Federal Tax ID: 46-5133609

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading source=”post_title” font_container=”tag:h1|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”389″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Verdi’s powerful score propels the audience through a whirlwind tale of the tragedy of vengeance.

Island City Opera opens it’s season with Giuseppe Verdi’s first masterpiece, Rigoletto, a tale of lost innocence and the tragedy of vengeance.  Rigoletto will be sung in Italian with English supertitles.  One preview and four performances are scheduled starting on January 20, 2016.  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.

Rigoletto is the tragic tale of a twisted man who wants nothing more than to protect his virtuous daughter from the temptations and depredations of the wicked world, but, most especially the attentions of his own boss, the licentious Duke.  Verdi’s compelling score leads us on a chilling whirlwind of revenge.


Special Preview Wednesday, January 20, 2016 at 7:30PM

Opening Night Friday, January 22, 2016 at 7:30PM

Sunday Matinee, Sunday January 24, 2016 at 2:00PM

Friday Date Night, Friday, January 29, 2016 at 7:30PM

Closing Matinee, Sunday January 31, 2016 at 2:00PM


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


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


Directed by Olivia Stapp, Conducted by Jonathan Khuner and Jason Sherbundy, Lighting by Elle Ghini, Set Design by Clay David, Costumes by Joy Graham, Choreography by Lisa Bush


Jo Vincent ParksRigoletto, the Duke’s court jesterbaritone.  
Alex BoyerDuke of Mantuatenor
Eileen Meredith Gilda, Rigoletto’s daughtersoprano
Jason Sarten           Sparafucile, an assassin hired by Rigoletto         bass
Silvie JensenMaddalena, the assassin’s sistercontralto
Ellen St. ThomasGiovanna, Gilda’s nursemezzo-soprano
Elliott NguyenCount Ceprano, a courtierbass
Erina NewkirkCountess Ceprano, Count Ceprano’s wifemezzo-soprano   
Alfredo RodriguezMatteo Borsa, a courtiertenor
Kiril HavezovCount Monteronebaritone
Ben BradyMarullo, a courtierbaritone
Danny FloydCourt Usherbass
Emma RosenthalA Court Pagesoprano


Chorus of courtiers: Taylor Thompson, Richard Bogart, Robert Boyd, Hank Smith, Daniel Floyd

Dancers: Sarah Sophia Pun, Carole Kueffer, Genie Lim, Skye Seeley, 

RIGOLETTO Announcements

JONATHAN KHUNER, Rigoletto Co-Music Director

Island City Opera announced that Jonathan Khuner will be the Co-Music Director, along with Jason Sherbundy, of Island City Opera’s production of Rigoletto in January 2016. Jonathan will conduct the January 22nd and 24th performances.  Jonathan’s insight into Verdi’s music, the characters and the operatic voice are shaping a great performance.

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.


JASON SHERBUNDY, Co-Music Director

A man of many talents, Jason has extensive credits as Conductor, Pianist, Orchestrator, Music Director and Composer. Jason will conduct the January 29 and January 31 performances.

Jason has conducted Carmen for Livermore Valley Opera, and Pirates of Penzance and HMS Pinafore for Lyric Theatre of San Jose. As Associate Conductor, Jason conducted Turn Of The Screw, Bonjour M. Gauguin, Die Fledermaus, Faust, Eugene Onegin, Falstaff and Der Ring in Eine Abend. Jason’s Musical Theatre credits stretch from Broadway to the Bay Area. He has music directed the North American Tour of Wicked, and worked in various music positions on many traditional and contemporary musical shows, from Anything Goes to Catch Me If You Can. He has helped develop new shows from workshop to major performance. And, he has written new music for San Francisco Mime Troop among others.

“Jason Sherbundy conducted one of the best Berkeley Opera pickup orchestras I have heard over the years, in a consistent, beautifully detailed performance of the devilishly difficult Verdi score some big-name orchestras routinely ball up. – Janos Gereben,


OLIVIA STAPP, Rigoletto Stage Director

World renowned Diva, Olivia Stapp, is thrilled to direct this production of Rigoletto with Island City Opera. This is her third directing engagement for ICO; previous operas are Il Trovatore in 2014 and Lucia di Lammermoor in 2015 at the Elks Lodge Ballroom.

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.

Currently dedicated to teaching and promoting young singers, she has taught master classes in Italy, New York and the Bay Area. Island City Opera is honored to be working with Olivia.

Jo Vincent Parks portrays Rigoletto

Jo Vincent Parks’ dramatic baritone voice will be familiar to Island City Opera patrons having performed many leading roles in ICO’s predecessor organization, Virago Theatre, including, Marcello in La Boheme, Georgio Germont in La Traviata, Leporello in Don Giovanni, and Count di Luna in Il Trovatore in 2014.

Jo has performed leading roles with Livermore Valley Opera, Berkeley Opera, Open Opera and Bay Shore Lyric Opera, including Valentine in Gounod’s Faust, the title role in Eugene Onegin, the Villains in Tales of Hoffmann, Iago in Otello, Tonio in I Pagliacci and Scarpia in Tosca. You may have also seen him in San Francisco City College’s Summer Opera productions of Frida where he played Diego Rivera, or as Stephan Kumalo in Kurt Weill’s Lost in the Stars, or, in the title role of Sweeny Todd. Other Leading roles have included Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls, and Figaro in The Barber of Seville.

Jo portrayed Gloster Hemmings in San Francisco Opera’s production of The Mother Of Us All.

A Washington, DC native, Jo moved to the Bay Area to obtain his Masters Degree at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.


Alexander Boyer in the role of The Duke of Mantua

Alexander Boyer will sing the role of The Duke of Mantua in Island City Opera’s production of Verdi’s Rigoletto featuring the great arias “Questa o quella” and “La donna e mobile”.

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).

EILEEN MEREDITH sings Gilda, Rigoletto’s beloved daughter

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.


ELLEN ST THOMAS portrays Giovanna

Ellen St. Thomas will sing the role of Giovanna, 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 director 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.

JASON SARTEN sings Sparafucile, the Assassin,

Jason Sarten makes his Island City Opera debut in this production of Rigoletto as Sparafucile, the Assassin.

He began his career with Abilene Opera Association, singing Schaunard in La Boheme and Angelotti in Tosca. In the Bay Area he has sung over twenty roles, including Yamadori in Madama Butterfly, Marchese D’Obligny in La Traviata, Fiorello in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Count Capulet in Romeo and Juliette, and Benoit/Alcindro in La Boheme for Opera San Jose. Other engagements include Sacramento Opera , Lamplighters, Cinnabar Opera, and Pacific Repertory Opera. Most recently, he played King Melchior in Amahl and the Night Visitors at Livermore Opera and Benoit/Alcindro in La Boheme at West Edge.

Jason earned a Bachelor and Master of Music at Abilene Christian and Baylor Universities respectively.


SILVIE JENSEN sings Maddalena, femme fatale

Silvie Jensen, mezzo soprano, makes her Island City Opera debut in the role of Maddalena, the Assassin’s sister who helps to plot the end of the Duke.  Or, does she fall in love with him like so many before her?

Silvie, a  vocalist of great versatility, enjoys a wide-ranging career that includes early and contemporary music, opera and musical theater, and improvised and experimental music.Silvie sings with SF Opera, most recently in their 2015 Die Meistersinger.

She has commissioned and premiered works composed for her, and has appeared in recital in New York at Weill Recital Hall, Steinway Hall, Symphony Space, Americas Society, Liederkranz Club, The Stone, Bonhams, Nicholas Roerich Museum, The Cell Theatre, and at the Ethical Humanist Society in Philadelphia. She has made recordings for ECM, London, Koch, Helicon, MSR Classics, Sono Luminus and Soundbrush Records.

Visit for more information.



KIRIL HAVEZOV sings Count Monterone

Kiril will sing the role of the ill-fated Count Monterone in Island City Opera’s production of Verdi’s Rigoletto opening January 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.

Erina Newkirk as Countess Ceprano

Erina joins Island City Opera’s production of Rigoletto as the latest of The Duke’s infatuations, The Countess Ceprano.  Never mind that her husband is attending the same party where The Duke is seducing her.

Erina has performed major roles with Pocket Opera including Pamina in Die Zauberflote, Morgana in Alcina, Antonia in Les Contes d’Hoffman, Manon in Manon, and Musetta in La bohème. She has also appeared in La bohème at Golden Gate Opera and Opera San Jose.

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.


Elliott Nguyen as Count Ceprano

Elliott Nguyen joins Island City Opera again this season as Count Ceprano in Rigoletto. 

Elliott is a native of Oakland and graduate of the UC Santa Cruz award winning opera program.  Elliott got his start singing with the Young Musician’s Program in Oakland.  Elliott joined the chorus in Island City Opera’s 2015 production of Lucia di Lammermoor.  Elliott has sung many leading roles including Enrico in Lucia, Simone in Gianni Schicchi, Gugllielmo in Cosi fan tutti.

Alfredo Rodriguez as Matteo Borsa

Alfredo Rodriguez, tenor, joins Island City Opera’s cast of Rigoletto in the role of Matteo Borsa, The Duke’s favorite conspirator in seduction.

Alfredo first appeared with Island City Opera in last year’s productions of Puccini’s Il Tabarro as The Songseller and in Rossini’s Il Signor Bruschino as the drunken frat boy Bruschino Jr.

He has a BA in music from Chapman College. His musical life began in 2001 when he joined Mexicali’s municipal choir, which performed with Pavarotti, the inspiration for his singing career. He has sung partial roles in La Traviata and L’Elisir D’Amore. In concert he has sung Puccini’s Messa di Gloria, Saint-Saens’s Oratorio de Noel, Ramier’s Misa Criolla and Navidad Nuestra along with Mexican traditional music.

Alfredo is a member of the San Francisco Opera Chorus.  .

Ben Brady in the role of Marullo

Ben Brady, bass-baritone, joins Island City Opera’s cast of Rigoletto in the role of the cunning courtier Marullo.

Ben performs all over the Bay Area. Recent roles include Mephistopheles in Verismo Opera’s Faust, Tonio in Pocket Opera’s I Pagliacci, and The Pirate King, The Pirates of Penzance and Martin, Candide for Lamplighters.  In 2014 he was the Gypsy King in Virago’s Il trovatore. He was the King of Egypt for San Luis Obisbo’s Aida. Ben also composes and plays with a rock band, Suits of Steel, who have shows regularly around the area. Check them out at

He received his BA in vocal performance at University of Michigan.



DANIEL FLOYD sings the HERALD, Sparafucile understudy and chorus

Rigoletto  Daniel was first mentored by Peter Girardot, without whom he would not have discovered his love for singing and opera. Daniel continued his study with the late Dr. Thomas LoMonaco and is currently under the tutelage of Maestro Jeremy Silver. Daniel started his business career in the arts working at several major video game development studios such as Electronic Arts, Westwood Studios and Mythic Entertainment. For more info please contact Daniel Floyd at

Taylor Thompson, Duke of Mantua understudy and Chorus

Rigoletto choristers include Rick Bogart, Robert Boyd, Hank Smith and Michael Stevens


In a work bursting with musical brilliance, the Rigoletto Quartet is perhaps the pinnacle of this opera. This recording with Luciano Pavarotti and Joan Sutherland, Isola Jones and Leo Nucci as Rigoletto may be the most popular.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]