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 Jonathan Khuner: Music Director for La Sonnambula

 Jonathan Khuner returns to Island City Opera as Music Director for Vincenzo Bellini’s La Sonnambula.

Jonathan Khuner is a well-known conductor in the San Francisco Bay area, where he has spent most of his professional life. A longtime Berkeley resident, he earned degrees in Mathematics and Music from the University of California, and became Music Director for Berkeley Opera (now West Edge Opera) in 1985.  He was Berkeley Opera’s Artistic Director from 1993 to 2009. Khuner has worked as assistant conductor for several decades with the Metropolitan Opera of New York, San Francisco Opera, and Lyric Opera of Chicago, while leading productions with many of the local companies. He is also very active as an opera coach and lecturer.

Last season Khuner conducted La Sonnambula for Island City Opera. Since then he conducted Pelléas et Mélisande for West Edge Opera, Tristan und Isolde for the Claude Heater Foundation,  Bluebeard’s Castle for California Opera Association (Fresno),  Manon Lescaut for Berkeley Chamber Opera, and Norma for Verismo Opera (Vallejo).

Upcoming conducting engagements include Wagner’s Ring (condensed) with Pacific Northwest Opera, and Breaking the Waves with West Edge Opera, La Rondine with Island City Opera, and Norma with Bayshore Lyric Opera.

Jonathan also appears frequently with smaller contemporary performing groups such as Earplay, Sonic Harvest, Empyrean Ensemble, and Left Coast Ensemble. As a recital accompanist he is quite active throughout the area, and will be giving the San Francisco Opera Guild Lectures for Billy Budd in the fall of 2019.


Eileen Meredith stars as Amina

Eileen Meredith returns this season as Amina in Vincenzo Bellini’s La Sonnambula.  The San Francisco Classical Voice praised her “virtuosic coloratura, ” and compared her upper register to Joan Sutherland’s, continuing “…Meredith shares ‘La Stupenda’s’ gracious, unaffected stage presence.”

Other favorites among the thirteen operas she has produced with Island City Opera include Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor, Norina in Don Pasquale, Gilda in Rigoletto, and Mimi in La Boheme. Other roles she has enjoyed include Cunegonde in Candide, Musetta in La Boheme, Frasquita in Carmen, Violetta in La Traviata, and Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly. 

Eileen recently performed a solo concert on the “Celebrating the Arts” series in Oakland, and will join the Oakland Symphony in May as Anita in West Side Story.  Her recent concert work includes solos in Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, Sir Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Oratorio, and Charpentier’s Midnight Mass for Christmas. Eileen has served as music director for several musicals, and teaches in Alameda. She is grateful to all who make Island City Opera possible.

Sergio Gonzalez as Elvino

Sergio Gonzalez,tenor, returns to Island City Opera as Elvino, ardent but fickle lover, in the March 2018 production of Vincenzo Belllini’s La Sonnambula. 

Mr. Gonzalez made his Island City Opera debut singing the role of the lovesick Ernesto in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale in January 2017 He then reprised the same role this past summer at the Mendocino Music Festival’s production of the same work.  Previously, he sang the lead role, Belmonte, in Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio at the Mendocino Music Festival in 2016.  And at the 2014 Mendocino Music Festival Sergio appeared as Don Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni.

Sergio received his Master’s degree at the SF Conservatory of Music.

Aimee Puentes sings Lisa

Aimée Puentes makes her Island City Opera debut as Lisa, the hotel proprietress who can’t get rid of Alessio and can’t get enough of Elvino, or, maybe Count Rodolfo, either way, Aimee will be singing in the March 2018 production of Vincenzo Belllini’s La Sonnambula.

Ms. Puentes has sung a variety of leading soprano roles including ZerlinaDespinaMicäelaSister Constance, PaminaDonna ElviraMusettaNannetta and Susanna with companies such as San Francisco Opera, Arizona Opera, Pensacola Opera, New Orleans Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Chautauqua Opera, San Jose Opera, West Bay Opera, Sacramento Opera and Abilene Opera.

Ms. Puentes’ solo concert work includes Haydn’s Creation and Lord Nelson MassHandel’s MessiahOrff’s Carmina Burana,Rutter’s  Requiem, Mahler’s Symphony No.4, Mozart’s Vesperae Solemnis and Mass in C Minor, Dvorak’s Stabat Mater, Brahms Requiem, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem and Barber’s Knoxville Summer of 1915. Aimée is a three-time West Coast finalist of The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, winner of the IIE International Vocal Competition and Classical Singer magazine. She is a graduate of San Francisco State University and has a Master’s of Music in Vocal Performance from Notre Dame de Namur University.

Aimée loves to teach voice and has been a guest teaching artist for the California Music Teachers Association, a teaching artist at San Francisco Opera and West Bay Opera, serves on the voice faculty at San Francisco’s School of the Arts and has enjoyed teaching private voice lessons since 2000. 

Anders Froehlich sings Rodolfo

Anders Froehlich, baritone, sings the role of Salieri in Island City Opera’s production of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Mozart and Salieri in January 2018.  Then, in March 2018, Mr. Froehlich will sing the role of Count Rodolfo in Island City Opera’s production of Vincenzo Bellini’s La Sonnambula.

Mr. Froehlich began his musical studies as a pianist at the age of ten.  He continued his musical and theatrical training at the Connecticut Conservatory for the Arts where he also trained in ballet.  After two years as a ballet major at Indiana University Bloomington, the Connecticut native studied for one year at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles before beginning his professional career as a chorister and understudy at the Los Angeles Opera.

Mr. Froehlich has performed with companies such as San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Opera San Jose and West Edge Opera.  His roles include Eugene Onegin, Don Giovanni, Guglielmo (Cosi Fan Tutte), Figaro and the Count (Marriage of Figaro) and Donner in Wagner’s Das Rheingold.  Notable new works include the role of Paul Gauguin in the American premiere of Fabrizio Carlone’s Bonjour M. Gauguin with West Edge Opera.

Other notable engagements include the role of The Spanish Sailor in San Francisco Opera’s premier of Jake Heggie’s Moby Dick, which was featured on PBS’s Great Performances. Addtionally, the role of Second guard in Opera Parallele’s critically acclaimed production of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking.  As well as his baroque debut in the role of the emperor, Augusto, in Ars Minerva’s production of La Cleopatra by Daniele da Castrovillari.

Deborah Rosengaus debuts as Teresa

Deborah Rosengaus makes her Island City Opera debut in the role of Teresa in La Sonnambula.  

Deborah is a  versatile Mezzo Soprano having studied Opera, Theater, Music and Dance she is known for her exciting, high energy performances and for creating memorable and endearing characters. With a uniquely flexible voice, as comfortable in Verdi as it is in Rossini, she has delighted audiences around the world with her rich timbre and sparkling coloratura.
From her beginnings as a young musician in the San Francisco Bay Area, she has toured internationally, with a variety of musical ensembles in concert halls such as: Santori Hall in Tokyo, The Center for Performing Arts in Beijing with the Peoples Liberation Army Orchestra, Disney Hall with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. She has given recitals in Mexico and across the United States, giving voice to her research into the lesser known Art Songs of great Classical composers