Monday, July 27, 2015

West Edge Opera season off to thrilling start

Dan Kempson
If you're in the San Francisco Bay Area, you will want to check out the West Edge Opera's current festival which got underway last week. Not only are the first two shows that have opened (Lulu and As One) all the talk of the local opera community, but all three operas feature barihunks.

We managed to get this picture of barihunk Dan Kempson from Act 1 of Laura Kaminsky's As One where he shares the role of Hannah with the thrilling mezzo-soprano Brenda Patterson. The piece is being performed at The Oakland Metro, a punk rock venue reflective of Oakland’s gritty art scene and the ideal space for such a provocative piece. Kempson is shirtless within 5 minutes of the first bar of music.

Kaminsky was inspired to write As One after reading an article in the New York Times in 2008 about a New Jersey marriage in which one of the parties transitioned from male to female, transforming the couple from straight to gay. The opera is based on the life experience of noted filmmaker Kimberly Reed. There are two performances remaining on July 31 and August 8th.

Alban Berg’s Lulu will be performed in the abandoned and decaying 1912 Beaux-Arts train station at 16th Street in Oakland where the movies Funny Lady and RENT were filmed. It opened to rave reviews and has additional performances on August 2 and 8. It features barihunk Zack Altman as the Athlete.

The final opera is Monteverdi’s, Ulysses, which will be staged at the American Steel Studios, a former pipe factory turned six acre art studio that’s now home to steel fabricators, sculptors, vertical aerial and trapeze performers, glass artists, and more. The opera stars Nikolas Nackley in the title role and barihunk Aaron Sørensen as Neptune. It opens on August 1 with additional performances on August 7 and 9.

Tickets and additional cast information is available online.

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