Date & Time: Sunday May 13, 7 pm
Venue: 1750 29th Avenue, San Francisco
Tickets: $25 General, $20 Seniors/Students
Deborah Benedict – Musical Director
Sibel Demirmen – Soprano
Justin Marsh – Tenor
Don Hodge – Tenor
Jere Torkelsen – Baritone
Paul McCurdy – Piano
A concert performance of Handel’s 1718 opera Acis and Galatea, the tragic love story between a water nymph and a shepherd. Acis, the shepherd, is in love with the water nymph, Galatea. The monster, Polyphemus, also loves her. In a jealous rage, and spurned by Galatea, Polyphemus hurls a boulder at Acis and mortally wounds him. Galatea uses her magic powers to change her dead lover into a stream that will flow eternally.
About the Artists
Deborah Benedict is an instructor of voice at UC Berkeley and Dominican University of California. With a MA in voice from The New England Conservatory of Music, she apprenticed with The Santa Fe and Long Beach operas. She has performed operatic roles with the Yale Symphony, New Haven Opera, and Harvard Opera. She has performed with the Berkeley Opera, West Bay Opera, Diablo Light Opera, and San Bernadino Opera. She sang for twelve years with the chorus of The San Francisco Opera. Today, she directs choirs at St. Patrick’s Church and Congregation Rodef Shalom. Deborah was music director for the West Marin Players for five years. She is also the choral contractor for Skywalker Ranch recordings, singing in vocals for video games and movies, among them: Spykids, Hell-Boy, and The Giver.
Jere Torkelsen has been a member of the San Francisco Opera chorus since 1987. During his tenure he has performed many roles including, Gen. John Rawlins in Philip Glasses Appomattox, Melisso in Handel’s Alcina, The Imperial Commissioner in Madama Butterfly, and The Journalist in Berg’s Lulu, among others. He has also appeared with other Bay Area opera companies as The Mother (Kurt Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins), Don Alfonso (Cosi fan tutte), Germont (La Traviata), Silvio (Pagliacci), Sharpless (Madama Butterfly), Count Almavia (The Marriage of Figaro), and the Four Villains in The Tales of Hoffmann. His concert performances with orchestra recently include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Mozart’s Requiem, Verdi’s Requiem, Brahm’s Requiem, Hayden’s Creation, Copland’s American Folk Songs, and Faure’s Requiem. He is also active in musical theater. Recent performances include Tony in The Most Happy Fella and Fred in Kiss Me Kate. He sang Firman and Bouquet in Weber’s The Phantom of the Opera while on the national tour.
Hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as a “superb singer” with a “crystalline voice,” Sibel Demirmen is a versatile soprano praised for her charming stage presence and colorful coloratura sound. She has sung with many Bay Area companies including Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Townsend Opera Players, Berkeley Opera, West Marin Players, Ross Valley Players, Marin Musical Theatre Company, Marin Baroque, Lucas Valley Chamber Orchestra, Thick Description, City Opera SF and is a member of Goat Hall Production’s The Kurt Weill Project. Leading roles include Kate in Kiss me Kate, Rosabella in The Most Happy Fella, Josephine in H.M.S . Pinafore, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Oscar in Un Ballo in Maschera, Lisa in La Sonnambula, Gretel in Hansel und Gretel, Yum Yum in The Mikado, Mabel in Pirates of Penzance, Adina in Elixir of Love, and Adele in Die Fledermaus. She debuted and recorded the role of Maria in David Conte’s opera America Tropical. On the concert stage she has performed as a soloist with numerous orchestras including the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra and The Choral Symphony Society of New York. Ms. Demirmen holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University and a Master of Music from Rice University.
Paul G. McCurdy is a teacher, coach, and pianist for Chabot College, Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory, and the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco. He performs in recital regularly with instrumentalists and vocalists and works with a wide range of organizations, including A.C.T., the Hamlin School, Lamplighters, the Oakland-East Bay Gay Men’s Chorus, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Solo Opera, Volti, and Woodminster Summer Musicals. He studied music at the University of Georgia and holds degrees in anthropology and German. In 2014 he recorded Mozart KLAR, an album of Mozart piano sonatas, available through iTunes and CDBaby.