Vashon Opera’s mission is to enrich our community through the creation of opera in intimate settings.
The Vashon Opera was founded in November, 2008 by a small collection of opera lovers who knew opera could thrive on Vashon. The process began then to incorporate as a 501(c)(3) non-for-profit organization. La bohème was chosen as their first production due to the members’ desire to perform the famed Puccini opera. That desire became a reality with the 2009-2010 inaugural season and 501(c)(3) status was granted by the IRS in March 2009.
Jennifer Krikawa, Artistic Director
Krikawa arrived on Vashon Island with her husband, Andy, and their two kids in the fall of 2004. “We left New York to find a quiet place to raise our children,” she says. “We just landed in the most wonderful place by chance.”
Back East, Krikawa, a soprano, sang for several opera companies including the New York City Opera, Virginia Opera, and Connecticut Opera. She appeared on the stage of the famed Carnegie Hall as a soloist for Francisco Scarlatti’s Dixit Dominus, Vaughan Williams’ Benedicite and Francis Poulenc’s Gloria.
On island, she quickly enmeshed herself with Vashon’s vibrant music scene, notably her church choir and then the Vashon Island Chorale. She sang The Magic Flute, produced by Elizabeth Nye, at the Vashon Island Methodist Church in 2006. Later she performed a recital, selling it out with all proceeds benefiting the Vashon Island Chorale.
She has since sung at many sold out events. “We realized that the community is really interested in opera at a local level,” she notes. “We felt we were ready to take on the work and care that an opera company would need and we felt the community was behind us.” Thus, the Vashon Opera was born.
James Brown, Conductor, Stage Director, Musical Director, and Orchestral Arranger
James Brown enjoys an eclectic career of conducting, concertizing as a singer, stage directing, and voice teaching. James joined Vashon Opera through stage directing and conducting The Barber of Seville in Vashon Opera's second season. Ever since he has become the musical and theatrical engine behind the company bringing his multiple talents to bear in many productions. He is the Chair of Vocal Studies at Pacific Lutheran University where he directs the opera and oversees a large voice program. His voice students have gone on to study at graduate programs such as Indiana University, The Juilliard School, University of Michigan, Northwestern University, and Yale University. As a tenor, James sang in many professional opera productions under the batons of such conductors as James Conlon, John DeMain, Richard Hickox, Julius Rudel, and Robert Spano. As the regular conductor and stage director for Vashon Opera, James has led productions of Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Carmen, Cosi fan tutte, Les Dialogues des Carmélites, Die Fledermaus, Don Giovanni, Eugene Onegin, Madama Butterfly, Pagliacci, Tosca, and Werther. Other notable productions as stage director include Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Kurt Weill’s Street Scene, Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, Handel’s Semele, La bohème and a critically acclaimed production of Sweeney Todd (Lakewood Playhouse). Recent productions for James include Die Fledermaus and Die Zauberflöte at PLU Opera. After Cavalleria Rusticana for Vashon Opera, James will travel to Reno, Nevada to stage direct Trouble in Tahiti for the Reno Chamber Orchestra. James was a Resident Artist at The Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia and holds degrees in voice from Loyola University/New Orleans, The Juilliard School and the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
Andrew (Andy) Krikawa is a baritone who has performed for a bevy of opera companies including Pittsburgh Opera, Virginia Opera, Opera Festival of New Jersey, and Connecticut Opera. Career highlights include playing the role of Albert in Pittsburgh Opera’s production of Jules Massenet’s Werther and performing in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s.
Vashon Opera Board Members
Leslie McIntosh, President
Mary Fran Lyons, Secretary