In a career that has spanned three decades, Stage Director, Mezzo-Soprano, and Voice Teacher, Layna Chianakas has portrayed over 50 leading opera roles across the United States, including over 80 performances of Carmen. Most recently, she was heard with Intermountain Opera, in the role Mme. Larina in Eugene Onegin and with Livermore Valley Opera as Filipyevna in Eugene Onegin. She returns to both companies this spring as Emilia in Verdi’s Otello, and Marcellina in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. 

 As an award-winning opera Stage Director, her most recent win was the 2021 American Prize for Opera Production for Livermore Valley Opera’s double-bill of Zemlinsky’s A Florentine Tragedy and Pucinni’s Gianni Schicchi and the National Opera Association third prize for Postcard from Morocco for the San José State Opera Theater.  For Opera San José, she directed La Voix humaine, Hansel & Gretel, Carmen and Il barbiere di Siviglia. Other directing credits include, Le nozze di Figaro, Cavalli’s L’Ormindo, Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortileges, Die Fledermaus, Orpheus in the Underworld, as well as a fully-staged version of Mendelssohn’s Elijah.  Rachel J. Peter’s Rootabaga Country marked her third production as the Stage Director for the Vivace Youth Chorus Summer Opera Workshop, which saw her productions of Menotti’s Chip and His Dog, and Krasa’s Brundibar. Opera Santa Barbara presented her Summer Youth Opera production of Ben Moore’s Odyssey, Jake Heggie’s At the Statue of Venus for Soprano Young Artist, Brooklyn Snow, and she returns again this October to stage their double-bill of Falla’s El amor brujo (with choreographer, Cecily MacDougall) and Puccini’s Il Tabarro.

 In addition to a thriving private voice studio, Ms. Chianakas is Vocal Director of Musical Theater for Valley Christian High School Conservatory in San Jose, CA, where her credits include, Hello, Dolly!, Mary Poppins, Godspell, Found: A Musical Revue, and The Addams Family.

She lives in San Jose, CA with her husband, and two children; her greatest productions.


Last OSB Role: Stage Director for OSB’s Young Artist Showcase, At the Statue of Venus by Jake Heggie, Brooklyn Snow, Soprano


Upcoming Opera: Emilia, Otello, Livermore Valley Opera; Marcellina, Le nozze di Figaro, Intermountain Opera

Carmen / Carmen

Jan/Feb 2002 (debut)