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Monday | Jul 16, 2012

Meet the Artist: Amanda DeBoer Bartlett, Soprano

Our Meet the Artist series returns with a post about the talented and lovely soprano, Amanda DeBoer Bartlett. Opera Omaha welcomes Ms. DeBoer as “Patience”, the title character in our July 23 presentation of selections from Gilbert & Sullivan’s operetta. The young singer is a native of Omaha and has performed in locations across the United States and Mexico. She uses her formidable instrument to showcase contemporary composers with the Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, Ensemble dal niente, and the Color Field Ensemble.

Wynne Delacoma with the Chicago Classical Review had this to say about one performance: “Amanda DeBoer deployed her expressive voice like a painter with an inexhaustible palette.” She is sure to bring her best voice to her home town of Omaha. We look forward to working with Ms. DeBoer and to hearing her vocal interpretation of Patience.

Join us for PATIENCE on Monday, July 23 at the Opera Omaha office, 1850 Farnam Street, Omaha. Light hors d’oeuvres and wine are included in the ticket price of only $20 for the general public and $15 for Opera Omaha or Joslyn Castle members. Beverage service begins at 6:00pm with show time at 6:30pm. The entrance to the building is on 19th street between Farnam and Douglas Streets with free parking available in the Wells Fargo Employee lot just west of 20th and Farnam Streets. Get your tickets today by calling 402-595-2199, online, or with cash or check at the door.  

For more information about Amanda DeBoer Bartlett, please see her official biography posted below the photo. Or, please visit her website or any of the sites linked above. Enjoy!

Photo courtesy of Amanda DeBoer Bartlett, http://www.amandadeboer.com/look.html

Official biography of Ms. DeBoer, available on her website at: Amanda DeBoer Bartlett

“DeBoer…was an unexpected tour de force” says Jan Jezioro of Buffalo’s Artvoice. Soprano Amanda DeBoer has been performing as a soloist and ensemble member with Ensemble dal niente, Color Field Ensemble, and Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble on national and international stages. Recent and upcoming performances include Nichols Concert Hall (Chicago), Elastic Arts Foundation (Chicago), The Gershwin Hotel (New York), the City Auditorium of Maccagno (Italy), Overture Center for the Arts (Madison), Manhattan School of Music (New York), Eastman School of Music (Rochester), and The Cla-zel Theatre (Bowling Green).

As a musical innovator and contemporary music specialist, Ms. DeBoer has commissioned dozens of works from both emerging and established composers, and has collaborated with composers, poets, and directors to develop large-scale projects including operas, musicals, dance and video collaborations, and large chamber works. She is known for her adventurous performances and fearless approach to challenging repertoire.

Ms. DeBoer received a Bachelor of Music from Depaul University, where she was fortunate to study with Christopher Lorimer and Harry Silverstein, a Master of Music from the University at Buffalo where she worked extensively with soprano Tony Arnold, and is currently completing a Doctorate of Musical Arts from Bowling Green State University, where she studied with Dr. Jane Schoonmaker Rodgers and was advised by Professor Ronald C. Scherer, PhD.

Ms. DeBoer’s first solo album will be released Fall of 2012.

Friday | Jul 06, 2012

Auditions are coming!

Ballet Nebraska “Nutcracker” & Opera Omaha Youth Auditions

Choral auditions will be held for Ballet Nebraska’s December production of “The Nutcracker” in conjunction with Opera Omaha Youth Auditions on Sunday, August 5, 2012 between 2:00 p.m. & 4:00 p.m. at Motion 41 Dance, 2819 S. 125th Avenue, Suite 256 (near 125th & Center). These auditions are open to girls ages 12-18 and must be scheduled in advance.

Ballet Nebraska will present “The Nutcracker” on November 30, 2012 at the IWCC Arts Center and on December 2, 2012 at the Omaha Music Hall. Ballet Nebraska is looking for 16 young girls to sing as the “Northwind Chorus” during the Land of Snow scene in the production.

J. Gawf, Opera Omaha’s Resident Music Director, will help assemble the chorus for Ballet Nebraska.

Audition requirements:

Girls ages 12-18

One song (w/sheet music for the accompanist) to be performed with piano accompaniment. An accompanist will be provided.

Auditions space is limited and scheduled on first come basis.

Must be available for all rehearsals/performances Oct. 6, Nov. 12, 16, 19, 24 & Nov. 27 – Dec. 2.

Auditions must be requested through e-mail. E-mail Cammy Watkins, cwatkins@operaomaha.org, to schedule an audition.

Photo courtesy of Ballet Nebraska

Friday | Jun 15, 2012

Opera Omaha Guild Earns International Award

Congratulations to the Opera Omaha Guild who were honored with the special project of merit by Opera Volunteers International at the Opera America Conference in Philadelphia yesterday! The guild’s Spirits of the Opera is a very unique and exciting fundraising event which we hope continues for years to come. If you attended in April, then you know why they would win such an honor.

From all of us at Opera Omaha, a big “Thank you” goes to Lisa Hagstrom, Sheila McNeill, and Vernie Jones for making that event a success and for accepting the award for the guild.

Tuesday | Jun 05, 2012

DinoQuest 2–We will be there!

Through a special partnership with Fontenelle Nature Association, Opera Omaha is invited to be part of the public grand opening of DinoQuest 2: Trek Through Time! We are thrilled to have this opportunity and can’t wait to see the dinosaurs. Join us this Sunday, June 10 from 1:00pm to 5:00pm to enjoy the exhibit and periodic musical performances by Opera Omaha. 

Admission is free for members of Fontenelle Nature Association. Non-members can purchase tickets in advance through Ticket Omaha for $8 or at the door for $10. This is a great opportunity to visit the dinos and to hear the divas! Join us!

More information about DinoQuest 2 is available here: DinoQuest 2: Trek Through Time

Friday | May 18, 2012

Samuel Ramey in Bluebeard’s Castle

Today’s blog entry sails through time to our April 19 and 22, 2013 production of Bela Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle. Our Bluebeard, the fantastic Samuel Ramey, is not new to the role. He has performed the role several times including his 1984 Metropolitan Opera debut and in 2007 at the Washington National Opera. We look forward to hosting Mr. Ramey and Kara Shay Thomson as our Bluebeard and Judith for Opera Omaha’s production of Bartok’s only opera.

Samuel Ramey
Samuel Ramey as Bluebeard in “Bluebeard’s Castle,”
Metropolitan Opera 1984

Included below is a synopsis of Bluebeard’s Castle, written by Karin Cooper and published in World of Opera on the NPR website at the time of the 2007 Washington National Opera production. A link included with the synopsis takes you to the original writing and production photos of Samuel Ramey as Bluebeard and Denyce Graves as his new bride.

Below the quoted synopsis is a You Tube video of Samuel Ramey’s appearance on Sesame Street. It’s fun to watch and gives a limited peek at the voice that inspired an admirer to say this about Mr. Ramey, “There are three tenors, but there’s only one bass.”

Link to original work: ‘Bluebeard’s Castle’ and ‘Gianni Schicci’
Published synopsis written by Karin Cooper for World of Opera on NPR:

After a spoken prologue, reminding us that we’re about to hear a story of the mind, Duke Bluebeard returns to his castle with his new bride, Judith. She’s elegantly dressed, in a silvery white dress with a bright red scarf. But the castle is dark and dank, there are no windows, and the walls sweat with moisture.

Judith has married Bluebeard against her family’s wishes. But when he quizzes her about that, she says she has no regrets. As for the forbidding castle, she says she’ll brighten the place up.
The castle has seven mysterious doors, and Judith’s curiosity about what’s behind them becomes her weakness. She needs to know Bluebeard’s secrets, and she plays on her femininity to persuade her husband to unlock the first two.

When the first door opens, Judith sees shackles, daggers and branding irons. Blood is seeping from the walls. This is no rumpus room with a few whips and chains. It’s a fully equipped torture chamber, and Bluebeard admits it. But when he asks Judith if that frightens her, she says no.

Behind the next door is Bluebeard’s armory, containing an array of bloodstained weapons. Again, Judith says she is not afraid, and she insists on having the keys to all the doors. She says, “I came here because I love you. I am yours. Show me all your secrets.”

The mood and the music change as the third door opens. Behind it are Bluebeard’s immense riches. There are diamonds, gold and fabulous gowns of ermine. He offers her everything. Judith notices that all the precious gems are stained with blood.

Bluebeard encourages her to open door number four. It opens into a place of great beauty, a secret garden — where Judith glimpses spatters of blood on the roses.

The opening of the fifth door marks the high point in the musical arc of the opera. The huge orchestra, including an organ, blares triumphantly, and Judith lets out a loud cry as the door reveals a panoramic view of Bluebeard’s entire kingdom. It’s all hers if she wants it. A glorious light streams in, but the lands are awash with blood.

Bluebeard declares the last two doors off limits. But Judith is obsessed and sweet-talks Bluebeard into opening number six. As Judith turns the key, she can hear deep sighs and the sound of weeping. Behind the door is a strangely tranquil lake. “What sort of water is this?” she asks. Bluebeard admits that it’s not water. It’s a lake of tears.

Bluebeard begs Judith for kisses, but she’s focused only on what’s behind the final door. She has guessed his secret. She says the rumors must be true. He has murdered each of his three former wives.

When the seventh door is unlocked, Judith sees them, dressed in their finery — seemingly alive, but shimmering and ghostly. Bluebeard says he met one of his wives at daybreak, one at noon, and one in the evening. And now a fourth, at midnight. Bluebeard insists that she will be the queen of all his wives. Judith begs to be spared, but he takes the red scarf she’s wearing and strangles her with it. After a brief struggle, he drops her to the ground, and Bluebeard is alone once more.

Samuel Ramey on Sesame Street – “L Toreador”

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