A Queer Night at the Opera



A Queer Night at the Opera
June 29, 8:00pm
Opera Singing & Commentary
SomArts Theater
Tix: $18 at door, $15 in advance/$12 seniors & youth at door, $10 in advance

Are you opera curious? Do you long to see your drama queen fantasies set to music?  A Queer Night at the Opera will inform and delight you! Intended for neophytes and devoted opera buffs alike, this concert of arias, duets and scenes with commentary showcases fabulous local queer performers in standard, gender-bending and contemporary queer repertoire.This will be a night to remember!

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Elena Krell Leslie Hassberg Stephanie Lynne Smith
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Jonathan Smucker John P. Minago Dr. Kathleen McGuire


Elena Krell
Elena Krell, a graduate of the Oberlin College and Conservatory has been performing in opera and operetta since 2000 and in the bay area since 2003. Previous roles include, Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Mabel (Pirates of Penzance), Romilda (“Serse” of Handel). While at Oberlin and San Francisco Conservatory she was very involved in new music projects as well as music of the baroque. Recent roles include Rose Maybud (Ruddygore of Gilbert and Sullivan), Valencienne (The Merry Widow) both with Lamplighters Music Theater, the title role in a Shakespearian adaptation of Gounod’s “Romeo and Juliet” for Berkeley Opera, and the role of Fiamecca in Offenbach’s “The Bandits” with Pocket Opera. She received a Bachelors of Arts and Bachelors of Music from Oberlin College and Conservatory, and a Masters in Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and studies voice and acting with Jane Randolph and Bobby Weinapple respectively. Other passions include being active in the queer community, volunteering at the Women’s Building, and studying Buddhism, gender studies and philosophy.

Leslie Hassberg
Leslie Hassberg (mezzo-soprano) is a versatile singer, instrumentalist and producer.  Her latest project has been a series of self-produced shows showcasing her broad range:  “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley” (Broadway and jazz), “An Introduction to Opera for Lesbians (and friends),” “Women Singer-Songwriters of the 60s and 70s” (folk and folk-rock) and the upcoming “A Queer Night at the Opera,” on June 15th in San Francisco.  Ms. Hassberg’s opera credits include the title role in Carmen, Azucena in Il Trovatore, Marthe in Berkeley Opera’s Faust and numerous small roles with many of the Bay Area’s opera companies.   She has sung with the SF Opera and Symphony Choruses, and with the SF Choral Artists. Ms. Hassberg has also worked as a soloist and ringer with community and religious choruses, in composers’ workshops, and on several recordings.]  She has a degree in voice performance from SFSU, where she also studied conducting and composition.  Ms. Hassberg plays piano, guitar, flute, recorder, bass and Latin percussion, arranges and composes, and has many production credits to her name.

Stephanie Lynne Smith
Born and raised in Wichita Falls, Texas, Stephanie Smith is an active pianist, conductor, clinician, vocal coach, worship leader and chamber musician in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her qualifications include a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder, studying with Alvin Chow and Larry Graham, and a Master of Music degree in chamber music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Paul Hersh. Her professional experience of more than a decade includes performing in master classes for Menahem Pressler and Emmanuel Ax, working with renowned composers such as Alden Jenks, David Garner and David Conte, and providing accompaniment for such luminaries as Sharon McNight, B.D. Wong and Tony Award winner Alan Cumming.  Stephanie is the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco, the Music Director for the Metropolitan Community Church of San Francisco, teaches K-5th grade classroom music at Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, serves on the Board for the Jon Sims Center for the Arts, and is co-Founder and Steering Committee Member for GLAM Youth Choir.  She is married to Dr. Kathleen McGuire, Artistic Director and Conductor for the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus.

Jonathan Smucker
A native of Zoar, Ohio, tenor Jonathan Smucker was recently featured as Dionysus in the Premiere of Lou Harrison’s final version of Young Caesar with Ensemble Parallèle. His 2006-2007 credits include Camille in The Merry Widow with Lamplighters, Obadaiah in Elijah at UC Berkeley, and Simon Stimson in the Western US Premiere of Ned Rorem’s Our Town at the Aspen Music Festival.  Other roles include Tom Rakewell, Don Ramiro, Jupiter, Bach’s St. John Evangelist, and the title roles in Albert Herring and Acis and Galatea,  with companies including Pocket Opera, San Francisco Lyric Opera, Oakland Opera Theater, North Bay Opera, BASOTI, and the Isny Operafestival in Germany.  A 2004 graduate of the SF Conservatory of Music, he holds a BM, MM, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Voice.  This May, he will make his West Bay Opera debut as St. Brioche in The Merry Widow.

John P. Minágro
John P. Minágro was seen in San Francisco’s THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1993-98). Operatic roles include: Amonasro (Aïda); Alfio (Cavalleria Rusticana); Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte); Méphistophélès (Faust); Apollyon (Pilgrim’s Progress); Don Basillio (Il Barbiere di Siviglia); Sharpless (Madama Butterfly); Tonio (Pagliacci); Scarpia (Tosca); Tomsky (Queen of Spades); and the title roles in Gianni Schicchi, and Russlan and Ludmilla. He had the rare opportunity to sing the title role in a concert performance of Porgy and Bess. Favorite concert appearances include Bernstein’s MASS, Verdi Requiem, and Beethoven’s 9th. Favorite musical theater roles are the Ghost (The Ghost and Mrs. Muir), Guido (Nine), Don Quixote (Man of LaMancha). John has performed in locations from Lincoln Center in New York, to the Salt Lake Mormon Tabernacle. He was guest soloist with San Francisco Symphony’s Summer Broadway Pops Concert, and performs regularly in Osaka, Japan. Recently he covered several roles with San Francisco Opera, including that of Astrodamors in Ligeti’s U.S. premier of Le Grand Macabre. John can be heard singing the role of Juan Peron on the 2006 Grammy Nominated CD recording of Corpus Evita, and singing “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch!” on the Christmas CD Christmas Center Stage.

Dr. Kathleen McGuire
McGuire has conducted major choral, operatic and orchestral projects in Australia, England and the United States since the early 1980s. She is currently completing her seventh season as the Artistic Director and Conductor of the world-renowned San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, and is also the Conductor of the Community Women’s Orchestra. Her experience as an opera conductor includes directing such works as Bizet’s Carmen, La Gioconda by Ponchielli, Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro and Cosi fan tutte, Puccini’s Madama Buttefly and La Boheme, Britten’s Albert Herring, most of Gilbert and Sullivan’s operettas, and countless musical theatre productions. She earned a doctorate in conducting from the University of Colorado (Boulder), a Master of Music Degree with Distinction from the University of Surrey (England), and holds degrees in conducting, composition and music education from the University of Melbourne, Monash University and the Victorian College of the Arts. Dr. McGuire has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Rotary International Ambassadorial Fellowship, inclusion in the National Music Honors Society, and her biography is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who of American Women and Who’s Who in the World.

Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco
The world’s first mixed lesbian and gay chorus, LGCSF is dedicated to building and enriching the Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender (LGBT) community through song and a love of music. Since LGCSF’s first concert 27 years ago at a local middle school, the Chorus has performed around the world, and hundreds of times in San Francisco. The Chorus has provided a forum for San Francisco’s gay and lesbian music lovers to develop their talents, find good friends, and share their gifts with San Francisco’s diverse communities.
Called “the unity in our community”, some words from and LGCSF’s first concert program  in 1980 might best capture the spirit that moves the members of LGCSF to this day:

“For the first time in the known history of the world we as homosexual men and women find ourselves in possession of a ‘blank check’ with which to write our own culture, to establish our own community. . . . ‘Yes, we can love one another proudly. Yes, we can build, and create, and establish. Yes, the world is a better place because we are here.”