Orpheus and Eurydice
[Orphée et Eurydice]
Christoph Willibald Gluck
- “Opera Santa Barbara’s delightful production at the Lobero Theatre was especially strong in establishing the unified aesthetic that Gluck was striving for, giving music, song, story, and dance equal status. As sung by soprano Marnie Breckenridge, Eurydice was unquestionably worth going to hell – or Hades – for. The chorus and marvelous troupe of dancers consistently gave the audience the right amount to look at and to hear. Still, the real star of any Gluck Orpheus and Eurydice is inevitably the singer who portrays Orpheus; Layna Chianakas was outstanding; she gave the piece a strong anchor and captured the imagination of the audience, sending waves of excitement through the hall. ”
– Charles Donelan / SB Independent
- “Opera Santa Barbara’s “Orpheus and Eurydice,” in another strong display of José Maria Condemi’s vision, presented a fresh – and sometimes fizzy – take on a Baroque treat. Jean-Francois Revon’s stage set was admirably resourceful and effective, enhanced by light designer Lucas Benjamin Krech’s deft work. Elaborate dance passages were beautifully designed by choreographer Yannis Adoniou. At the core, of course, the production’s attributes would be for naught without a strong Orpheus; Ms. Chianakas sang with a strength of feeling and technical command. Ms. Breckenridge’s Eurydice made the most of the late-breaking vocal foray; Ms. Cadelago’s appearances as L’Amour perked up and modernized the spirit with its giddy flair.”
– Josef Woodard / SB News–Press
- “Mezzo-soprano Layna Chainakas poignantly sang the title role in this adventurous, lively production of Orphée et Eurydice, provocatively directed by Jose Maria Condemi. The lighting and set projections by Lucas Benjaminh Krech and Jean-Francois Revon were a highlight. Jose Luis Moscovich conducted the multi-faceted orchestra with expert style. Soprano Marnie Breckenridge sang Eurydice with tender fragility. The dancers, choreographed stylishly by Yannis Adoniou, performed with fluid grace. The versatile chorus was consistently engaging, a credit to chorus master Brent Wilson and the talented singers. The 2011-2012 Season ended on a high artistic note, setting the stage for next season’s ambitious productions. ”
– Robert F Adams / Casa Magazine
- “Opera Santa Barbara staged a delightful version of Gluck’s “Orpheus and Eurydice.” Mezzo-soprano Layna Chianakas acquitted herself superbly as Orpheus; Eurydice was equally well played by soprano Marnie Breckenridge. Soprano Angela Cadelago, as L’Amour, injected some humor into the proceedings with her wings, gold bike and Betsey Johnson-like funky outfits. With a wonderful chorus and troupe of dancers, the Jose Maria Condemi- directed show, with conductor Jose Luis Moscovich and scenic design by Jean-Francois Revon, was a high note from beginning to end. It was Baroque opera to savor…”
– Richard Mineards / Montecito Miscellany
- “Orphée et Eurydice has much to offer a 21st century audience, particularly the abundance of melody. Layna Chianakas was dramatically and visually effective in the role of Orphée. Eurydice was nicely sung and acted by Marnie Breckenridge. Condemi is a stage director concerned with the motivations and actions of each individual on stage; dance sequences were organized in a succession that moves the action forward. The costuming of the choristers representing the forces of Hades were cleverly constructed. The historic Lobero was a very nice setting for Condemi’s presentation of Gluck’s wonderful score in its felicitous French version.”
– William Burnett / Opera Warhorses
- “The originality of Opera Santa Barbara and its artistic director Jose Maria Condemi’s production was clear. The work of set designer Jean-François Revon and lighting director Lucas Benjamin Krech equally contributed to Elysium’s utopian feel; the rather minimalistic set design highlighted the complex plot line of the opera while keeping with the stage action’s surprising simplicity. The two-fold effect of costuming and choreography (the collaborative work of San Francisco-based choreographer Yannis Adoniou and costumer Miller James) was elegantly dark. The role of Orpheus is a difficult one; Chianakas’ rich mezzo never faltered. The production of an opera that dates back to 1762 based on a myth that dates back to ancient Greece, is something to celebrate when it involves this amount of innovation, creativity and delicious darkness.”
– Emily Hunt / Daily Nexus
José Luis Moscovich
José Luis Moscovich
Conductor / The Consul
April 2014 (debut)
Assistant Conductor & Chorus Master
Lucas Benjaminh Krech
Lucas Benjaminh Krech
Heather Sterling is an accomplished makeup artist and hair stylist with a wide range of experience that includes work in theater, film, print, and fashion. She is a licensed cosmetologist and has a degree in fine art with an emphasis in psychology. Armed with an extensive knowledge of period makeup and hairstyles, Heather first designed for Opera Santa Barbara in 2006 for the company's performances of Tosca; since then her work has been seen in nearly forty OSB productions. She regularly designs for the Music Academy of the West's summer operas and she recently designed for the Granada Theatre's A Christmas Carol.
Hair & Makeup Designer / Tosca
February 2006 (debut)
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)