Former resident artist Layna Chianakas returns in the 2019-20 season to direct OSJ’s production of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel. A mezzo-soprano, voice teacher, and stage director, Ms. Chianakas has been hailed for her “vocal talents which are matched by her poignancy as an actress” (Des Moines Register) in her betrayal of Santuzza in Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana. She has portrayed over 50 leading opera roles across the United States, including over 80 performances of Bizet’s Carmen. She was heard as The Secretary in Menotti’s The Consul with Dayton Opera and recently sang the role of Mme. Larina in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin with Intermountain Opera in Bozeman, MT. She appears with Livermore Valley Opera in September 2019 to sing Filipyevna, in Eugene Onegin, and returns to Intermountain Opera in Spring 2020 to sing her first Marcellina in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro.
Her stage directing credits include Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Cavalli’s L’Ormindo, Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld, Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, the National Opera Association’s award-winning Postcard from Morocco by Argento, Ravel’s The Bewitched Child/L’enfant et les Sortilèges, Strauss’ Die Fledermaus/The Revenge of the Bat, and a fully-staged and conceptualized Mendelssohn’s Elijah, among others, for the San José State Opera Theater. For Opera San José, she has directed Poulenc’s La Voix humaine, Hansel and Gretel, Carmen and Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. As the Stage Director for Vivace Youth Chorus’ Summer Youth Opera, she has staged the West Coast premiere of Rachel J. Peter’s Rootabaga Country, and productions of Menotti’s Chip and His Dog and Krasa’s Brundibar. In Summer 2019, she will direct Ben Moore’s Odyssey for Opera with Santa Barbara’s Youth Summer Opera Program. Upcoming directing engagements bring her to West Bay Opera for Verdi’s Nabucco and to Livermore Valley Opera for a double-bill of Zemlinsky’s Eine florentinische Tragödie and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi.
In addition to a thriving private voice studio, she is the Artistic Director of the Performing Arts division for the Assyrian Arts Institute.
Ms. Chianakas holds a Master Degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Illinois and served as an Artistic Ambassador of the United States to Central and South America.
She lives in San Jose, CA with her husband, and two children; her greatest productions.
Please visit Ms. Chianakas’ website for additional information.