© 2021 KALW
KALW Public Media / 91.7 FM Bay Area
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Arts & Culture

West Edge Opera Festival Full Steam Ahead - Mezzo-Soprano Leandra Ramm

This week on Open Air, KALW’s radio magazine for the Bay Area performing arts, host David Latulippe talks, appropriately socially distant, with Mark Streshinsky, general director of West Edge Opera, about the annual summer festival, thus far going full steam ahead from July 25th through August 9th  at The Bridge Yard in Oakland.  

West Edge’s 2020 season continues the company's tradition of presenting a new opera, a classic opera from within the canon, and an early opera on period instruments. The festival opens with Katya Kabanova by Leoš Janáček, conducted by West Edge’s music director Jonathan Khuner. 

Katya Kabanova is Janáček’s haunting tale of a woman's passion breaking free from the constraints of a conservative society. The production features a set constructed entirely from paper, designed and built by Papermoon Opera Productions and directed by their artistic director Fenlon Lamb. Soprano Carrie Hennessey plays the title role. 

Next up, on July 26, is Elizabeth Cree, a gripping new opera from Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell, the team behind Silent Night, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in music. Elizabeth Cree, which premiered in 2017 at Opera Philadelphia, follows a series of murders set against the backdrop of a Victorian Music Hall performance troupe. Sam Helfrich directs, making his West Edge debut. Robert Mollicone, who conducted The Chastity Tree in West Edge's 2017 festival, leads the orchestra. 

Third opera on the festival program is Eliogabalocomposed by Francesco Cavalli in 1667 but not performed until 1993. The story is about debauched and corrupt Roman emperor Heliogabalus, according to historians mostly known for his "unspeakably disgusting life" and for being “probably the least able emperor Rome ever had."

Performances start on August 1, with Mark Streshinsky directing and Adam Pearl conducting from the harpsichord. Countertenor Randall Scotting (pic 1) makes his West Edge debut as the scheming and lecherous Eliogabalo. 

Also, we check in with versatile mezzo-soprano and actress Leandra Ramm, whose Bay Area performances in April and May with the San Francisco Choral Society and Cappella SF unfortunately had to be postponed due to the current crisis; but she shares details about one of her recent recording projects: the opera Lucinda y las Flores de la Nochebuena by Evan Mack and Joshua McGuire on Albany Records. Ramm sings the part of Mama, a role which she performed for the last three seasons with the SF Opera Guild (pic 2), and hopes to reprise in December 2020, if circumstances allow. 

Coincidentally, Leandra will be giving her first live virtual concert this evening, April 16. It will be hosted by Artists Rise Up at 7pm. It can also be seen live on the organization’s Facebook page

Open Air, with host David Latulippe; heard live on Thursday, April 16, at 1pm; and afterwards anytime at this location…



A selection of Bay Area Performing Arts available online:

The Marsh San Francisco, the city’s breeding ground for new performance, has launched a new MarshStream Broadcast Platform, offering a variety of programming starting at 7:30pm nightly to theater-goers sheltered-in-place, available via themarsh.org

MarshStream programming varies by night, and include Monday Night MarshStream (short performances by a variety of artists), Wild Card Tuesdays (everything from book/writer discussions, sing alongs, Tell It On Tuesday (storytelling), Wednesday Solo Arts Heal (offering stories of Health, Advocacy, and Inspiration), Stephanie’s MarshStream on Thursday nights (interview, bantering, Q&A, and performance excerpts with Marsh favorites), plus Game Nights hosted by a performer, live full-length performance readings, archived performance streams, performance development classes, and the roll out of a noon series, including a fitness/singing class. Content is being offered via Zoom, YouTube, Instagram, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and iTunes. For weekly event schedules, additional information, and links, visit www.themarsh.org.


Theatre Rhinoceros presents a FREE performance:

STEAM:  A Free Staged Reading on ZOOM, written by Williams Ivor Fowkes and directed by Joe Tally. Register for free access at www.therhino.org. April 18 at 8pm - One Live Performance Only.

Steam features Bay Area actors Justin Lopez (“Jeff”) and Nick Trengove (“Kevin”). The play is about two strangers who meet in the steam room of a gym in midtown Manhattan. They embark on a cat-and-mouse game where they confront each other’s desires and try to expose their true identities.


California Revels’ Music Director Shira Kammen and fellow Revelers invite you for a daily dose of laughter, music, and song, every day (even weekends!) at noon! You are invited to sing, dance, play along on any instrument, or simply observe. Enjoy these moments together in whatever way resonates with you best. Sheet music is posted daily to the California Revels Facebook page and our #CalRevels Instagram.


TheatreWorks Silicon Valley’s production of Paul Gordon’s Pride and Prejudice is available to stream. Presented by Streaming MusicalsPride and Prejudice opened last week with a ‘virtual opening night’, including an intermission interview with creative team members including TheatreWorks Silicon Valley’s Founding Artistic Director Robert Kelley, who directed the new romantic musical comedy. Pride and Prejudice is available to stream on StreamingMusicals.com


While it will not be opening The Magic Flute in April due to COVID-19 restrictions, Opera San José has announced something all opera patrons can enjoy at home instead: the FREE live stream viewing of its breathtaking 2011 production of Mozart’s first dramatic masterpiece, the rarely produced Idomeneo: ré di Creta

This rarely presented, larger-than-life work features ground-breaking performances by artists who have since gone on to international fame, dance segments by choreographer Dennis Nahat performed by the Ballet San Jose (which ceased operations in 2016), and an orchestra conducted by world-famed Mozart interpreter George Cleve (who passed away in 2015). 

Beginning on April 18, Idomeneo will be available to stream at no charge on www.operasj.org and remain available through May 18, 2020.


The San Francisco Symphony and KDFC announce the launch of a new schedule of broadcasts featuring recordings of past San Francisco Symphony concerts conducted by Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) and highlighting repertoire indicative of his remarkable 25-year tenure with the Orchestra. 

The first encore broadcast featured an all-Stravinsky program from September 2018 which the SF Symphony and MTT performed to great acclaim both in Davies Symphony Hall and on tour at New York’s Carnegie Hall. Concerts will be available for on demand streaming for 21 days following the broadcast.

Guest artists featured in the broadcast series include violinists Leonidas Kavakos, Gil Shaham, and Christian Tetzlaff; vocalists Kelley O’Connor, Nicholas Phan, Susanna Phillips, and Davóne Tines; and narrator Leslie Caron.

Hosted by KDFC Supervisor of Music Programs Rik Malone, the broadcasts will air on Tuesdays at 8 pm on Classical KDFC 90.3 San Francisco, 104.9 San Jose, 89.9 Napa, 103.9 Monterey, and kdfc.com where they will be available for on demand streaming for 21 days following the broadcast.