West Edge Opera
West Edge Opera is an opera company based in the East Bay. Originally known as Berkeley Opera, the company was created in 1979 by Richard Goodman, an opera enthusiast and professor at UC Berkeley. The company changed its name to West Edge Opera after losing its performance space at Berkeley's Julia Morgan Theater and moving to El Cerrito. Since then, the company has been known for its frequent moves and unconventional performance spaces. These have included the abandoned 16th Street train station and the Pacific Pipe warehouse, both in Oakland. After a crackdown on alternative performance spaces due to the 2016 Ghost Ship fire, the company moved to the Craneway Convention Center, a former automobile assembly plant in Richmond for its 2018 season. For the 2019 season, West Edge Opera performed in Oakland's Bridge Yard near the Bay Bridge. The site was once a maintenance building for the now-defunct Key System trains.
Under music director Jonathan Khuner and general director Mark Streshinsky, both previously of the San Francisco Opera, the company has focused on lesser-known, contemporary, and otherwise avant-garde operas. These have included Lulu by Alban Berg, The Chastity Tree by Vicente Martín y Soler, Hydrogen Jukebox by Phillip Glass and Allen Ginsberg, and Quartett by Luca Francesconi. Elkhanah Pulitzer is a frequent director (The Tender Land, Mahogany Songspiel, Hydrogen Jukebox, Lulu, Powder Her Face, Quartett, and The Threepenny Opera).
West Edge Opera currently functions as a festival, showing three operas during late summer. It also hosts Snapshot, a presentation of excerpts from new operas by Bay Area artists.
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