Cast of Teatro ZinZani
American soprano Marnie Breckenridge is captivating international audiences with her in-depth portrayals of roles ranging from the Baroque to bel canto to modern. A favorite among some of the most gifted composers of our time, her excellent musicianship and technique have established her as a go-to performer of critically acclaimed new works with her “lovely soprano” voice (The New York Times), “lyrical poignancy and dramatic power” (The Chicago Tribune) and singing as “resplendent as always” (The San Francisco Chronicle). Recent favorite roles include, Mother in Little’s Dog Days, La Princesse in Glass’s Orphée, Sierva Maria in Peter Eötvös’s Love And Other Demons, Emily in Ned Rorem’s Our Town, Margarita Xirgu in Golijov’s Ainadamar, the title role in Milhaud’s Médée, Beck Strand in Kaminsky’s Today It Rains, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, title role in Lucia di Lammermoor, Gilda in Rigoletto, Gretel in Hansel & Gretel, and Cunegonde in Candide deemed “simply terrific” (Opera Magazine UK) and “note perfect” (Prague Post). She has sung leading roles with the San Francisco Opera, English National Opera, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Prague State Opera, The Metropolitan Opera Guild, Arizona Opera, Opera Parallèle, and other US and European houses. She has also performed concerts at Carnegie Hall, the Ravinia Music Festival, the Bard Music Festival, Teatro São Paulo, Prototype, and National Sawdust, as well as with the San Francisco Symphony (main stage and Soundbox) and Philharmonia Baroque. Breckenridge is a featured soloist on the 2012 New World Records’ album of Victor Herbert songs, and can be heard on Dimitri Hvorostovsky's Heroes and Villains, Vocal Music of David Conte, Dog Days (Little) and countless other recordings by American composers. She trained at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in voice (MM) and at The American Conservatory Theatre in drama. www.marniebreckenridge.com
Chanteuse Kristin Clayton
American lyric soprano Kristin Clayton’s magnificent voice has filled opera houses and various venues around the world for over two decades. Her versatility as a performer has led to featured appearances in opera, concerts, recitals, as well as broadcast on television, radio, and recordings with a particular emphasis in the development and debut of new work. Ms. Clayton created a sensation when she starred in the World Premiere of Jake Heggie's and Terrance McNally's one-woman opera At the Statue of Venus for the grand opening of Denver's Ellie Caulkins Opera House. She premiered the role of Mrs. Gloop in the new opera, The Golden Ticket, by Peter Ash, based on Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Opera Theater of St. Louis, which she also performed with Atlanta Opera. She debuted the leading soprano role of Beatrice, opposite Mezzo-soprano legend Frederica von Stade in Heggie’s opera Three Decembers, which enjoyed premiere performances with Houston Grand Opera and San Francisco Opera. Ms. Clayton has enjoyed a long relationship with the San Francisco Opera starting with her 1994 debut singing Julie in the world premiere of Susa’s The Dangerous Liaisons (telecast on“Great Performances” on PBS). As a San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow, she sang the role of Andromache in the showcase productions of Tippett’s King Priam and Onoria in Handel’s Ezio. As a member of the prestigious Merola Program she sang Rosalinde and Adele in Die Fledermaus, which she toured with Western Opera Theater. The San Francisco Chronicle described her voice as “uncommonly rich and velvety, her singing sensuous and appealing.” She was the featured soprano in the United Nations 50th Anniversary Celebration concert, performed for President Bill Clinton and the then First Lady, Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton. The concert was telecast worldwide. Her performances at San Francisco Opera included her criticallyacclaimed debut as Nedda in I Pagliacci, Echo in Ariadne auf Naxos, and the Young Babylonian in Massenet’s Herodiade with Placido Domingo and Renee Fleming (recorded and released by Sony Classical). At Wolf Trap Opera, her portrayal of Donna Anna led The Washington Post to declare “she handles her extraordinarily demanding role with a big, agile, accurate voice and the right blend of emotions.” Additional opera credits include First Lady in Die Zauberflote with Houston Grand Opera and Opera Colorado, Mimi in La Boheme, Violetta in La Traviata and Magda in La Rondine with Chautauqua Opera. Other roles include Norina in Don Pasquale, Marguerite in Faust, and Micaela in La tragedie de Carmen by Peter Brook with Festival Opera in Walnut Creek, CA. Updated 12/26/18 Her orchestral engagements with the San Francisco Symphony have included a critically acclaimed tribute to Leonard Bernstein and a semi-staged revival of On the Town, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas. Ms. Clayton also appeared twice with the San Francisco Symphony under conductor George Daugherty, performing the roles of the Sandman and Dew Fairy in a concert version of Hansel und Gretel to an audience of 50,000 people in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, as well taking the lead in the orchestra’s Deck The Halls Christmas concerts. Ms. Clayton and Maestro Daugherty also appeared in concert with The National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa. Daugherty has conducted Ms. Clayton in concerts with Symphony Silicon Valley and Ballet San Jose, as well as in concert at The Herbst Theatre in San Francisco, with musicians from San Francisco Symphony, the London Symphony, The Royal Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She has performed Poulenc’s Gloria and Orff’s Carmina Burana with the San Mateo Masterworks Chorale and Mimi in a concert version of La Boheme with Marin Symphony. In Europe, Ms. Clayton was the soprano soloist in Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with the Leningrad State Conservatory Orchestra, and in Mozart’s Requiem with the Belgrade Radio Symphony Orchestra. Kirstin has performed At the Statue of Venus in Sao Paulo, Brazil in the Teatro San Pedro on a concert of American Opera for the opening of the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, and on a gala concert with Susan Graham for the reopening of the historic Asolo Opera House in Sarasota, FL. Ms. Clayton is featured on a recording of songs by American composer Jake Heggie, titled The Faces of Love (RCA-Red Seal). In San Diego, she sang a solo recital accompanied by Maestro Donald Runnicles and in Santa Monica, performed a duet recital with Frederica von Stade to open Dustin Hoffman’s Broad Stage Theater. On the acclaimed Schwabacher Debut Recital series, Ms. Clayton performed the world premiere of Heggie’s song cycle, Eve Song, commissioned especially for her. Her most recent engagements include reprisals of the role of Beatrice in Jake Heggie’s opera Three Decembers with Hawaii Opera Theater, which reunited the original cast and Kitty Hart in Opera Parallele’s production of Dead Man Walking. She continues to play “The Diva” at Teatro ZinZanni. In 2019 Ms. Clayton is principal soprano in George Daugherty’s and David Wong’s new music/art/theatre//multimedia
Chanteuse Mickael Bajazet, Acrobat
Mickael Bajazet is a physical comedian, acrobat, dancer, as well as a choreographer for circus acts who trained at the acclaimed Annie Fratellini Circus School in France. Mickael performed for years with the trio Les Petits Freres, an act that defied gravity and wowed international audiences at top venues across Europe including Cirque d’hiver Bouglione in Paris, Appolo Variete in Düsseldorf, Tiger Palast in Frankfurt, and Winter Garden in Berlin. With Teatro ZinZanni, he has performed in Chicago, San Francisco and is happy to call Seattle his home, where Mickael premiered his new act with contortionist and dancer, Vita Radionova.
Bojon Knezevic, Opera Singer
Bass-baritone Bojan Knezevic has received critical acclaim for his many operatic portrayals in opera houses in America and in Europe. The dark and resonant timbre of his voice matched with his comic timing and versatility have created many highlights in his 30 year career. Mr. Knezevic sang a heralded Wozzeck (“The cast was top-notch, led by Bojan Knezevic in a knowing and musically focused performance in the title role” – San Francisco Chronicle) for San Francisco’s Opera Parallele, as well as George Wilson in The Great Gatsby. Other highlights include Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro with the New National Theatre in Tokyo and Sarasota Opera, Scarpia in Tosca, Marcello, Schaunard, Colline and Benoit/Alcindoro in La Boheme, the four Villains in The Tales of Hoffman, Leporello in Don Giovanni, Don Alfonso in Cosi Fan Tutte, Don Pasquale in Don Pasquale, and Don Bartolo in Il Barbiere di Siviliglia. With West Edge Opera, he sang Alberich in Wagner’s RING Cycle and Schigolch in Berg’s Lulu. He wowed audiences as Emile de Becque in South Pacific with Utah Festival Opera and Anchorage Opera, as well as appearing as Frosch in Die Fledermaus with Chicago Lyric Opera, directed by John Copley. He began his operatic career singing in all the major opera companies in the former Yugoslavia, including Belgrade, Zagreb and Ljubljana. He then performed concerts in Greece, Romania and in Belgium, where he sang Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro, which brought him to the United States and to San Francisco, where he currently resides with his wife and two children. As a young artist there, Mr. Knezevic was invited to participate in the Merola Program (1992-94), Western Opera Theater national tours (1992-94) and as a 1995 Adler Fellow with the San Francisco Opera Center. With the San Francisco Opera, he received accolades for portrayals of Dr. Dulcamara in L’Elixir d’Amore, Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola, Harasta in The Cunning Little Vixen and Hali in L’Italiana in Algeri. He enjoyed working with Chicago Lyric Opera, covering Alberich in Wagner’s Das Rheingold and their entire 2005 Ring Cycle. The artist's credits also include Carnegie Hall performances of Mozart's Coronation Mass and Great Mass in C Minor, as well as the U.S. premiere of Mascagni's Silvano (available on CD by Elysium). He performed the role of Papageno in Die Zauberflöte with Minnesota Opera under the baton of Richard Bonynge, following his success as Leporello in Don Giovanni. In addition to singing Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro and Oroveso in Norma, he enjoyed much success singing the roles of Escamillo in Carmen and the King in Aida with Fort Worth Opera, as well as inaugurating their new opera house as Colline in La Boheme in 1998. He has sung Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Berkeley Symphony, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle on the Gilmore Piano Festival in Michigan, Schumann’s Das Paradise und die Peri with San Francisco Symphony and the Verdi Requiem with Modesto Symphony and Sacramento Choral Society. He most recently performed the title roles of Don Pasquale and Rossini’s Signor Bruschino, as well as Doctor Dulcamara in L’Elixir d’Amore, Geronimo in Cimarosa’s The Secret Marriage and the Wind in Rimsky-Korsakov’s Kashechy the Immortal.