On Sunday March 24 it was Vanessa and Erik’s very great honor to appear at a dinner gala for the San Francisco Opera Guild, East Bay Chapter at the Sequoyah Country Club in Oakland. With the expert accompanying of Tom Shaw at piano, Vanessa began the program with a selection of her signature songs. Then midway, with the assistance of former general manager of SF Opera, David Gockley, Vanessa performed an onstage transformation to Erik. Erik then finished the evening with classic Italian songs and baritone opera arias. What a night!
Special thanks to my dear friend Elizabeth Green-Sah for inviting me to appear at the event and for her tireless efforts to make it such a special evening. I am also most grateful to SFO-EBC board president Silvia Lin for all of her support, as well as to board members Florence McConnell and Pamela Philbert. Sold-out weeks in advance, An Evening At The Cabaret was a huge success for all.
On a very personal note, I must acknowledge that this program represented quite a daunting challenge to me as a stage performer. To inhabit the character of Vanessa Bousay — both physically and through her music — presents its own unique requirements. But to transform onstage to Erik and be suddenly stripped of Vanessa’s facade was indeed a very vulnerable feeling. Especially since Erik then immediately launched into full-on operatic baritone repertoire. Although the voice production is the same for both Vanessa & Erik, their respective music and dramatic ethos represent two extremely different characters. Never has the contrast of my two singing stage personas been on more full and extravagant display than here with the San Francisco Opera Guild. An Evening At The Opera Cabaret, indeed!