by G.F. Handel
Sepideh Moafi, soprano
Agrippina / Barbara Bush
Iranian soprano Sepideh Moafi is very excited to be doing Agrippina with Oakland Opera. Acclaimed as as the “goosebump-inducing soprano with an extremely warm voice that hits you to your core” (SF Weekly), she has performed at various venues including The Kennedy Center and Davis Symphony Hall, and with the Mendocino Music Festival, Livermore Valley Opera, with Mission Chamber Orchestra, the Conservatory Opera Theater and Golden Gate Opera, amongst others. Roles include Le Nozze di Figaro (Susanna), L’Elisir d’Amore (Adina), Don Giovanni (Zerlina), Armienta’s A River of Women (Elisa), L’Egisto (Clori), creating the role of The India in Conte’s America Tropical, Die Zauberflöte (1st Lady), The Fairy Queen (various roles), Hansel and Gretel (Sandman and Dew Fairy) and The Bartered Bride (Marjenka). Sepideh has been a featured soprano soloistin the Händel Messiah, Bach Magnificat, Bomtempo Requiem, Händel Ode for St. Cecilia's Day, Vivaldi Beatus Vir, Mozart Coronation Mass, Camille Saint-Saëns Christmas Oratorio, and Britten A Ceremony of Carols. Upcoming engagements include a concert of Iranian songs at Carnegie Hall and Amiens & Audrey in Shakespeare’s As You Like It with San Jose Repertory Theatre. Ms. Moafi is a graduate of the SF Conservatory of Music with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and I s currently completing her training at the A.C.T. Summer Training Congress. She is a certified yoga instructor and is on faculty teaching music and voice at Amabile School of Music.
Christa Pfeiffer, soprano
Nero / George W Bush
Miss Pheiffer has an active career in oratorio, opera and recital. Appearances include performances with American Bach Soloists, Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, Albany Consort, Oakland Symphony Chorus, Festival Opera, Trinity Lyric Opera, Old First Concerts and Gualala Arts Concerts. On the concert stage Ms Pfeiffer has been soloist in Mozart’s Mass in C Minor with the Arizona Masterworks Chorale, Haydn’s St Nicolai Mass at St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town, South Africa and J.S. and C.P.E. Bach’s Magnificats with the San Francisco Choral Society. Operatic roles include Dido (Dido and Æneas),St. Settlement (Four Saints in Three Acts) with the Mark Morris Dance Group/ABS, Ilia (Idomeneo), Musetta (La Boheme), Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi) and Gilda (Rigoletto). As a recitalist, Ms. Pfeiffer performed a live broadcast program including Poulenc’s Banalités on KPFA, Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 on the San Francisco Public Library recital series, and most recently Schubert’s Der Hirt auf dem Felsen at the Tiburon Music Festival. Recent engagements include Eden/Eden by Steve Reich with the San Francisco Ballet, a selection of songs by Messiaen as part of Grace Cathedral’s Messiaen at 100 concert series, Part 1 of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire with ChamberMix and the role of Clori in Handel’s Clori, Tirsi e Fileno. Upcoming performances include Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Bach Cantatas #82, #140 and #79 as well as his Kaffee Kantata. Ms Pfeiffer received a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from Eastman School of Music. She released her first CD entitled “Hush: Lullabies from around the World” in the summer of 2003. To find out more please visit www.christapfeiffer.com.
Jennifer Ashworth, soprano
Poppea / Monica Lewinsky
Miss Ashworth has been singing in the Bay Area since 1992, when she moved to the area to attend UC Berkeley. She earned her Masters in Vocal Performance from Holy Names University in 1998. She spends most of her performing time singing opera and operetta with Bay Area companies, such as Festival Opera, Berkeley Opera, San Jose Lyric Theater, Pocket Opera and Lamplighters Music Theatre. She works as a teaching artist for the San Francisco Opera Guild, and will be singing in this fall’s production of “Daughter of the Regiment.” She is the co-author of ‘Sing A Story,’ an SFOG program that travels to more than 200 classrooms, teaching “Hansel and Gretel,” “Das Rheingold” and “The Magic Flute” to K-2nd grades. This winter she was on the stage of the Royal Underground Theater, singing and playing flute, clarinet, saxophone and trombone in Sondheim’s “Company.” Jennifer is also the director of the MAD Band, an instrumental program for middle school students at the School of the Madeleine.
Sara Couden, mezzo-contralto
Narcissus / Donald Rumsfeld
Miss Couden is very excited to be singing for the first time with Oakland Opera. Previous roles include Marcellina in UCSC Opera Theater's Marriage of Figaro, Cayetana in Hector Armienta's River of Women, and the Voice of Antonia's Mother in Berkeley Opera's Tales of Hoffman. Awards include the Barlow Award from the SF Bay Area division of NATS, and the Eli Silver award from the Palo Alto-based Holt Competition. Sara currently studies with the amazing Donna Olson of Oakland. She will be starting the Masters in Music program in Vocal Performance at SF Conservatory in the Fall.
Igor Vieira, baritone
Otho / Bill Clinton
Mr. Vieira has sung 56 different operatic roles with such companies as the Teatro Municipal of Rio de Janeiro, the Amazonian Opera Festival, The Belém Opera Festival, Opera du Villecroze (France,) Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Opera Theater of Philadelphia, Teatro Barakaldo (Spain,) West Bay Opera, Berkeley Opera, San Francisco Lyric Opera, Fremont Opera, Rimrock Opera, Festival Opera/Walnut Creek, Oakland Opera Theater, Teatro Sao Pedro (Brazil,) Belcantanti Opera, Pocket Opera and Opera Santa Barbara. He was a world finalist of the 1995 Luciano Pavarotti Voice Competition in Philadelphia, a recipient of the Margareth Tudor Award (Princeton) for two consecutive years and the Kaplan Foundation Award (Kansas City) for outstanding artistry, as well as Second Place on the East Bay Opera League Voice Competition in 2006 and a semi-finalist of the Competizione d'Opera in Dresden - Germany in 2008. Mr. Vieira holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from the Westminster Choir College in Princeton – New Jersey, and a Master’s Degree in Voice Performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Andrew J. Chung, baritone
Pallas / Dick Cheney
Mr. Chung has sung with numerous vocal ensembles including San Francisco's Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, and numerous University of California Berkeley organizations: the Opera Workshop, Chamber Chorus, University Chorus, Collegium Musicum and Gospel Chorus. Last year, he has appeared as one of the aria and recitative soloist in Passion According to Saint Matthew by J.S. Bach with UC Berkeley’s University and Chamber Chorus. In 1998 he founded the group Bay Area Classical Harmonies (B.A.C.H.) chamber orchestra and chorus and in 2004 he founded the Bakersfield Opera company. As director of this organization he regularly conducts and sings with the ensemble in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2002 he was chosen conductor of the Berkeley Summer Symphony Orchestra leading Beethoven’s 5th Symphony and Berlioz’s Roman Overture. With Cal Opera he conducted the fully staged opera, Die Zauberflöte. He has sung principal roles at North Bay Opera and San Francisco Lyric Opera. Andrew sang the role of Leporello in both BACH and Bakersfield Opera production of Don Giovanni and served as the music director for Spotlight Theater production of Steven Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd. He served as the music director at the Claremont Country Club and presently as a music director for the All Saints Lutheran Church in Novato. In September, he will be conducting Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro with BACH Opera here at the Oakland Metro Operahouse.
John Bischoff, bass
Claudius / George Bush Sr.
Mr. Bischoff is extremely pleased to appear with Oakland Opera Theater for the first time singing Claudius/George H. W. Bush in Agrippina.. John’s other roles have included William Jennings Bryan in The Ballad of Baby Doe, the Sacristan in Tosca and Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet all with Berkeley Opera; Daland in Der fliegende Holländer with West Bay Opera; Zuniga in Carmen and Bartolo in Le Nozze di Figaro both with Pacific Repertory Opera; and Snug in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Festival Opera in Walnut Creek. As a concert soloist, John has performed Bach’s Magnificat and Mass in G Major with the Sacramento Choral Society and Haydn’s Creation at California State University in Chico. John was privileged to sing for three years with the acclaimed choral ensemble Chanticleer and he continues to perform with numerous professional choral groups in the Bay Area. A New Jersey native, John received a Master’s degree in voice at the Manhattan School of Music and graduated with honors from Princeton University with a Bachelor’s degree in English and American Studies. Before devoting himself to a performing career in music, John taught English in Guangzhou, China, and worked as a journalist for Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul, producing programs for regional and national broadcast and using his voice in a different capacity - as newscaster, reporter and host.
Texas native Kristen Brown has been acclaimed for her “impressive, ringing soprano” (Marin Independent Journal), and hailed as “San Francisco’s up-and-coming powerhouse” (Petaluma Argus-Courier, Santa Rosa Press Democrat). Kristen made her professional debut as Magda Sorel (The Consul), with Cinnabar Opera in 2007, and favorite roles include The Mayor in the World Premiere of What They Seem, Agathe (Der Freischütz), Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), and the title roles in Arabella, Vanessa, and Carmen.Kristen has won awards from the Pacific Musical Society, the East Bay Opera League, and Long Island Masterworks and holds a Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Kristen can be seen in Fall 2009 in the world premiere of Jack Dubowsky’s Halloween in the Castro, celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco; and in Goat Hall Production’s premiere of Solidarity by Patrick Dailly about the Polish Solidarity movement. Kristen’s stage management and administration credits include Oakland Opera, San Francisco Lyric Opera, the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco, PRIDE Concert, and LIEDER ALIVE!