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'Ice Cream and Opera' on stage today at Bankhead Theater

Children's production follows Livermore Valley Opera's 19th season opener of "Don Giovanni"

"Ice Cream & Opera," a Children's Opera Learning Adventure production of the Livermore Valley Opera, will be performed at 2 p.m. today at the Bankhead Theater, 2400 First St. in Livermore

The performance follows the group's opening of its 19th season last night with the contemporary interpretation of the classic Mozart opera, "Don Giovanni."

"It's important for LVO to stretch creatively and to expose our audiences to diverse artistic visions," said Livermore Valley Opera Executive Director Sara Nealy.

The children's opera will be performed against next Sunday, Oct. 10.

After both shows, children will have an opportunity to go on stage and experience what a performer sees while on stage, meet the director and cast members.

"We believe that a contemporary interpretation of Don Giovanni will help to engage new and younger audiences by making connections with them that are relevant."

After the show, children will have an opportunity to go on stage and experience what a performer sees while on stage, meet the director and cast members.

"Don Giovanni" will be back next Saturday at 8 p.m.

LVO also uses YouTube to present Streshinsky talking in depth about his vision of this unique production. View the video at www.livermorevalleyopera.org.

Charlene McKenna and Deborah Edginton had a chance to meet one of the cast of "Don Giovanni" as they shared a glass of wine on the terrace of Campo di Bocce recently. But they didn't expect the service to be quite so attentive.

When a handsome waiter arrived to see if there was anything he could do for them, he stared a little too long and a little amorously at the two women before breaking out into an aria. The "waiter" was noted baritone Eugene Brancoveanu, star of the Livermore Valley Opera's "Don Giovanni" production.

"Opera is so much more exciting, fun and playful than most people imagine and we're trying to bring the experience to people in a variety of ways," Nealy said. "Eugene could not be a better performer for this kind of activity; he's a talented artist, charismatic, and a great actor -- actually a Tony Award winner!"

Don Giovanni (Don Juan in Spanish) is arguably the most notorious ladies' man in literature, theater and film. Brancoveanu was accompanied by videographer Chad Caines and crew from Caines & Associates, an Interactive Multimedia Production company based in San Ramon, who had to hide behind plants and even place a microphone in bunch of grapes to facilitate stealth filming.

The crew also filmed at First Street Ale House and Uncle Yu's in the Vineyard, where sommelier Nick Laing, an operaphile and singer, wined and dined the crew after the challenging shoot, even pouring a sparkling rose from Venice connected to the Don Giovanni legend.

In one unanticipated scene, a group of women were holding a wedding shower, and Brancoveanu sang to the bride-to-be the same aria that his Don Giovanni character sings to the bride-to-be in the opera as he steals her away from her betrothed.

Livermore Valley Opera was founded in 1992. It combines the talents of professional musicians, stage directors, principal singers and designers with the dedication and practical abilities of volunteers filling such critical roles as board members, chorus, stage crew and set builders to reach its artistic goals.

--Dolores Fox Ciardelli

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