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West Edge Opera

Ariadne auf Naxos - Fall 2011

Funny and touching, and graced with a combination of musical elegance and theatrical inventiveness, this production marked the latest successful step in the exciting transfor­mation of what was once the Berkeley Opera. Under artistic director Mark Streshinsky, who also directed this pro­duction, the company has undertaken a fresh and provocative approach to the operatic repertoire, without sacrificing any­thing in the way of musical values or seriousness of purpose."
— Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle

 

The West Edge Opera audaciously squeezed a huge Strauss opera onto a modest stage this November, another win for the small but popular opera company. As accessible to modern audiences as it was authentic in approach, Ariadne auf Naxos continued a year of “Popera” under the new artistic direction of Mark Streshinsky. Rather than a sea of grey, as one might see in more staid venues, the El Cerrito theater’s younger crowd was by turns confused and delighted by the production...

...In the first act, the orchestra remained onstage, with the house lights up, and actors rushing back and forth grabbing costumes and props. Streshinsky came onstage to ask us to be patient while the orchestra “rehearsed,” and to feel free to quietly talk and text while the “Composer” was trying to combine two programs. It was droll and effective, and, while Strauss’ Overture filled the hall, many in the audience wondered when it would begin. Like Noises Off, the back-stage farce was the backbone of the opera. -- Adam Broner Repeat Performances

 

Mark Streshinsky and his production cohorts succeeded brilliantly in transforming the contorted plot into a thoroughly satisfying, entertaining show." — Cheryl North, Contra Costa Times

West Edge Opera has boldness in its name, a boldness it has earned with productions that rethink operas, from the score to the stage. Now, Artistic Director Mark Streshinsky has upped the casting level, as well, making it a comparable strength and the company’s most notable aspect. ... The company came up with trumps, offering a strong, well-rehearsed cast that confidently dispatched Strauss’ demanding score." — Michael Zweibach, San Francisco Classical Voice

West Edge Opera

Xerxes Fall 2010

Handel's operas don't venture into the world of comedy very often. But when they do—and when they're presented with the degree of theatrical verve and musical allure that the Berkeley West Edge Opera brings to its season-opening production of 'Xerxes'—the results are utterly delightful." — Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle



"San Francisco Opera's Xerxes was never as coherent or clever as last year's modern-dress production by the low-budget Berkeley West Edge Opera, with baroque-opera expert Alan Curtis conducting and Mark Streshinsky directing a young cast that rivaled San Francisco's."
— David Littlejohn, The Wall Steet Journal


San Francisco Classical Voice rates The West Edge Opera production of Xerxes one of it's top ten best classical concerts of the year! : "With its new name and excellent new venue, Berkeley West Edge Opera (formerly Berkeley Opera) made the transition to a new era with considerable allure. The season reached its zenith late in the fall with a witty, charming, and beautifully sung production of Handel’s Xerxes, directed by artistic director Mark Streshinsky and conducted by Alan Curtis."


"Saturday's opening of Georg Frideric Handel's 1738 opera, Xerxes, was a triumph. Had I sat through it with eyes closed, I would have felt I had just heard a concert of the world's most sublime Baroque music, artfully performed. On the other hand, had I witnessed it with the sound blotted out, I would have felt that I had been enormously entertained by a show falling somewhere between a Feydeau farce and a Charlie Chaplin silent film. ... In short, Berkeley West Edge's Xerxes has it all: gorgeous music, terrific singers, simple but effective sets, vivid but tasteful lighting, and quite unexpectedly -- comedy." — Cheryl North, Contra Costa Times


Berkeley West Edge Opera's First Rate Xerxes... With a first-rate cast, world class conductor, and superb period instrument orchestra, the El Cerrito–based company reinvented as Berkeley West Edge Opera has taken another major step forward into the future. Curiously, the vehicle for forging ahead is a modern adaptation of George Friedrich Handel’s comedy Xerxes, which premiered in London over 272 years ago. All’s the better, given the uniform excellence of the production."— Jason Victor Serinus, San Francisco Classical Voice

 

Lyric Opera of Kansas City

The Marriage of Figaro


"On this opening night of The Marriage of Figaro, this past Saturday, I had a great deal of fun. People laughed in more places than the “right ones”. This felt to be approachable sitcom with a classic soundtrack. Fun choreography and acting anchored in gorgeous singing, harmony, and energetic projection without microphones. Mozart always feels fresh to me, and this blend of theatre, opera, artistic design, and music literally rocked the house. A few aficionados overheard at intermission verbally presented dissertation like philosophical analysis of the update. And for those seeing Figaro getting married for the first time, it was a joy to imagine their wonder, their connection with this piece in years to come. For the wonderful long-time patrons I felt a bit of their poignant bittersweet melancholy as the stage became bare to the bones at the end. The end of the beginning which begins this Fall five blocks south. Memories over forty years at the Lyric." Tom Ryan - Crossroads Currents

 

"The cast of the Marriage of Figaro owned the show and the audience was more than thrilled at the production. What seemed like an enormous risk when it comes to encouraging patrons to get out their pocketbooks and support the new performing arts center was instead a brilliant success and only ensured that the upcoming season at the Kauffman Center will unveil the true genius of this company." - Jen Harris -- The Vignette



Lyric Opera of Kansas City

Giulio Cesare

"If a production of Julius Caesar can be adequately described as edgy, then Mark Streshinsky and Ward Holmquist's partnership achieved that and more via striking dramatic moments and strategic artistic choices... The genre Handel inherited and perfected was one that typically boasted many subplots, and Streshinsky celebrated to an appropriate extent each one... Baroque opera is admittedly plagued by problems of dramatic sequence, and one major complaint is that the bulk of action typically takes place off stage, only to be recounted in lengthy, speech like recitative. The aria that follows conveniently leaves a star singer alone on stage to muse (with vocal acrobats abounding) about what transpired in the preceding dialogue; to be sure, characters do not so much act as react. This formulaic cycle poses for modern audiences a predicament; we crave the visual and dramatic effect of action and cannot help but feel a little left out when a story does not deliver. Streshinsky's alternatives eased this for Saturday evening's audience: the "exit aria" convention was avoided, and there was a substantial fight scene in Act III, cleverly choreographed in slow motion and definitely worth the wait... The collaboration between musical and stage direction brought to this production an impressive range of ideas and called for more animation from (and more interaction among) peripheral characters; this option was crucial to dramatic depth and narrative continuity." KC Metropolis

 

Florida Grand Opera 
Anna Karenina (world premiere) 

Spring 2007

"The production, skillfully executed by Mark Streshinsky, powerfully moves and heightens the drama taking place... The confusion and bustle of the railway station as seen through Anna's eyes, is a striking coup de theater." Miami Sun-Sentinel

 Opera Theatre of St. Louis
Anna Karenina

"Director Mark Streshinsky, who worked with Graham on the production, finds ways to bring movement and connection to the opera. The show is beautiful, with a double turntable assisting the action." St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"As staged by Mark Streshinsky, the results are certainly dramatically arresting." Dallas Morning News

Cincinnati Opera

The Tales of Hoffmann Summer 2006

Hoffmann was a visual and vocal delight from beginning to end. In an opera that is lengthy and difficult to stage, this performance had one tour de force after another... The production succeeded in capturing the supernatural mystery, magic and humor of Hoffmann's adventures in love through the seamless and imaginative staging ...by Mark Streshinsky." The Cincinnati Enquirer

Cincinnati Opera

Lucie de Lammermoor Summer 2007

"The bleak, dark set design by John Conklin echoed the desolation of the Scottish Highlands, and of Lucie's predicament. Mark Streshinsky's effective staging emphasized her isolation." Cincinnati Enquirer

Cincinnati Opera

Carmen

"Mark Streshinsky's painstaking direction was unfailingly lively and detailed, keeping the audience continually informed and engrossed in the action." music in cincinnati.com 

Michigan Opera Theater (Detroit)

La Cenerentola

"So entertaining is the MOT production... that you simply never think about the virtuosity required of every singer on that stage. It's a terrific show -- vivacious, colorful, infectiously tuneful and very funny... The show benefits in a thousand ways from director Mark Streshinsky's free wheeling comic style." The Detroit News

"This is comic genius on the part of the very gifted stage director, Mark Streshinsky, who did a superb job of staging the opera with extrordinarily amusing antics from beginning to end." Grosse Pointe News

Sacramento Opera

Tosca   

"...Mark Streshinsky's straightforward production...hits the mark by letting the passions and sexual coercion bloom on its own terms." Sacramento Bee         

Berkeley Opera

Chrysalis

"Mark Streshinsky’s skeletal set, as well as his direction of Ellen’s decline and transformation, perfectly suited this opera, which deserves more productions." Opera News Online

"Stage Director Mark Streshinsky brought Ellen's plight to vivid theatrical life, Chrysalis unfolds in a series of neatly contained vignettes that shuttle Ellen between bedrooms, boardroom, barroom and shrink's office. The pacing and action is fluent and assured..." San Francisco Chronicle

"Mark Streshinsky's Stage design and direction shows the deft, light touch that characterizes Chrysalis throughout. His use of mobile screen flexability defines space, from bedroom to psychiatrist office to corporate headquarters to the bar where chorus and principals meet and gossip, silently gliding in and out and across the stage, clapping shut only once when the screen seems to swallow the figures it framed...perfect timing throughout." The Berkeley Daily Planet                       

Berkeley Opera

Legend of the Ring

The Oakland Tribune Top Ten Best Classical Music Events of 2004: #8 "Legend of the Ring, they said it couldn't be done, but somehow the ever-enterprising Berkeley Opera condensed Wagner's massive Ring cycle into a single night in March. ...directed by Mark Streshinsky and conducted by Jonathan Khuner, was fast, clever, well sung and surprisingly cogent. -Oakland Tribune

"Staged by the brilliant young stage director, Mark Streshinsky, with stunning projections by both Streshinsky and Jeremy Knight... The challenges of presenting scenes from the Rhine to Valhalla from forests to dragon's lairs to the circle of fire to the final apocalypse and rebirth of the world were masterful visual components that could stand on their own as artistic achievements. They served to powerfully propel the drama forward. It is testimony to Khuner's and Streshinsky's art that four evenings of such a work could be produced on less money than a major company might spend to build ten costumes." Berkeley Daily Planet

"...It's also wonderfully entertaining, with Streshinsky's staging lending clarity, humor and imagination to every scene. Using nothing more than three large video screens, two chairs and a large plexiglass cube, the director creates the opera's myriad settings, with palaces, caves, mountain summits, fire and water suggested in photo montage and film." Contra Costa Times

"Presented in a stunningly effective production by Berkeley Opera, this three and a half hour "potted" Ring managed to produce more goosebumps and emotion than many of the 17 cycles of Wagner's masterwork I've attended in 55 years of international opera-going... Mark Streshinsky, whose clever staging got over most of Wagner's awkward moments... produced smiles thrills and tears. Can't ask for better than that for any amount of money on any international operatic stage." Stephanie von Buchau, Bay Area Reporter

Sarasota Opera

Faust

"Stage Director Mark Streshinsky moved his singers with purpose and precision... his stage pictures were like old master paintings." Venice Gondolier

 

 

 

 

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