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”

Wednesday | May 09, 2012

Culture pops up in the strangest places

Members of the Opera Omaha Chorus with guest soloists, tenor, Adam Fieldson and soprano, Shelby VanNordstrand, delighted travelers and staff at Omaha’s Eppley Airfield with a pop up concert. It’s like a flash mob done in opera style. Watch the video for a great view of the event. Enjoy!

Thursday | May 03, 2012

Spirits of the Opera 2012

Congratulations to the Opera Omaha Guild on a marvelous season-capping event; Spirits of the Opera. The entertainment was phenomenal, the food was scrumptious, and the drinks were selling fast! Thank you to all who attended and to the Guild for planning a fantastic, fun event!

Omaha’s local publication, metroMAGAZINE, recently posted photos taken at our 2012 Spirits of the Opera event. A link to the photos is below. Enjoy them!

Spirits of the Opera 2012 slideshow

Wednesday | Apr 25, 2012

Spirits of the Opera

Check out the Opera Omaha Guild’s promotional video for the third annual Spirits of the Opera celebration. This award-nominated event happens Saturday, April 28 beginning at 5:30pm at The Max. Luscious cocktails and delectable appetizers will be available to sustain you through the magnificent show and the after-party. Don’t be late! Join us for all the fun!

Tickets are available by clicking Ticket Omaha or calling 402-345-0606 or 402-346-4398. You can also purchase tickets at the Opera Omaha office at 1850 Farnam Street. Our office is open Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm. Stop in for a quick visit. We would love to meet you!

Monday | Apr 23, 2012

Could you be our newest Chorus member?

Do you have dreams of performing at The Orpheum Theatre? Do you have a great singing voice? I thought I heard you say, “Yes!”

We want to hear you at our upcoming auditions! Information about our May 12 auditions is below. Opera Omaha is looking for chorus members and boy sopranos to sing during our 2012-2013 season productions.

If you love to sing and perform for an audience, contact us for an audition time. Contact information and more details are below. Join us! We would love to hear you sing.

Photo by Jim Scholz–The Mikado Men’s Chorus and Terry Hodges as Pooh-Bah
Photo by Jim Scholz–The men and women of the Chorus look on in fear as The Mikado, Kevin Short, arrives
Opera Omaha
Announcement for Chorus Auditions
Opera Omaha is holding chorus auditions for La traviata
When: Saturday, May 12 from 1:00 – 5:00 PM
Where: Opera Omaha Rehearsal Hall, 1850 Farnam Street, Omaha NE (entrance on 19thStreet).
Details: You must be at least 18 years old to audition.  Prospective members will be assigned a time slot and asked to present 2 selections; one in a foreign language and one in English, not to exceed 5 minutes in total.  Arias, arts songs, or church solos are all acceptable as audition pieces.  Please provide printed music as an accompanist will be available at no cost.

Contact Cammy Watkins at or 402-346-4398 x 217 for details and to schedule an audition.  Additional information is also available at

Opera Omaha Boy Soloist Auditions

Opera Omaha will be holding auditions on Saturday, May 12, 2012 beginning at 2pm at the Opera Omaha Offices, 1850 Farnam St (entrance on 19th Street between Farnam and Douglas). These auditions are open to unchanged male voices (boy sopranos) only ages 8-12 years old; instrumental or vocal training is a plus. A musical resume or performance experience list must be received to be considered for an audition.

Audition requirements:

·         Boy Sopranos ages 8 -12
·         One musical selection (with sheet music for the accompanist) to be performed with piano accompaniment (accompanist will be provided).
·         Be available for same day call backs in which solo and group sight singing will be requested
·         Audition space is limited and scheduling is by invitation only

Only email applications will be accepted, do not call to schedule an audition. Please send resume, soloist name, parent/guardian name, phone number, and email to Cammy Watkins at, to request an audition.



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