Artistic Director of Opera for Mesopotamian Night 2009

AAS-A Central Valley Chapter has chosen the Persian American opera singer Raeeka Shehabi-Yaghmai as the artistic director of the opera for the production of the Qateeni opera and the new scene from the Gilgamesh opera to be performed in the Mesopotamian Night 2009 concert.

Raeeka Shehabi-Yaghmai Biography

Persian mezzo-soprano Raeeka Shehabi-Yaghmai has received critical acclaim for her “warm sound” and her “charismatic stage presence”.

Recently she appeared as Carmen with Livermore Opera, Mercedes with Pacific Repertory Opera, Cherubino with Mendocino Music Festival, and soloist for Alden Jenks’ Song Cycle The Soup with Ensemble Parallèle.

Operatic credits include Poppea and Ottavia (L’incoronazione di Poppea), Rosina (Il Trionfo dell Onore), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro), Dorabella (Cosi fan tutte), Suzuki (Madama Butterfly), Lola (Cavalleria Rusticana), Hansel (Hansel and Gretel), Polina (Pique Dame), Mrs. Page (Merry Wives of Windsor), Nancy (Albert Herring), Mother (Amahl and the Night Visitors), Dinah (Trouble in Tahiti); and the title roles in Iolanthe and La Perichole.
She has worked with among others, San Francisco Opera Center, North Bay Opera, Eldorado Opera, West Bay Opera, Bear Valley Music Festival, Oakland Opera theatre and made her European debut singing the title role in Carmen at Opera Brasov in Romania.

Ms Shehabi-Yaghmai’s Oratorio work includes Mozart’s Coronation Mass, Haydn’s Mass for Prince Nicolai, and Bach’s Magnificat.

Equally active in both opera and recital performances, Ms Shehabi-Yaghmai is much sought after for her expressive and well balance recital programs. She has been featured in a multitude of recital series. Among others, the Brand Library, Iranian Women Scholarship Foundation, California State University of Northridge Alumni Performances, San Francisco Conservatory of Music Faculty Performances.

An avid interpreter of Persian folksong, Ms. Shehabi-Yaghmai has done extensive research on the genre and since January, 2007 has collaborated with composer David Garner on new arrangements of selected melodies. Her recital at Brand Library Music Series in Glendale, CA marked the debut of a number of these song settings for piano and voice. Other performances in this genre include featured soloist for the Oakland East Bay Symphony, Monterey Symphony, International Sharif University Reunions in San Diego, Heidelberg (Germany), and Santa Clara, fundraiser gala for Iranian-American district supervisor of San Francisco Ross Mirkarimi, and The Iranian Women Scholarship Foundation.

In 2009 she will be featured as Soloist with Monterey Opera Orchestra, San Diego Chamber Orchestra, and will debut the role of The Widow in Michel Bosc’s Opera Qateeni based on Assyrian epic poems at Modesto’s Gallo Center for the Arts.

In summer of 2005 Ms. Shehabi-Yaghmai established her first Summer Opera Workshop Company TANEEN OPERA in San Francisco, training aspiring beginning level opera singers who wish to gain experience in performing arts. She maintains an active vocal studio in San Francisco.

Ms. Shehabi-Yaghmai was the winner of the 1999 CSUN annual concerto competition as well as a finalist for the prestigious Merola auditions where after she was hired as a resident artist with the San Francisco Opera Center. Additional awards include: Beulah Allen and John Vaznaian voice scholarships, the 1999 Outstanding Iranian Student Award, and The Outstanding Bachelor’s Degree Graduate in Music at California State University of Northridge.

Ms. Shehabi-Yaghmai holds a Bachelor of Music, Magna Cum Laude, from California State University of Northridge, and a Master of Music and a Post Graduate Artist’s Diploma from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.