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It’s powerful stuff. Laugh your head off with Clowns on a Stick. Bring your hankies for Pagliacci.


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Music and libretto by Ruggero Leoncavallo
Music direction by Mary Chun
Stage direction by Elly Lichenstein
Play within a play direction by James Pelican
Associate Conductor, Chorus Master Dana Sadava
Special Guests Clowns on a Stick
English translation by Amanda Holden
Orchestral reduction by Francis Griffin

$40 in advance / $45 at the door  General admission
$35 in advance / $40 at the door  Under 30 and Military
$25 in advance / $30 at the door  Youth Under 18

Short, gritty, and boasting one of the greatest tenor arias of all time, Pagliacci (“Clowns”) is a perennial audience favorite.
Get ready for passion to burst onto the Cinnabar stage. Canio, head of a travelling vaudeville troupe, fans the flame of his uncontrollable jealousy when he learns that his wife Nedda plans to run away with her lover, Silvio. For the heartbroken Canio, the show must go on, but the separation between life and art becomes blurred. With passions running high, there can be only one fatal conclusion.

Special commissioned curtain-raiser:
Clowns On A Stick present Rhapsody of Fools
If Pagliacci is a clown show within an opera, Rhapsody of Fools is an opera within a clown show.  The diva is late, she’s hard to please, and then she loses her voice.  What else could go wrong?  Since these are clowns, certainly all ends well, but not before everything goes hopelessly wrong. The flip side of the passionate Pagliacci will have you laughing till the clowns come home!

Take a look at photos from final dress on our Facebook page.

Generously underwritten by Producers Circle Member Larry Russo, with Sponsor Circle Members Sandra O'Brien, and Walter & Emily Roeder; and additional support by Buffington Clay-Miller


Rhapsody of Fools

Yellow Clown

Christina Lewis

Green Clown

Lluis Valls

Red Clown

James Pelican

The Dive

Eileen Morris

The Orchestra

Nate Dittle


Canio / Pagliaccio

Mark Kratz

Nedda / Colombina

Julia Hathaway

Prologue / Tonio / Taddeo

Julio Ferrari

Beppe / Arlecchino

Jacob Thompson


Daniel Cilli


Steve Kahn


Scenic Designer

Joseph Elwick

Costume Designer

Lisa Eldredge

Lighting Designer

Wayne Hovey


Marja Mutru


Creative Team

ChunMary Chun (Music Director, Conductor) “One cannot resist the charm, energy, and allégresse that was displayed on the podium by Mary Chun.” 
– Le Figaro, Paris. A fierce advocate of new work and equally passionate about reviving classics by the masters, mary chun (music director) conducts opera and musical theater in the Bay Area and beyond. In 2014 she made her Chinese debut as Music Director for the premiere of Avenue Q in Beijing where the two-month run was met with sold-out success and won the distinction of Best Musical Production in the Large Theater Category. Invited to return last year for the Chinese premiere of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Mary music directed both the Beijing and Shanghai productions of this Pulitzer-prize winning musical. Beginning her 6th season as resident music director at Cinnabar and 16th season as principal conductor for Earplay, Mary has conducted operas new and old in Europe and the US and worked with notable composers such as John Adams, Libby Larsen, and Tan Dun, to name a few. Nominated by the Bay Area Theater Critics Circle for her work with recent Cinnabar productions Fiddler, The Marriage of Figaro and The Most Happy Fella, Mary received the Best Music Direction Award in Small Theater Category for The Marriage of Figaro. Mary’s most recent Cinnabar productions were The Magic Flute last June and The Most Happy Fella in September. Mary was recently named Music Director for the Beijing/Shanghai-based Seven Ages Investment Company which produces major Broadway musical hits in Mandarin translation.

Lichenstein Elly Lichenstein (Stage Director) joined Cinnabar in 1975 after a short career as a cellist in Belgium. Studying voice with Cinnabar’s founder Marvin Klebe, drama with Fred Curchack and Richard Blake, and movement with Ann Woodhead, she sang at least 50 roles with the company until retiring from the operatic stage in 1999. A passionate proponent of intimate theater and opera, she serves as Cinnabar’s artistic director, directs opera (including last season’s The Magic Flute) and musicals (including this season’s The Most Happy Fella). She also recently appeared onstage as Golde in Fiddler on the Roof, and as Jeannette in Jane Anderson’s The Quality of Life. She also occasionally performs at Mainstage West in Sebastopol.

Sadava Dana Sadava (Associate Conductor, Chorus Master) has worked as a conductor and coach at Opera San Jose, UCSD, Wexford Opera (Ireland), Indianapolis Opera, Pensacola Opera, Festival Opera, and Pasadena Opera, where she is Artistic Director. She has also served on the faculties of Banff Opera as Theatre and the Napa Music Festival. She studied conducting with Kenneth Kiesler at the University of Michigan, and studied piano with Dorothy Hwang at the Colburn School. Before delving into musical life, Ms. Sadava earned an undergraduate degree in aeronautics and literature from Caltech.

Lisa Eldredge (Costume Designer) Ms Eldredge’s costume designs for opera first appeared at Cinnabar in 1999 with Dido and Aeneas where both men and women strolled the stage in skirts. Since then she has costumed a paranoid psychic (The Medium), disorderly miners (Girl of the Golden West), teen lovers (Cosi Fan Tutti) a determined young couple (Marriage of Figaro), frolicking forest animals (Cunning Little Vixen), a heartless vixen (Carmen), naive lovers (La Boheme) and wily wives (Falstaff). Last year she stepped up as puppeteer for The Magic Flute to create Joann Worley-inspired birds and a 40 foot terror-breathing serpent, fearful enough to paralyze a chivalrous prince. This spring Ms Eldredge revisits with Cinnabar the fatally flawed clowns in Pagliacci. And the serpent? She is being held captive on the wall of the Petaluma Children’s Library for refusing to return to Where the Wild Things Are.

HoveyWayne Hovey (Lighting Designer) has been working in the technical side of theater for more than 40 years, doing everything from backstage work to set, sound and lighting design and stage management. He has provided set design for Cinnabar’s Jacques Brel is Alive and Well, The Marriage of Figaro, Bad Dates, Mahalia Jackson, and this season’s opener, The Most Happy Fella. He’s provided light design for more than 15 shows at Cinnabar, including last June’s The Magic Flute, the world premiere of Trevor Allen’s One Stone (Einstein) and the April production of The Odd Couple.

MutruMarja Mutru (Accompanist) received her master’s degree in piano performance from the Sibelius Academy in her native Finland. After settling in the San Francisco Bay Area, Marja became the keyboard player for the Paul Dresher Ensemble and has since played with various local ensembles, including the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Earplay, California Symphony, and Ballet San Jose. She has also performed and recorded numerous new chamber operas and solo piano repertoire by various local composers.

James Pelican (Clown Specialist) Mr Pelican’s photo and bio may be found under Rhapsody of Fools below.


CilliOriginally from Florida, baritone Daniel Cilli (Silvio) debuted last summer with the San Francisco Opera as Dancaïro in Carmen. Recently he’s performed in West Edge Opera’s Snapshot program, The Cellist in Death with Interruptions at Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, Drugz Bunny in Oakland Opera and Hoodslam’s Mahagonny Songspiel, the Thames Captain in Heart of Darkness, Le Directeur in Les mamelles de Tirésias both at Opera Parallèle, and at Utah Festival as Inspector Javert in Les Misérables. While a principal baritone 2006-2010 at Opera San José, Daniel Cilli performed fifteen leading roles. Daniel has also performed with West Bay, Houston Grand, Livermore Valley, Des Moines Metro, Utah, Santa Barbara, Central City Opera companies, plus the Aspen and Tanglewood Music Festivals.

FerreiraBaritone Julio Ferrari (Prologue/Tonio/Taddeo) is a sixth generation San Franciscan who loves hiking, cuisine, and playing the banjo and guitar. For ten years he served as cantor at St. Monica’s Catholic Church in San Francisco and has been featured in several sacred concerts including Faure’s Requiem, Vaughn William’s Five Mystical Songs and Handel’s Messiah. Mr. Ferrari has performed with numerous opera companies, including West Bay, Livermore Valley, Phenix, Lamplighters, Pocket, Verismo, Berkeley and Goat Hall. Known for his total character-immersion, role highlights include Renato in Un Ballo in Maschera, Valentin in Faust, both Tonio and Silvio in Pagliacci, and the title role in Gianni Schicchi.

HathawayJulia Hathaway (Nedda/Colombina) returns to Cinnabar, where she appeared as Papagena in The Magic Flute, Frasquita in Carmen, and Musetta in  La Boheme. A diverse singer, Julia is equally at home on the cabaret stage, having appeared in Cinnabar’s productions of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well, and Piaf: Beneath Paris Skies. Recently she performed in SF Sound Group’s celebration of John Cage at SF MOMA, San Francisco Cabaret Opera’s new work Solidarity by Patrick Dailly, Opera Frontier’s “pop-up opera,” and David Conte’s opera Famous, as well as the role of Marie in San Francisco Opera’s outreach production of The Daughter of the Regiment. She has sung as a soprano soloist with the Newberry Consort,  in the premiere of Matt Schumaker’s Tintinnabula for voice and two pianos on Noon Concerts at Hertz Hall, and on an evening of butoh at Z Space with the group Bad Unkl Sista.

KhanSteve Kahn (Villager) enjoys performing operatic, choral, and art-song repertoire. He currently sings with the group Lacuna Arts in San Francisco, and was the vocal soloist in the chamber/text series during 2015-16. During 2017 he has sung in opera choruses in works of Purcell (Dido & Aeneas) and David Garner (Mary Pleasant) at the SF Conservatory (from which he holds a degree in composition). He has studied with tenor Jonathan Smucker for the past several years.

KratzMark Kratz (Canio/Pagliaccio) was recently featured as Alan Shepard in Apollo 14: A Space opera with the International Opera Institute and as St. Nicolas in Benjamin Britten’s St. Nicolas Cantata with the Chorale Society of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Kratz appeared as Alfred in Die Fledermaus with Lamplighters of San Francisco and Lensky in Eugene Onegin with Pocket Opera. Mark has performed with Cinnabar as Monostatos in The Magic Flute, Don Jose in Carmen and as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni.

Thompson Jacob Thompson (Beppe/Arlecchino) has performed regionally with Volti, Pocket Opera, Opera on Tap, the Lamplighters, and Opera Academy of California. Jacob received his masters in vocal performance from Colorado State University in 2013, where he sang several operatic leads, taught private voice and music theory, and served as an Apprentice Artist for two seasons with Opera Fort Collins, singing and covering roles and performing outreach events. Jacob has spent several summers performing in Europe, singing compramari roles in Carmen, Tosca, and Rigoletto, as well as the role of Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni with Opera Orvieto. Other major roles include Don Jose in Carmen, Peter Quint in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, and Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance. Jacob has appeared on the Cinnabar stage as part of the quartet in City of Angels, and Tamino in The Magic Flute.


Clowns On A Stick (Christina Lewis, Lluis Valls, and James Pelican) is a trio of performers dedicated to the world of the silent, red nosed clown. James and Lluis met in a clown workshop in 2003 and started creating and performing short pieces together.  They were joined a few years later by Christina Lewis, who is the director of the Clown School of San Francisco. Together, they have created about two dozen short pieces two full length shows, To Bury A Cat, and Tasty Bites, the latter of which ended its 2016 tour here at Cinnabar to a packed, belly laughing audience. Rhapsody of Fools is their operatic debut.


LewisChristina Lewis (Yellow Clown) has been Clowning around since 1985 and with Clowns on a Stick since 2005.  She runs the Clown School of San Francisco where she teaches Character development and directs theatrical Clown shows.  Christina also Clowns around the Bay Area as her alter ego Dotty Moppet, teaching and performing for children of all ages.  Christina has a Masters degree in Drama Therapy and a Special Education Credential.  When she is not donning the red nose, she is busy working as a teacher for children with severe developmental disabilities.

PelicanJames Pelican (Red Clown) is a founding member of Clowns On A Stick and has been performing with the ensemble since 2003.  Besides helping to create and perform over two dozen short pieces that have been performed as part of variety shows, circuses, and any other stage that is not off limits to clowns, James also wrote the full length show To Bury A Cat that COAS performed in 2011-12.  A resident of Petaluma, James feels fortunate to call Cinnabar his home theater, not only performing in many shows over the years, but volunteering his time whenever possible.  Notable Cinnabar productions include last fall’s production of The Quality of Life (Neal), La Cage Aux Folles (Jacob), Balloonacy (Old Man), and Candide (Clown/Choreographer).  Don Quixote (Don Q/Theater of Yugen), Trinculo (The Tempest/MSW), and The Gatekeeper (Descent of Inanna/Independent Eye) are other favorite roles.  He is also the producer of the Chautauqua Revue, now in its 15th year at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center.

VallsLouis Valls (Green Clown) holds a BA in Dramatic Arts from SFSU. He joined Theatre of Yugen in 1993 and acted as co-Artistic Director from 2002-2009, helping to create numerous world premiers. He is also a founding member of Theatre Nohgaku, and of Clowns on a Stick. Lluis has toured throughout the United States as well as in Paris, London, Dublin, Oxford,Tokyo, Kyoto and Nagoya.

Special Guests

MorrisEileen Morris (The Diva) is well-known to opera audiences in the Bay Area for leading roles with regional companies in dozens of productions, including Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro, The Elixir of Love, The Magic Flute, Cinderella, The Turn of the Screw, and Pelleas and Melisande. In recent years, she’s ventured into the world of musical theater, playing Margaret in Spreckels Theater’s  production of The Light in the Piazza and Mrs. Peachum in The Threepenny Opera.  Eileen is the Manager of Community Engagement for the Committee on the Shelterless (COTS) in Petaluma. Take a tour! Go to

DittleNate Dittle (The Orchestra), born and raised in Cotati, currently calling Santa Rosa home, spends his time practicing, performing, writing, and feasting from food trucks. He is a Sonoma State University graduate with a degree in Jazz Studies who is a member of four amazing local bands… and still counting! His favorite book is J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit; he has one tattoo (he won’t tell you where it is); and his spirit animal is a raccoon.


Ruggero Leoncavallo’s classic opera Pagliacci is now playing at Cinnabar Theater. Impressively directed by Elly Lichenstein, with co-direction from James Pelican, Pagliacci follows a hard-luck company of actors, torn apart by jealousy and bitterness. Under the strong musical direction of Mary Chun, the show features a remarkable company of first-rate opera singers, including baritone Julio Ferrari as the villainous Tonio, the soprano Julia Hathaway (amazing) as the tragic actress Nedda, and tenor Mark Kratz as the iconic clown-turned-murderer Pagliacci. It’s one of Cinnabar’s most successful and entertaining opera productions in years. ★★★★

Paired with Pagliacci is the brilliant 20-minute, clown-themed one-act Rhapsody of Fools, written and performed by Christina Lewis, James Pelican and Lluis Valls. An inspired bit of physical comedy, it gives us three hapless backstage crew members, attempting to set up for an opera presentation, ultimately forced to improvise an opera of their own—with a bit of help from the rock band Queen. ★★★★

–David Templeton, The Bohemian


Christina Lewis, Lluis Valls and James Pelican in Clowns on a Stick’s Rhapsody of Fools


James Pelican, Christina Lewis and Lluis Valls in Clowns on a Stick’s Rhapsody of Fools


Julia Hathaway (Nedda/Colombina) and Jacob Thompson (Beppe/Arlecchino) in Pagliacci


Mark Kratz as Canio/Pagliaccio in Pagliacci


Julia Hathaway (Nedda) and Julio Ferrari (Tonio) in Pagliacci


Daniel Cilli (Silvio) and Julia Hathaway (Nedda) in Pagliacci


Julio Ferrari (Tonio/Taddeo) in Pagliacci


Mark Kratz (Canio/Pagliaccio), with chorus and Fool (James Pelican) in Pagliacci

More photos on our Facebook page.

Photos by Victoria Von Thal.