Artistic & Production Staff
GGO Artistic and Production Staff
Roberta Wain-Becker, Artistic Director and General Director
Roberta has been the Artistic and General Director of Golden Gate Opera (GGO) since 1996.
Roberta has expertly guided GGO through its first performances in San Francisco at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor’s Florence Gould Theatre from 1998-2004, to its recent productions in the Marin County Civic Center Theaters (“Marin Center”). Passionate about sharing opera with everyone, Roberta founded GGO’s Outreach “Opera-tunities” Enrichment Program for K-12 school children; enabling the company to reach almost 100,000 school children to date, through its in-classroom and in-theater operatic performances specifically designed for children.
Since 2005, Roberta has lead GGO in performing full operas at the Marin Center from the standard repertoire, such as: Madama Butterfly; Carmen; Gianni Schicchi; I Pagliacci; Cavalleria Rusticana; Hansel and Gretel. In addition, she has developed new works, adding in 2012, GGO’s performance of the bold opera Lincoln and Booth, composed by John Cepelak. She helped facilitate international collaboration by bringing talented singers from The Opera of the Croatian National Theater to Marin County to perform in GGO’s production of Haydn’s Der Apotheker at Mill Valley Community Center – providing free performances for seniors and for Mill Valley Middle School students.
Roberta has been instrumental in developing innovative and exciting new ways to bring opera into the lives of the community. Under her guidance, in 2005, GGO implemented its unique “Aria Parties” which bring opera “up close and personal” by giving exclusive performances in patrons’ homes. In 2013, GGO instituted its theme of “Opera in Unusual Places” and began staging outdoor opera performances at the International Sausalito Art Festival. And, since beginning its Outreach “Opera-tunities” Enrichment Program for children, GGO has expanded its programs beyond Marin County to enrich the lives of school children throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
An acclaimed singer in her own right, Ms. Wain-Becker’s professional opera career spans 30 years of international and U.S. regional opera company engagements. She has performed at many prestigious opera houses such as: The Israel National Opera; New Opera Festival di Roma; Teatro Lyrico d’Europa; Portland Opera; Mississippi Opera; Florida Grand Opera; Arizona Opera; Whitewater Opera; Marin Opera; Berkeley Opera; Sacramento Opera; San Francisco Opera and others. A featured soloist, she has performed with symphonies in the west, including the Sacramento Symphony; Jackson Symphony; Boise Philharmonic; Billings Symphony; Diablo Philharmonic; Marin Symphony; Santa Barbara Choral Society; and Oakland Symphony among others. Winner of the Bay Area Theatre Critics’ Circle Award, Ms. Wain-Becker has also received awards from the Wagner Society of Northern California and William Matheus Sullivan Musical Foundation of New York among others. With over 50 roles in her repertoire, Ms. Wain-Becker taught singing at the San Francisco Community Music Center for 10 years, and taught voice for the international training program for rising opera talent at the California Opera Association’s Summer Institute in Fresno, California.
Geoffrey Gallegos, Music Director, Principal Conductor
Maestro Gallegos has been the Conductor and Music Director for Golden Gate Opera since 2003. His advice and direction is critical to all of GGO’s musical programs and projects. As Music Director for GGO, Maestro Gallegos has conducted all productions at the Marin Center, including: Madama Butterfly, Carmen, Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi, “Opera’s Greatest’s Hits” Gala, and Hansel and Gretel. In 2008, Maestro Gallegos was Music Director and Conductor for the Lyric Theater of San Jose for their production of Pirates of Penzance.
In addition to his work in the theater, Maestro Gallegos is an active orchestral conductor. He has been Music Director and Conductor of the Kensington Symphony Orchestra (Contra Costa County) since 2004. From 2003 to 2008, Maestro Gallegos was was Assistant Conductor of the Peninsula Symphony of Northern California. He has been a frequent guest conductor of the San Francisco Concerto Orchestra and has guest-conducted throughout the United States and Europe; including appearances with the Budapest Philharmonic and members of the Hungarian State Opera.
Maestro Gallegos also has a deep commitment to music education. Since 2001, he has been Music Director and Conductor of the Golden Gate Philharmonic Youth Orchestra in San Francisco and has served as an Artist in Residence at the School of the Arts in San Francisco. He has appeared as a guest conductor at the Cazadero Performing Arts Camp; with the SFUSD All-City Orchestra; and with the San Francisco State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble. He regularly adjudicates at numerous youth instrumental competitions and festivals throughout the Bay Area. Most recently, he was appointed Coordinator of Instrumental Music at The Nueva School in Hillsborough, where he oversees approximately 150 young instrumentalists and the prestigious Menuhin/Dowling program. Maestro Gallegos is a member of the Board of Directors, Community Music Center in San Francisco.
Edna Garabedian, Stage Director
Edna Garabedian has been the principal Stage Director for special projects and full opera productions for Golden Gate Opera since 2005. A visionary, Edna is able to create meaningful staging not only in the theater, but in any setting. As Stage Director, Edna has directed Golden Gate Opera’s productions of: Madama Butterfly, Carmen, Hansel and Gretel, Suor Angelica, and Gianni Schicchi “Opera’s Greatest Hits” Gala. Edna has also produced and directed countless operas for California Opera Association, including, LaTraviata, Cosi fan Tutte, Il Barbiere di Seviglia, Otello, Lucia di Lammermoor, Madama Butterfly, Il Tabarro and many others.
A world-renowned Mezzo-Soprano, she has performed throughout the United States and Europe, and has sung the leading role for some of the greatest opera houses in Europe and the United States. Not least among these are: The Munich Opera; Frankfurt Opera; Kassel Opera; Nurnberg Opera; Hannover Opera in Europe. And the Spoleto Festival; Staatsoper Bonn; New York City Opera; San Francisco Opera; Los Angeles Music Center Opera; Lyric Opera of Chicago; Seattle Opera; Houston Opera; San Diego Opera; Baltimore Opera; Kansas City Lyric Opera and Portland Opera in the United States.
Ms. Garabedian is the founder of the Fresno International Grand Opera, and CEO, Artistic Director, and founding director of the prestigious California Opera Association. She has received innumerable accolades and awards for her performances around the world, including those at the Metropolitan Opera. She was winner of the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow (1970) and of the Baltimore Opera Auditions. Ms. Garabedian taught at the International Music Institute of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and has served as Professor of Voice on the faculties of Northern Illinois University; California State University at Fresno; American University, and San Francisco University.
Robert Ashens, Conductor/M.C./Pianist
Robert Ashens has been the Music Director and Conductor for Golden Gate Opera’s touring Hansel and Gretel and Madama Butterfly. An accomplished pianist, Robert is the principal Music Director and Master of Ceremonies for Golden Gate Opera’s school shows and special events, including Aria Parties and “Opera in Unusual Places” . A San Francisco-based musician, he is the Artistic Director / co-founder of West Coast Opera (Opera Oregon), a Touring and Education opera company, and recently debuted with Berkeley, Anchorage and Virago Opera Companies. Robert also co-founded the Johann Strauss Society of America. He also conducts ballet and symphonic works with companies internationally. As Music Director-Conductor of the Shedd Institute, Robert helped produce original-version masterpieces of Musical Theater such as: The Sound of Music (Shedd Institute’s OFAM); Eugene Ballet’s Nutcracker, and Anchorage Opera’s Macbeth and Sound of Music. Maestro Ashens has toured nationally as a conductor with the Broadway companies of A Chorus Line and Jesus Christ Superstar. He has premiered many new Broadway and Opera works and maintains a monthly program called, “West Coast Opera Presents Opera Night at Servino’s” in Tiburon, California. With a repertoire of over one hundred operas, he has masterfully conducted for regional opera companies throughout the United States and in many major cities of Europe, including Italy, and has accompanied many opera luminaries in concert.
Tracy Bell Redig, Costume Designer
Tracy Bell Redig of Novato’s Tracy Bell Designs, has been the principal Costume Designer for GGO since 2001. She designs and oversees costume design, creation, rental and care. Her previous experience includes creating costumes for Montserrat Caballé and Luciano Pavarotti at the San Francisco Opera. Many of her creative designs were the mainstays for the early Victoria’s Secret catalogues. Before moving into opera, Tracy worked for Levi-Strauss. Over the past 29 years, her company, Tracy Bell Designs, has flourished. From her location in Novato, Tracy designs and creates wedding gowns, accessories and costumes; and promotes and coordinates events.
Tracy’s creative visions have dressed many well-known celebrities and hundreds of locals. She translates ideas from her constant travels to her creations and continues to freelance design and consult for many national companies. Over the years, Tracy has designed, created and overseen costumes for Golden Gate Opera’s performances of: Hansel and Gretel; I Pagliacci; Carmen; Gianni Schicchi; Suor Angelica; The Telephone; GGO’s Gala Concert “Opera’s Greatest Hits“; and Opera Café at The Belrose Theatre. In addition to her creative work, Tracy also helps Golden Gate Opera with fundraising events.
Richard Adamson, Scenic Designer and Stage Manager
Active as both a Director and Scenic Designer, Mr. Adamson is the Scenic Designer and Stage Manager for Golden Gate Opera. He has designed sets for musicals and operas at colleges and regional theaters in Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. Most recently he designed Opera San Luis Obispo’s production of La Bohème.
After receiving his BA in voice at Pepperdine University, Richard got his graduate degree in Music Theater Direction under Götz Friedrich and August Everding at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Hamburg. He assisted in directing productions at the Metropolitan Opera in New York (Les Troyens – Fabrizio Melano); the Hamburgische Staatsoper; the Royal Opera House Covent Garden (Der Zwerg und Florentinische Tragödie – Adolf Dresen), and the Deutsche Opera (Aida – Götz Friedrich) in Berlin. Among other important works, he has designed and directed productions of La Traviata, Cosi fan Tutte, Madama Butterfly, Lucia di Lammermoor, Lakmé and the Sisters of Manzanar for California Opera Association.
Paula Langhoff Barton, Scenic Designer
Scenic Designer is a Fine Arts Graduate of the California State University system and the University of the Pacific and has extensive design and scenic art experience. Her initial exposure to opera design was in a production of La Bohème, which left her with an abiding love of design for the Italian repertoire. Talented in the multiple disciplines of watercolors, sculpture, and drawing, as well as interior design.
Ms. Barton is a mezzo-soprano and has toured Europe in addition to performing in Northern California with various choral societies. For Golden Gate Opera she has designed, in the style of Historic Realism, the 1299 set for Gianni Schicchi, the 1950s set for The Telephone, the 1905 set for Madama Butterfly and the 1820 set for Carmen.
Patrick Krobroth, Scenic Designer
Scenic Designer is the designer of GGO’s colorful storybook setting for Engelbert Humperdinck’sHansel and Gretel. He is a San Francisco based artist and illustrator who specializes in works related to music, literature and the state. Mr. Kroboth designs set and costumes for musicals, ballet and opera and has illustrated books and done artwork for magazines and album covers, theater poster and film strips. His artwork has been exhibited in the United States and Canada and in galleries in Europe and Russia. He has created the stage and/ or costume designs for productions of Un Ballo in Maschera, Pacific Opera Victoria (British Columbia, Canada),The Snow Queen, Studio 450 Theater (San Francisco), Leoncavallo’sLa Bohème, Opera York (Toronto, Canada), Hansel and Gretel, Golden Gate Opera (San Francisco), Most Happy Fella, California Historical Society Gala Fund Raiser, Enter the Guardsman, Lamplighters Musical Theater (San Francisco), Boy Gets Girl, and Wonder of the World for Actor Theatre (Santa Rosa, CA).
He also designed and stage directed Parlante’s Rossini’s 51st Birthday concert featuring members of the San Francisco Symphony. He has done sets for Lee Hoiby’s opera, Something New For the Zoo, Mozart’sMarriage of Figaro and G&S’s Ruddigore for Cinnabar Theater ( Petaluma , CA ). In December 2005 his sets and costumes were seen in a highly acclaimed world premier opera based on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol for the Canadian Children’s Opera Chorus ( Toronto ). Trinity Lyric Opera (Bay Area) selected his set and costume designs for its inaugural production of Vaughan Williams’ Pilgrim’s Progress in June 2006 and in 2007 he did the costumes and poster for TLO’s The Tenderland by Aaron Copland. Patrick was asked to design the 6th Street Studio Theater in Santa Rosa in it’s inaugural production of Becky Mode’s Fully Committed, a play that he had also designed for Ross Valley Players ( Marin County ) in July 2007.
He is responsible for set designs for RVP production of Shadowlands by William Nicholson, a large-scale Hansel and Gretel opera design for the Marin Civic Center Auditorium, Robert Ward’s The Crucible and Gift of the Magi by David Conte for Trinity Lyric Opera
Wendy Kauffman, Costume Designer
Fresh from receiving the Best Costumes Award for “The Wiz” (Berkeley Playhouse), Wendy is thrilled to find herself returning to Golden Gate Opera to work with Tracy Bell’s beautiful costumes for Madama Butterfly. Wendy’s most recent costume credits include “Shrek” (Berkeley Playhouse), “A Little Princess”, “The Wiz”. Her work can also be found in “The Costume-Maker’s Art: Cloaks of Fantasy, Masks of Revelation” by Lark Books. She holds a B.S. in Apparel Design from the University of Maryland.
All the hot news in the local sewing world can be found on Wendy’s column on Examiner.com (http://www.examiner.com/x-7166-Baltimore-Sewing-Examiner)
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