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Opera Academy of California will return to Old First Presbyterian Church

Next month Yefim Maizel’s Opera Academy of California (OAC) will return to Old First Presbyterian Church. While in the past Old First has provided a venue for recital performances of opera arias, this summer, in cooperation with the “Don’t be afraid…It’s just Opera!!!” performance series, OAC will present a staging of a full-length opera. The opera will be Pagliacci (clowns), composed by Ruggero Leoncavallo in two acts with a prologue. Maizel has created a staging that will fit within the constraints of a church sanctuary without compromising any of the fundamental values of the narrative. Those who know this opera already know what those values are: love, lust, betrayal, scandal, and murder.

Poster design for the opera production being discussed
courtesy of the Opera Academy of California

The vocalists Maizel has cast for this production include Christopher Sponseller, Raeeka Shehabi-Yaghmai (one of the founders of “Don't be afraid…It’s just Opera!!!”), Spencer Dodd, Jacob Thompson, Igor Vieira, Christopher Hawks, and Tyler Anthony. Dodd is an alumnus of the OAC Summer Program, and Sponseller and Hawks have participated in previous OAC productions. Instrumental accompaniment will be provided by pianist Hatem Nadim, and Michel Singher will conduct. The performance will include narration, and supertitles will provide English translations.

Pagliacci will receive only one performance in San Francisco. This will take place at 8 p.m. on Thursday, August 7. Old First is located at 1751 Sacramento Street, on the southeast corner of Van Ness Avenue. Tickets are $25 or two for $45. There is also a 20% discount for purchasing groups of five or more tickets. Tickets are being sold online through the IndieGoGo fundraising page for “Don’t be afraid…It’s just Opera!!!”

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