Chorale and the Cinnabar Singers in Petaluma.  He has been a guest conductor with the Varna Philharmonic, Pleven Philharmonic, and Rousse Philharmonic orchestras in Bulgaria, the China Film Philharmonic in Beijing, the Orquestra Sinfonica de Londrina in Brazil, and the San Francisco Concerto Orchestra.

Michael Belle stars as Luigi in Puccini’s Il Tabarro (The Cloak)

Michael Belle is a tenured member of the San Francisco Opera chorus. Michael made his Island City Opera debut earlier this season as Normanno, in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor.

Michael’s other recent credits include lead roles in Il barbiere di SivigliaLe nozze di FigaroDie Fledermaus,Die ZauberflöteRagtimeYeomen of the GuardH.M.S. PinaforeThe Grand DukeTreemonishaLa Cenerentola,FalstaffThe Merry Widow, and The Threepenny Opera, and in 2008 he debuted as a soloist in Porgy and Bess at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Michael currently teaches in San Francisco Opera Guild’s Opera à la Carte program.

 

 

Darron Flagg as Florville in Rossini’s Il Signor Bruschino

Darron Flagg makes his Island City Opera debut as Florville in ICO’s production of Rossini’s comic romp of an opera, Il Signor Bruschino.  Sofia and Florville hatch a hare-brained scheme to get Guadenzio’s (Kiril Havezov) permission to let them marry by passing off Florville as Bruschino Jr!

Darron’s celebrated performances of the treacherously difficult title role in Rossini’s comedic masterpiece Le Conte D’Ory as well as his portrayal of the Honorable Elijah Mohammed in a 2006 production of Anthony Davis’ “Life and Times of Malcolm X” have cemented his reputation in contemporary and bel canto roles.

Much more about Darron’s work can be found here.

Ellen St Thomas directs Il Tabarro

Ellen St. Thomas will direct Island City Opera’s production of Il Tabarro opening in March 2015 as one half of the double-bill Il Signor Bruschino and Il Tabarro.

Ellen also directed Virago Theatre’s production of Il Trovatore in January 2014.  Her contribution to that production was a critical part of the success of opera at Virago and the decision to spin off opera production to its own company.

Ellen is engaged in nearly every aspect of music and performance.  As an expressive lyric soprano, she has performed in concerts and shows across the Bay Area.  She has also lent her voice to cartoon characters for episodes of Madeline and Inspector Gadget for Dic Entertainment.  In addition to Il Trovatore for Virago Theatre, opera directing credits include La Boheme and Rachmoninoff’s Aleko for the Russian Center.  She is also a versatile producer with credits in TV/film and live performances.  Finally, she is a voice teacher at the Alameda School of Music, and has lead youth choruses in the Mountain View School District.

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