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Opera Essentia

The mission of Opera Essentia is to curate one of history’s most transfixing artforms for a new, and wider, audience, performing in gardens, parks, and other accessible centers of community. We distill the largely unknown works of baroque master George Frideric Handel, arguably the most important composer for the voice, into approachable discoveries.


Access. We bring opera “outside” – literally outdoors, but more importantly- liberated from classical music’s traditional venues. Contrasting opera’s usually expensive and exclusive productions, we offer ours free of charge in Alphabet City, Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy, and other local neighborhoods which lack centers for the Arts. 

Inclusion. Delivered in a concise One Act experience, and performed by a diverse company of world-class musicians, we hope to amaze and delight new generations - with these rarely-performed works by the composer of The Messiah. 

Impact. Handel perfectly conveys character and emotion through deeply expressive writing for the human voice. Opera Essentia presents this vital music on visceral “gut string” instruments, weaving arias into an intimate sound chronicle- which all can enjoy.

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Our Team

Artistic Director: Jeffrey Mandelbaum
Executive Producer: Marty Jeiven
Dramatic Consultant/ Rehearsal Director/ Project Manager: Rod Gomez
Artistic Administrator: Heather Bobeck

Graphic Design: Katia Michalpolous

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Our Artists

2023 Performers:
Elyse Kakacek, Soprano
Hans Tashjian, Bass
Jeffrey Mandelbaum, Countertenor
Maria Brea, Soprano

Harpsichord: Rebecca Pechefsky
First Violin: Carmen Lavada Johnson-Pájaro
Second Violin: Ravenna Lipchuk
Viola: Kyle Miller
Cello: Adrienne Hyde

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Advisory Council

Marty Jeiven
Linda Monssen

Ann Mandelbaum

Wiebke Moore

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