Thursday | Jan 31, 2013

Meet the Artist: Pamina, Monica Yunus

Who is Pamina? What part does she have in the storyline of The Magic Flute? According to a character analysis posted on harmonia mundi’s website, Pamina is:

“the object of both the noblest and the basest desires (Tamino and Monostatos respectively), she is Tamino’s reward for successfully undergoing his initiation. As the daughter of the Queen of the Night, she is torn between her filial love and her love for Tamino. She plays an active role on the path towards wisdom, leading Tamino behind her in the final trials. Mozart assigned her the most deeply-felt arias, quivering with emotion, sometimes desperate, in which she displays a nobility and resolution that foreshadow the qualities of the heroines of early Romanticism, such as Beethoven’s Leonore or Agathe in Der Freischütz.”

Soprano, Monica Yunus

There is no lady more suited to play a noble heroine than soprano, Monica Yunus. In additional to performing with The Metropolitan Opera, Washington National Opera, and an impressive list of European and U.S. opera companies, “Ms. Yunus is the Co-Director of Sing for Hope, a non-profit organization that mobilizes artists in volunteer service to benefit communities in need. (” Please take a moment to learn more about Sing for Hope through the organization’s website.

In the previous calendar year, Opera Omaha has been fortunate to welcome Monica Yunus as a special guest artist at KANEKO and the Joslyn Art Museum. We are thrilled to have Ms. Yunus return to Omaha to sing the role of Pamina in The Magic Flute. More information about the artist and humanitarian is available below and on her website.

The following biography was provided to Opera Omaha by Ms. Yunus.


Soprano Monic Yunus joins The Metropolitan Opera as Yvette in their production of La Rondine, Opera Omaha as Pamina in The Magic Flute, and The Wichita Symphony performances of Carmina Burana during the 2012-2013 season. Recent engagements include Norina in Don Pasquale with Opera Memphis, Oscar in Un Ballo in Maschera with Washington National Opera, Zerlina in Don Giovanni with Austin Lyric Opera, Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro with Opera Omaha, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel with Palm Beach Opera, and Adele in Die Fledermaus with Nashville Opera. She has joined The Metropolitan Opera for numerous productions including The Enchanted Island, Le Comte Ory, Die Zauberflöte, Manon, and Don Giovanni. Recent concert performances include engagements with Andrea Bocelli in Lajatico, Italy, with José Carerras at The Zouk Mikael International Festival in Lebanon, and with Plácido Domingo at The Jordan Festival in Amman, Jordan.

Monday | Jan 28, 2013

Meet the Artists: Priests/Armored Men, Edwin Vega and Darik Knutsen

Today, we introduce you to the two marvelous young men who sing the roles of the Priests and Armored Man #1 and #2 in our February 22 and 24 production of The Magic Flute. Please read on to meet Mr. Edwin Vega and Mr. Darik Knutsen. More information about the singers is available on their websites through these links: Edwin Vega and Darik Knutsen.

First, we have the photo and biography of Mr. Edwin Vega, tenor. Mr. Vega recently earned high praise from the press for his appearance with the English National Opera. We can’t wait to welcome Mr. Vega to Omaha when he joins our The Magic Flute cast as a Priest and Armored Man #1!

Tenor, Edwin Vega

Biography: Tenor, Edwin Vega (Courtesy of ADA Artist Management and Representation)

Tenor Edwin Vega recently made his debut with the English National Opera debut as Molqi in Death of Klinghoffer followed by his role debut of Goro in Madama Butterfly with Nevada Opera. This past summer Mr. Vega returned to the Santa Fe Opera as a Servant (Arabella) and King Edrisi understudy in Szymanowski’s King Roger. Mr. Vega recently returned to the dell’Arte Opera Ensemble performing the roles of Tanzmeister and Brighella in new production of Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos, and to Chicago Opera Theater for the Chicago premiere of Charpentier’s Medee. Last season he was featured as Rubens Barrichello (the title character’s protégé) in the Metropolitan Opera’s new opera workshop of Michael Torke’s Senna. Mr. Vega made his Carnegie Hall debut in Jerry Springer – The Opera starring Harvey Keitel and sang Rinuccio in the summer of 2010 with the dell’Arte Opera Ensemble’s new production of Gianni Schicchi.

Next, we present the photo and biography of Mr. Darik Knutsen, baritone. Mr. Knutsen is a Priest and Armored Man #2 in our The Magic Flute cast. He also performed in a community outreach appearance for Opera Omaha at the Cathedral Arts Project’s annual Flower Festival this week before beginning rehearsal for The Magic Flute. Mr. Knutsen’s recent performances earned praise from multiple media outlets. Welcome to Omaha, Mr. Knutsen!

Baritone, Darik Knutsen

Biography: Baritone, Darik Knutsen

Darik Knutsen, baritone from McLean Va, began singing as a boy soprano with the National Cathedral Boys’ Choir when he was 9 years old.
This coming spring he looks forward to singing the title role in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin with Middlebury Opera. This past November Mr. Knutsen made his international debut singing Marcello in La Boheme under Lorin Maazel in Muscat, Oman.
This past summer Mr. Knutsen sang the male lead, Fredrik, in Sondheim’s A Little Night Music with the Castleton Festival. He also understudied the role of Figaro in Rossini’s Barbiere di Siviglia. Previous operatic experience includes Wagner in Faust with the Santa Fe Opera 2011, Arcas in Charpentier’s Médée with Chicago Opera Theater 2011, Schlemil in The Tales of Hoffmann SFO 2010, Servant in the World Premier of Life is a Dream SFO 2010, as well as the title role of Eugene Onegin at the Chautauqua Institute of Music 2009.

Thursday | Jan 24, 2013

Meet the Artists: The Spirits

This is a special “Meet the Artist” blog post. We don’t often have the opportunity to highlight the achievements and talents of very young singers. Today, we bring you four members of the Metropolitan Boys Choir of Minneapolis/Saint Paul who sing the roles of the Spirits in our February 22 and 24, 2013 production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute.

The four boys and Boys Choir Director, Bea Hasselmann, will be in Omaha during the first two weekend in February and then take up temporary residence for two weeks as they rehearse to perform their roles. We are thrilled to have Camilo, Joseph, Matt, and Riley join us and be part of this professional opera production! Welcome to Omaha!

Photo courtesy of San Francisco Opera and Takashi Hatakeyama

The photo above is from the San Francisco production of The Magic Flute and appears here courtesy of photographer Takashi Hatakeyama. This same Jun Kaneko-designed production, including costumes, is what you will see on the beautiful Orpheum Theater stage when you Opera Omaha presents the opera on February 22 and 24, 2013. The photo illustrates the positioning of the Spirits as they “fly” over the stage.

Don’t miss this beautiful production of Mozart’s classic opera. It has humor, drama, and flying children. That’s entertainment! Tickets are still available for both dates by calling 402-345-0606 or online through Ticket Omaha.

More information about the Metropolitan Boys Choir of Minneapolis/Saint Paul is available on the organization’s website. A group photo, provided by the organization, is below.

Metropolitan Boys Choir of Minneapolis

Director Bea Hasselmann’s biography from our program is below.

Bea Hasselmann is the founder/Music Director of the Metropolitan Boys Choir, a successful program for boys’ voices that has been in existence for forty-two years. She has taught music in schools to students in grade, junior, senior high schools and college. She has received numerous awards from music fraternities/organizations and the State of Minnesota. She served as a chairperson of state and national committees for the American Choral Directors Association and has been a choral clinician/speaker for music conventions and festivals in numerous states and at an International Choral Symposium at Yale University in 2012. In 2000 she created a music program at the Minnesota Correctional Facility of Red Wing for men, a program that has generated national and international interest.

Thursday | Jan 10, 2013

The Uses of Enchantment

Artwork by Dan Toberer

The title is intriguing. It sounds mysterious and maybe a bit ethereal. How would you use “enchantment” in visual or performing arts? How does art enchant you?

We’re excited to partner with event organizer and artist, Paula Wallace, in an invitational show that encouraged visual interpretations of our upcoming productions of Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle. We’re merging art forms! How exciting!

Come, join us, and explore local artists’ interpretation of the theme in a show at Hot Shops Art Center. The artists’ reception and gallery opening for “The Uses of Enchantment” is this Friday, January 11 from 6-9pm. Wine and cheese will be available. This event is FREE and open to the public.

This is part of the Art for Food series of gallery openings. Please bring a canned good or two for donation to the Omaha Food Bank. The big, blue barrels will be in Hot Shops’ lobby on Friday waiting for you to fill them.

Artwork by Girl Scout participants in Artventures

More information and a link to event information on Hot Shops’ website is below.

The Uses of Enchantment
Friday evening, 11 January, 6-9 P.M.
Nicholas Street Gallery – Hot Shops Art Center
1301 Nicholas Street
Omaha, NE 68102

The event is free and open to the public. Non-perishable food donations are being accepted to support the Food Bank. Help us fill the barrels to overflowing. The Omaha Entertainment Award nominees are also presenting work across the hall in the 1301 Gallery. Art everywhere!

Artwork by David Hansen

The Uses of Enchantment invites the artist and the viewer to consider the themes found in two very different tales being presented by Opera Omaha as part of their 2012-2013 season: The Magic Flute and Bluebeard’s Castle. Like the ambiguities and contradictions of life, the composers invite the listener into stories through compelling melodies and a libretto which defies – or defines – the lushness of the music with the dramas of the characters. The artist may see the story, finding its narrative in the common – or certainly using what is common as their agent of vocabulary: clay, pigment, metal, wood, paper.

Begin the year with the arts. Find beauty. Nurture creativity. Be surprised.

Artwork by Matt Schrader

Please join us!

Wednesday | Dec 12, 2012

Give the gift of opera

How many people do you have on your seasonal gift-giving list? How many of those people fall into the “impossible-to-buy-for” category? Opera Omaha can help you with that.

Violetta (played by Inna Dukach), is hard-to-buy-for. She wants opera tickets.


We offer a two-performance package as a mini subscription. It includes a ticket to both of our remaining productions in our 2012-2013 season. One ticket to both the Jun Kaneko production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute and to Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle with Samuel Ramey in the title role can be purchased for as little as $32 total. That is a fantastic deal! You could send two people to professional opera productions, not once, but twice, for $64. Wow!

There are a few bonuses that accompany this fantastic offer. See the list below for more information and then call us at 402-346-4398 to cross those wonderful, hard-to-buy-for people off your holiday gift list. Our ticket office is open to be your one-stop-shop Monday through Friday from 9:00AM to 5:00PM. We’re waiting for your call!

Subscriber bonuses:

Free, uncomplicated ticket changes from one day to another. For example, if you purchase tickets to our Friday evening shows and the gift recipient can’t attend on Friday, the tickets can be swapped for tickets to our Sunday matinee. This is accomplished with one phone call to our offices. No complicated process or requirements.

Additional tickets are available at the discounted, subscriber rate.

Our subscribers are the first to know about our upcoming special events and our season announcements.

Opera Omaha’s Patron Services Manager, Tom Chandler

Anyone from our friendly office staff is available to assist you during business hours. Our Patron Services Manager, Tom Chandler, specializes in working with our subscribers to answer questions and assist with ticketing and related issues.



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