Mezzo-Soprano, Voice Teacher, and Stage Director, Layna Chianakas has been hailed for her "vocal talents which are matched by her poignancy as an actress" (Des Moines Register) in her betrayal of Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana. She has portrayed many leading opera roles including over 80 performances of Carmen, as well as Amneris in Aida, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, 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 with opera companies throughout the country. Most recently, she was heard as The Secretary in Menotti’s The Consul with Dayton Opera and will return to Intermountain Opera this October as Ruth in Pirates of Penzance.
Her stage directing credits include, Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Cavalli’s L’Ormindo, Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld, Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, the National Opera Association’s award-winning Argento’s Postcard from Morocco, Ravel’s The Bewitched Child/L’nfant et les Sortilèges a fully-staged and conceptualized Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and Die Fledermaus/The Revenge of the Bat for the San José State Opera Theater. For Opera San José, she directed La Voix humaine, Hansel & Gretel, Carmen and Il barbiere di Siviglia. As an active participant in the San José music community, she was the Director of Opera San José’s Summer Program for Singers and Pianists as well as Stage Director for Vivace Youth Chorus’ Summer Opera Workshop which saw her productions of Menotti’s Chip and His Dog , Krasa’s Brundibar, and Peter’s Rootabaga Country. Future stage directing credits include a new production of Armienta's La llarona for Opera Cultura and a new commissioned work for Vivace Summer Opera Workshop in Summer 2019 as well as a new double-bill production of Zemlinsky's Eine florentinishe Tragoedie and Puccini's Gianni Schicchi with Livermore Valley Opera in March 2020.
Chianakas recently made her Carnegie Hall debut, sang the alto solos in the Lord Nelson Mass with the Limerick Music Festival in Limerick, Ireland, was the mezzo-soprano soloist for Dayton Opera’s Season Opening Spectacular, and returned to the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra last January as the mezzo-soprano soloist in Bernstein’s Jeremiah Symphony No. 1. She also performed the second soprano solos in Rossini’s Stabat Mater with the Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra and was the mezzo-soprano soloist for the San Jose Wind Symphony’s Symphony No. 4 by Johan de Meij.
As the Artistic Director of the Performing Arts Division of the Assyrian Arts Institute, Ms. Chianakas helps find the highest quality Assyrian artists, dancers, composers and musicians across the globe and promotes them to the public. She is the new Assistant Conductor of Assyrian Women, an all-female vocal ensemble and will be the stage director for a semi-staged production of Verdi's Nabucco.
Ms. Chianakas is a voice teacher for the Valley Christian Conservatory of Music where she maintains a studio of 25 students who are the next great leaders of our world, as well as awesome singers. This December, she will be the featured soloist in Dan Forrest's Lux with the Conservatory Chorale and Orchestra.
She lives in San Jose, CA with her husband and two teenagers who are appropriately Angsty, eat constantly, and are a consistent source of love, pride and joy. They remain her greatest productions.