Layna Chianakas, Mezzo-Soprano

1995 – 1997

Photo by Gayatri Dave.

LAYNA CHIANAKAS returns to OSJ during the 2012-13 season as stage director for Hansel and Gretel. Most recently, Ms. Chianakas directed performances of OSJ’s 2011 production of La voix humaine, a production in which she appeared as “the woman” back in 1996.Other recent performances include the role of Orphée in Orphée et Eurydice for Opera Santa Barbara. In April 2010, Ms. Chianakas appeared in recital with former OSJ resident artist Brian Leerhuber, performing Celebrating Alva Henderson: A Collection of Songs, in Palo Alto. She also appeared as a soloist with Fremont Opera, and in recital with SJSU Faculty colleague Joseph Frank in Fall 2009.

2008 – 2009 performances included the world premiere of Artifacts in Scottsdale, Arizona, written especially for her by composer Craig Bohmler. She also appeared as soloist with the Charlottesville Symphony and in the title role of Treasure Coast Opera Society’s production of Carmen. Other engagements that season included San Jose Chamber Orchestra’s SJCO Goes to the Opera and OSJ’s 25th Anniversary Gala Concert in which she was a featured soloist. In November 2008, she performed the role of Santuzza (Cavalleria Rusticana) with Greensboro Opera.

During the 2007 – 2008 season, Ms. Chianakas appeared as Santuzza with Opera Santa Barbara and Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni) with Dayton Opera. Concert appearances included Craig Bohmler’s Saints with Master Sinfornia Chamber Orchestra and the San Jose Chamber Orchestra,  and solo recitals in Los Gatos, CA and Indianola, Iowa.

In 2006 – 2007, Ms. Chianakas performed Alva Henderson’s Winter Requiem with Schola Cantorum, sang a concert version of Cavalleria Rusticana as Santuzza with Chorus Pro Musica in Boston, appeared as soloist in the Dvorak Requiem with The Chorus of Westerly in Rhode Island, and appeared in the title role of Carmen with Sacramento Opera.

Highlights for Ms. Chianakas during the 2005 – 2006 season included the role of Marla in the world premiere of Henry Mollicone’s Emperor Norton for California Chamber Opera and Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro) for Sarasota Opera. Ms. Chianakas has sung such leading opera roles as the title role in Carmen, Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro), Angelina (La Cenerentola), Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Sesto (Giulio Cesare), Suzuki (Madama Butterfly), Siebel (Faust), Stephano (Roméo et Juliette), The Woman in Poulenc’s La voix humaine and the title role in La Perichole. She has performed with many opera companies including Cleveland Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Virginia Opera, Dayton Opera, Nevada Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Madison Opera, Richard Wagner Bayreuth Festival, Sacramento Opera, Festival Opera, Intermountain Opera, Opera San José, and West Bay Opera.

Other past performances include the roles of Nicklausse/Muse (Tales of Hoffmann), Adalgisa (Norma), and Siebel (Faust) with Cleveland Opera,  Maddalena (Rigoletto) with Festival Opera of Walnut Creek, Carmen with Nashville Opera, and Angelina (La Cenerentola) with Sugar Creek Symphony and Song Festival in Illinois.

Ms. Chianakas is equally comfortable in the recital forum, in which her experience is extensive.  She spent three years touring with The Songs of Franz Schubert Concert Series, performing over 100 recitals, accompanied by world-renowned coach and accompanist, John Wustman.  She has performed on the mid-day public radio broadcast of the Dame Myra Hess Concert Series in Chicago, IL, the Krannert Center Sunday Salon Series in Champaign, IL, the Listening Hour Recital Series in San José, CA, and various recital series throughout Germany. She was named Artistic Ambassador of the United States, performing recitals in Colombia, Venezuela, El Salvador, Guatemala and Jamaica.  Ms. Chianakas was featured in the Carmel Music Society Concert Series in Carmel, CA, the Oberlin Conservatory of Music Recital Series, and sang on the Concerts at Holy Cross series in Belmont, CA. Ms. Chianakas recently gave her New York Recital Debut at Christ and St. Stephen’s Church.

Sought after as a soloist, she has sung with numerous symphonies and choral societies.  Ms. Chianakis received rave reviews from the LA Times for her performance of Maurice Ravel’s Shéhérazade with the New West Symphony.  Other orchestral appearances include performances with the San José Symphony, Santa Cruz Symphony, San José Chamber Orchestra, Fresno Philharmonic, Sinfonia da Camera, the Masterworks Chorale, the Choral Society of the Hamptons, New West Symphony, Vallejo Symphony, Diablo Symphony, and Augustana Orchestra. Ms. Chianakas sang the world premiere of Saints written for her, by Craig Bohmler, with the San José Chamber Orchestra.  Recent engagements included the world premiere of Winter Requiem with Schola Cantorum in San Jose and San Francisco, Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn with the Oakland East Bay Symphony, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the Peoria Symphony.

Ms. Chianakas can be heard on her latest CD, I Recognized Your Face, as well as with the San José Chamber Orchestra on their CD of works by composer, Craig Bohmler.

For more information, please visit Ms. Chianakas’ website: http://www.laynachianakas.com/