Office: MUS 244
Phone: (408) 924-4658
Currently in her fourth year as Assistant Professor of Voice at San José State University, mezzo-soprano Professor Layna Chianakas is known for "vocal talents that are matched by her poignancy as an actress" (Des Moines Register). She has portrayed many leading opera roles, including 12 productions of Carmen in Carmen as well as Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Amneris in Aida, Angelina in La Cenerentola, Sesto in Giulio Cesare, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, The Woman in Poulenc's La Voix humaine, the title role in La Perichole, and countless Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro. She has performed with such opera companies as Cleveland Opera, Nashville Opera, Sarasota Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Virginia Opera, Dayton Opera, Festival Opera, Nevada Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Madison Opera, Sacramento Opera, Intermountain Opera and Opera San José.
Most recently, Professor Chianakas performed the alto solos in Mahler's Symphony No. 3, with the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra in Pennsylvania, and Saints by Craig Bohmler with the Vallejo Symphony. An advocate of new music, she had a great success in a performance of Jake Heggie's The Deepest Desire with the Oakland East Bay Symphony, in which she was praised for her "lush, dark tone, as well as a limpid clarity of phrasing" in the San Francisco Chronicle. After debuting Henry Mollicone's Misa de los Inmigrantes with the San José Symphonic Choir in March, she sang the world premiere of Michael Touchi's Kahea, written for her in honor of the San José Chamber Orchestra's 20th anniversary season. As a recitalist, Professor Chianakas can be seen in frequent collaboration with SJSU performing faculty such as Michael Adduci on oboe, Sharon Brook on piano, Joseph Frank singing tenor, and Steven Lin on guitar. She recently made her directorial debut with Opera San José for Poulenc's La Voix Humaine, and recent engagements included the title role in Glück's Orphée et Eurydice with Opera Santa Barbara, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly with Intermountain Opera, the second Soprano solos in Rossini's Stabat Mater with Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as His Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors with the San Jose State Opera Theater and Intermountain Opera in Bozeman, MT, in which her son, Ghythe Haddad, sang the title role.
Future engagements include stage director for Opera San Jose's Hansel & Gretel in November 2013, His Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors with El Paso Opera Theater in December 2013, and her debut as Amneris in Verdi's Aida with Dayton Opera in April 2014.