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Petaluma’s Opera House Is Well Worth a Visit

June 14, 2016

The Cinnabar in Petaluma is one of the theater gemstones within one hour of San Francisco. It was built in 1908 as a school house and converted into an opera house in 1972 by a baritone named Marvin Klebe. He’d had enough of performing but never enough of producing and so into addition to recasting the building, with his four sons to help, Klebe created the Cinnabar Arts Corporation. Its mission has been to create a foundation for a series of performing arts organizations — notably a year-long, highly respected repertory theater for young performers. 

The Cinnabar, with just 120 seats, is the ideal setting for The Magic Flute, which continues its run on Friday through June 26. Interestingly, and appropriately, The Magic Flute was first performed at the similarly-sized Theater auf der Wieden in the Viennese suburban district of Wieden. 

Music Director Mary Chun leads the Cinnabar Orchestra and Cinnabar’s artistic director, Elly Lichenstein, directs the production. The cast includes Dana Pundt as The Queen of the Night; Eugene Walden as Papageno (he appeared at Cinnabar as Figaro in The Marriage of Figaro); Jacob Thompson as Tamino (who debuted at Cinnabar in The City of Angels); and Morgan Harrington as Pamina.

Tickets, which are $40 for Adults/$25 for youth (under 21), can be purchased online at the Cinnabar Theater website. Otherwise call the box office at (707) 763-8920 (Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.)

Mark MacNamara, a writer and journalist based in Asheville, North Carolina, has written for such publications as NautilusSalonThe Stanford Social Innovation Review, and Vanity Fair. From time to time, his pieces in San Francisco Classical Voice also appear in ArtsJournal.com.  Noteworthy examples include a piece about Philip Glass’s dream to build a cultural center on the Pacific Coast; a profile of sound composer Pamela Z and an essay on the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. MacNamara recently won several awards in the 2018 Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards presented by the San Francisco Press Club.  His website is macnamband.com.