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Island City Opera Performs La Sonnambula

By Vincenzo Bellini


Preview:  Wednesday, March 7 at 7:30pm

Opening Night: Friday, March 9 at 7:30pm

Matinee:  Sunday, March 11 at 2:00pm

Evening: Friday, March 16 at 7:30pm

Matinee: Sunday, March 18 at 2:00pm

Island City Opera will present five performances of a “La Sonnambulaby Vincenzo Bellini, March 7-18, at the Alameda Elks Lodge Ballroom, 2255 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda, CA.  Island City Opera’s singers, chorus, and dancers will be supported by an 18-piece orchestra under the direction of Music Director Jonathan Khuner. Stage direction by Olivia Stapp.  The opera is staged, costumed and sung in its original Italian with English supertitles.

BACKGROUND:  Vincenzo Bellini was a young man, not yet 30, when he composed La Sonnambula in 1831.  He was certainly not a happy-go-lucky fellow when it came to choosing his operatic subject matter. His works were built around betrayal, backstabbing, heartbreak and graphic deaths. His protagonists were typically poisoned, stabbed, or immolated. Then there’s La Sonnambula.

In La Sonnambula, set in a sweet Tyrolean village, our heroine is discovered in the wrong man’s bed.  How did she get there?  Sleepwalking.  Does she meet the usual grisly, Bellini-esque fate?  No.  In fact, in the end, she gets the guy (though, he’s not that great a catch.)

When Bellini wrote La Sonnambula, he was trying to placate some persnickety Italian censors who had just squashed his setting of Ernani, a Victor Hugo story containing the usual dose of swordplay, assassination, suicide and poison.  So, Bellini turned to a tale so innocent that no one could object.

The innocence of its sentiment is the perfect complement to the inspired purity of Bellini’s melodic style.  Though, the cast of small-town characters surrounding Amina is not so innocent, each portraying in their own way, jealousy, envy, lust, hubris, and a certain tendency toward social climbing,   Our own Elks Lodge Ballroom is the perfect setting to image yourself transported to an opera hall in small town Italy in the middle of the 19th Century.

The opera will be sung in its original Italian with English supertitles

Cast:  Eileen Meredith and Sergio Gonzalez portray Amina and Elvino, the not-quite perfect couple.  Aimee Puentes is Lisa the jealous Innkeeper. Distinguished baritone Anders Froehlich sings Count Rodolfo, the mysterious newcomer.  Don Hoffman is Alessio, carrying a torch for LIsa.  Debra Rosengaus is Teresa, Amina’s slightly conniving adoptive mother.  A large chorus and dance troupe portray a collection of townies, tourists, end-of-season skiers and various untrustworthy characters.

Stage Director: World renowned Diva, Olivia Stapp, is thrilled to direct this production of La Sonnambula with Island City Opera. This is her fourth directing engagement for ICO.  

First engaged professionally at the age of 24 in the Berlin Deutsche opera, she became one of the world’s major dramatic sopranos singing Prima Donna roles in all the leading opera houses. Her challenging repertoire extended from early Italian bel canto works of Bellini and Donizetti to Puccini, Verdi, Wagner, Strauss and contemporary composers. She has been leading lady to many of the greats such as Domingo, Ramey, and many others.

All of us at Island City Opera are honored to be working with Olivia.

Music Director: Jonathan Khuner’s career spans over thirty years; Musical Director of West Edge Opera,  and, assistant conductor at the San Francisco Opera, and, the Metropolitan Opera, as well as, the musical staff of Chicago’s Lyric Opera.  

In 2016, Jonathan was co-Music Director for Island City Opera’s La Boheme, and, Rigoletto.  In 2013 he conducted the first Wagner opera ever performed in the nation of Albania: Tannhӓuser, at the National Theater in Tirana, and the Wagner Mini-Ring at Minnesota Concert Opera.

We are honored to be working with Jonathan again.


Wednesday Preview, March 7 at 7:30PM

Friday Opening Night, March 9 at 7:30PM

Sunday Matinee, March 11 at 2:00PM

Friday Night, Friday, March 16 at 7:30PM

Sunday Matinee, March 18 at 2:00PM


You are invited to join our lecturer, music critic Jeff Dunn, for a free pre-opera lecture held one hour prior to curtain before each performance.


All performances are held at the Alameda Elks Lodge Ballroom, 2255 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda CA.  This intimate setting seats up to 200 and offers warm acoustics and clear sight lines.


Who: Island City Opera

What: Vincenzo Bellini’s, “La Sonnambula”

Where: Alameda Elks Lodge Ballroom, 2255 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda, CA

Why: Top quality performance at an affordable price

Ticket Prices: Preview Night:  General Admission, $40 adult, $36 senior, $10 student, free for children 12 and under.  Discount Season Passes available.

Ticket Purchase: online at or box office at (510) 263-8060. For special needs contact

Special Seating:  Promotore Table Seating and Café Seating are available at $60 for all ages, with wine and appetizers included.  Please contact the box office for special arrangements.