Federal Tax ID: 46-5133609

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Aspiring poet and fragile seamstress in love crash into harsh reality

Island City Opera presents Giacomo Puccini’s most beloved opera, La Boheme.  La Boheme will be sung in Italian with English super-titles.  One preview, March 2, 2016 and four performances March 4, 6, 11 and 13, 2016 are scheduled.  All performances will be held at the Alameda Elks Lodge Ballroom, 2255 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda CA.

Tickets are on sale online and through the Box Office at (510) 263-8060.

Honest, soulful and beautiful.  La Boheme may be the world’s most renowned opera.  The familiar tale of exuberant young bohemians in 19th-century Paris defines romance and their poverty and sad fate exemplify the most touching tragedy

Performance Schedule

Special Preview Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at 7:30PM, Preview Price $25,

Opening Night Friday, March 4, at 7:30PM, General Admission $35, Table Seats $55 (Table Seats are Sold out)

Sunday Matinee, Sunday March 6, at 2:00PM, General Admission $35

Friday Date Night, Friday, March 11, at 7:30PM, General Admission $35, Table Seats $55 (Table Seats are Sold out)

Closing Matinee, Sunday March 13, 2016 at 2:00PM, General Admission $35


All performances are held at the Alameda Elks Lodge Ballroom, 2255 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda CA

Anchor Society Lectures

Island City Opera’s Anchor Society invites you to join them for the Anchor Society Lectures held one hour prior to the curtain.

Creative Team

Directed by Ellen St. Thomas, Conducted by Robert Ashens and Jonathan Khuner, Lighting by Elle Ghini, Costumes by Joy Graham.


Alex BoyerRodolfo, a poettenor  
Eileen Meredith & Erina NewkirkMimi, a seamstresssoprano
Igor Vieira Marcello, a painterbaritone
Julia Hunt NielsenMusettasoprano
Kiril HavezovSchaunard, a musicianbaritone
Don HoffmanColline, a philosopherbass
Wayne WongBenoit, landlord and Alcindoro, state councillor   bass
Taylor ThompsonPrune Vendor & Parpignoletenor
Bruce KnopfCustoms Officerbass



Carol Copperud, Donatella Bettinelli, Holly Staten, Allison Melendez, Marion Ponte, Sili Gao, Erina Newkirk, Kathy Moehring, Joy Graham, Sarah Sophia Pun, Katherine Hamilton, Bruce Knopf, Shawn Niles, Robert Boyd, Michael Stevens, Hank Smith, Taylor Thompson,


ELLEN ST THOMAS directs La Boheme

Ellen St. Thomas directs Island City Opera’ 2016 production of La Boheme.  Ellen also sang the role of Giovanna in Rigoletto, Gilda’s housekeeper, confidante and truest friend…but everyone has a price.

Ellen is an Island City Opera co-founder who performs, directs and produces opera.  Ellen is assistant director for Rigoletto and director for this year’s production of La Boheme.  Ellen directed last years Puccini opera-noir, Il Tabarro.  Ellen also directed Virago Theatre’s production of Il Trovatore in January 2014.

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.


ROBERT ASHENS, Co-Music Director of La Boheme

ROBERT ASHENS, Co-Conductor, LA BOHÈME (March 4th and 6th). Robert is Artistic Director and co-founder of West Coast Opera (Opera Oregon) and is past General and Artistic Director of Anchorage Opera and past Artistic Director of both Eugene Opera and Opera San Luis Obispo. His distinguished career as pianist and conductor brought him to many world capitals, including London, Paris, Glasgow, Vienna, Innsbruck, Florence and Rimini. In the northeast he toured opera programs for over 30 years, with as many as 100 performances a year. He prepared and conducted many of today’s stars who now grace the major opera houses, such as Ruth Anne Swenson, Mary Dunleavy, Nathan Gunn, Eduardo Villa, Mark Rucker and Victoria Livengood, while performing with established stars Mignon Dunn, Paul Plishka, Louis Otey, Marcello Giordani, Lucine Amara, James King, Rosalind Elias, Placido Domingo, and Luciano Pavarotti. Outside of the Opera realm he conducted great instrumentalists: Ruggiero Ricci, Nathan Milstein, Yehudi Menuhin and Scott Nickrenz. In theBroadway world, Mo. Ashens has prepared and conducted many stars of the last 20 years. The Maestro also conducts ballet and symphonic works with companies internationally. Locally he has conducted La Traviata and Il Trovatore for Virago, and Lucia Di Lammermoor for Island City Opera.

JONATHAN KHUNER, La Boheme Co-Music Director

Island City Opera announced that Jonathan Khuner will be the Co-Music Director, along with Robert Ashens, of Island City Opera’s production of La Boheme in March 2016. Jonathan will conduct the March 11th and 13th performances.  Jonathan has conducted many versions of La Boheme, most recently West Edge Opera’s production staged in a library.

Jonathan is a Bay Area classical music fixture; Musical Director of West Edge Opera, as well as assistant conductor and prompter at San Francisco Opera and the Metropolitan Opera.

Jonathan resides in Berkeley, but works at the major opera companies across the USA. He has been Musical Director of (Berkeley) West Edge Opera in the East Bay since 1985, and was its artistic director between 1994 and 2009. He has led over seventy productions there including, most recently, a spectacular production of Alban Berg’s Lulu in the abandoned train station in West Oakland.

His main posts are as Assistant Conductor and prompter for San Francisco Opera (since 1981), the Metropolitan Opera (since 1997), and the Lyric Opera of Chicago (since 1995). In 1996 he was also the prompter for the Ring Cycle at the Bayreuther Festspiele.

In the Wagner bicentennial year 2013, he conducted a mini-Ring-Cycle for Minnesota Concert Opera, and also the nation of Albania’s first ever Wagner production – Tannhäuser, at their National Opera in Tirana.

Mr. Khuner conducted three operas at the New Israeli Opera, Tel Aviv while he was Resident Assistant Conductor there in 1992-93.
He is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, and earned degrees from U.C. Berkeley in Mathematics and Musicology.



ALEXANDER BOYER sings Rodolfo, the poet

Alexander Boyer will sing the role of Rodolfo in Island City Opera’s production of Puccini’s beloved La Boheme featuring some of the most beautiful, romantic duets of 20th century music.

Alex performed the role of the heroic Edgardo Ravenswood in Island City Opera’s inaugural season production of Lucia di Lammermoor.   In 2014, Alex sang Manrico in Island City Opera’s predecessor organization Virago Theatre’s production of Il Trovatore.

During his residency at Opera San José, Alexander Boyer performed the roles of Nadir (The Pearl Fishers), Eisenstein (Die Fledermaus), Manrico (Il trovatore), Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi),the title role in the company premiere of Mozart’s Idomeneo, Canio (Pagliacci), Alfredo (La traviata) and the title role in Faust. Other roles performed for the company included Konstantin Levin (Anna Karenina), Mario Cavaradossi (Tosca) and Rodolfo(La bohème.) Previous seasons have featured Mr. Boyer as Des Grieux (Manon), Ruggero (La rondine), Nemorino (The Elixir of Love), Ferrando (Così fan tutte), and Don José (Carmen).  

Alex is a 2007 graduate of San Francisco Opera’s Merola program, and, artist with the Santa Fe Opera program, and, is a winner of the Mario Lanza scholarship award.

A New York native, Mr. Boyer holds degrees from Boston University and Manhattan School of Music. He has sung the roles Arkady in Lee Hoiby’s A Month in the Country, the Chevalier de la Force (Dialogues des Carmelites), Alfredo (La traviata), and Luigi (Il tabarro).


IGOR VIEIRA portrays the role of MARCELLO, the painter

Igor Vieira makes his debut with Island City Opera as Marcello, the painter, in the quartet of bohemian friends.

Hailed by Opera News as “superb,” and “show-stealing,” Brazilian-American baritone Igor Vieira made his professional debut at age 17 singing the role of Dancaïro in Bizet’s Carmen. Subsequent roles have included the title roles in Don Giovanni, Pelleas et Melisande and Il Barbiere di Siviglia, as well as Ford in Falstaff, Tonio in I Pagliacci, Germont in La Traviata, and most recently Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro in a triumphant debut at the Solis Theater in Montevideo – Uruguay.

Mr. Vieira has sung 83 operatic roles with such companies as the San Francisco Opera, the Theatro Municipal of Rio de Janeiro, Sacramento Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Fresno Grand Opera, Teatro Barakaldo (Spain), Opera du Villecroze (France) and Lyric Opera of Kansas City to name a few. He was world finalist of the 1995 Luciano Pavarotti Voice Competition in Philadelphia, and can be seen as Gubetta in the video of the San Francisco Opera production of Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia released by the Euroarts label, next to Renee Fleming.


KIRIL HAVEZOV sings the role of Schaunard, the musician

Kiril will sing the role of Schanaurd. the musician, in the quartet of bohemian friends, in Island City Opera’s production of Puccini’s beloved La Boheme opening March 4 22, 2016.

“Kiril Havezov makes a brief but positive impression as the wronged Count of Monterone, thanks to his forceful presence and powerful wall-of-sound voice.” – says SFCV of the 2015 West Bay Opera Rigoletto.

Kiril was the comical, ex-hippie, and, former Berkeley Mayoral candidate Gaudenzio in Island City Opera’s hit production of Rossini’s Il Signor Bruschino.  as well as Talpa in Il Tabarro for Island City Opera. Kiril has sung for Opera San Jose and internationally in China for Opera Art Lirica, the Bulgarian National Music Theatre, Sofia National Opera, Stara, Zagora State Opera and State Opera of Ruse. Key roles: Count Almaviva, Sharpless, Sonora, Belcore and others.

As an actor Kiril has also appeared in theatrical productions and films, and he writes for Capital, a newspaper in Bulgaria. Kiril just received his Ph.D in Journalism.


DON HOFFMAN sings Colline, the philosopher

Don Hoffman, bass-baritone, sings Colline, the philosopher of the bohemian quartet in his debut with Island City Opera for this production of La Boheme.

A native of New Orleans, Don graduated from Amherst College, studied voice at Loyola University and made his professional debut in 1996 with New Orleans Opera. He has sung more than 20 different roles with ensembles including the Angel City Chorale, Bayshore Lyric Opera, Berkeley Chamber Opera, Diablo Valley Orchestra, East Bay English Opera, Paris Choral Society, Pocket Opera and Verismo Opera.

Don recently appeared with Rosin Coven at the annual Edwardian Ball and in 2014 made his Carnegie Hall debut singing the music of Christopher Tin. Don’s roles include Don Giovanni in Don Giovanni, Méphistophélès in Faust, Figaro in  Le Nozze di Figaro, Sparafucile om  Rigoletto, Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Comte des Grieux in Manon, Zaccaria in Nabucco, Nick Shadow in The Rake’s Progress.

EILEEN MEREDITH sings Mimi, love-struck seamstress on March 4, 11 and 13. 

Washington, D.C. native Eileen Meredith (Gilda and Mimi) has distinguished herself as a soprano on the operatic and concert stage. Her lead operatic roles include, Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor, Giorgetta in Il Tabarro, Leonora in Il Trovatore, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly, Violetta in La Traviata, Mimi and Musetta in La Bohème,  Therese/Tiresias in Breasts of Tiresias, Cunegonde in Candide, and Polly in The Threepenny Opera.  Eileen has appeared with San Francisco Opera, Open Opera, West Edge Opera, Livermore Valley Opera, Verismo Opera, and more.  

Concert highlights include solos with San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Sinfonietta, UC Berkeley Chamber Orchestra, Oakland Youth Orchestra, and Oakland Symphony Chorus.  She recently was soloist with the Orchestra of St. Catherine at Dominican University.  She has appeared in duet with Frederica von Stade under the baton of Michael Morgan for Alameda Education Foundation fundraiser at Kofman Auditorium,  She was a featured soloist on the San Francisco Symphony Chorus’ recordingVoices 1900/2000.  Eileen is a winner of first prize awards from the National Association of Teachers of Singing and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.  

In addition to singing, Eileen produces opera for Island City Opera, and has served as Music Director for Anything Goes, Hairspray, and In the Heights.  She teaches voice privately, and has recorded at Skywalker Ranch for movies and games.  She would like to thank her family and her teacher, Olivia Stapp, for their inspiration.

ERINA NEWKIRK portrays Mimi, the love-struck seamstress, on Sunday, March 6

Erina joins Island City Opera’s production of La Bohme as the love-struck seamstress, Mimi, for our matinee performance, Sunday, March 6 at 2pm.

The San Francisco Chronicle noted that she was a “standout” as Anne in The Rake’s Progress “bringing melting lyricism to the cavatina and forceful bravado to the ensuing cabaletta.” Other recent performances include soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah for Marin Oratorio and Villa Sinfonia; soloist for Classic Lyric Arts in New York; French operatic repertoire soloist for Château de Lanquais Concerts in France; Marguerite in Faust and Mimi in La bohème at Mira Theatre.




Julia makes her Island City Opera debut singing the role of Musetta, Marcello’s lover and tormentor and the bohemian quartet’s benefactor.

Praised by Backstage Magazine for “an instrument many singers wish they had, both sensual and alluring”, Julia has appeared in leading roles with Festival Opera, Opera San Luis Obispo, Eugene Opera, Oakland Lyric Opera, Pocket Opera, Stockton Opera, Sonoma City Opera, Open Opera and the San Francisco Opera Guild.

A San Francisco native, Ms. Nielsen made her New York debut at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall winning the Center for Contemporary Opera’s international competition. In addition to concert and opera, Ms. Nielsen has experience performing the classic musical theater and operetta repertoire, including singing the leading roles of Maria in West Side Story and Yum-Yum in Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado with the Eugene Opera in Oregon.


WAYNE WONG sings Benoit & Alcindoro

Wayne makes his Island City Opera debut with the double comic roles of Benoit, the gullible Landlord and Alcindoro, Musetta’s elderly sugar daddy.

Wayne has sung roles in over 70 productions, with companies such as Berkeley (West Edge) Opera, Pocket Opera, and San Francisco Lyric Opera. Roles include Frank, Die Fledermaus, Ashby, La Fanciulla del West, Alidoro, La Cenerentola, and Antonio, Marriage of Figaro, where Opera News called him “notably strong”.

Other engagements include West Bay Opera, Oakland Opera, and Teatro Bocchino (in the world premiere of David Morris’ Il Bobo Sferrato). He appeared most recently in Dead Man Walking with Opera Parallele and Ariadne auf Naxos with Festival Opera.

A graduate of U.C. Berkeley and Brown University, he is buried in Westminster Abbey.


This video recording, made for television, features a stellar cast, including; Mirella Freni, Adriana Martino, Gianni Raimondi, and Rolando Panerai, from La Scala.

A piano reduction can be found on the IMSLP database here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]