Tuesday | Mar 13, 2012

Being in Demand–Cammy Watkins

Who doesn’t want to be “in demand”? Being in demand is a goal for every artist or performer I know. It’s wonderful to produce great work, create fantastic art, and to enjoy your life’s work, but being in demand is what pays the bills. Cammy Watkins, Opera Omaha’s Production Coordinator and chorus member, is in demand.

Cammy’s day-to-day responsibilities with Opera Omaha include managing the young professional’s group, Bravo Club, making contractual and travel arrangements for local and visiting artists, and providing invaluable management support to the production department in many other ways. When she is not facilitating great opera from the administrative and production side of the scene, she is on stage performing. 2012 marks Cammy’s 8th year as a member of the Opera Omaha chorus. She also performs with the Omaha Symphony as part of their annual Christmas with the Symphony production. In addition to all of that, she regularly performs as a soloist at church.

If you are fortunate enough to be a teacher bringing kids to the Omaha Symphony’s Carnegie Hall LINK UP event this week on Wednesday, March 14 or Thursday, March 15, you can see Cammy perform live at the Holland Performing Arts Center. If not, you can see her as part of the Opera Omaha chorus in our April 13 and 15 production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado. Don’t miss seeing this vibrant and talented Omaha native in action. Cammy Watkins is in demand. Get your tickets today!

To purchase tickets to Opera Omaha’s production of The Mikado, go online at Ticket Omaha or call 402-345-0606. More information about the Omaha Symphony’s Carnegie Hall LINK UP event is below. Registration is closed for that event. 

Photo by Jim Scholz: Cammy Watkins in The Abduction from the Seraglio
This information and more is found here:

The Orchestra Moves!
Grades 4-6
Wednesday, March 14, 2012  – 9:45 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.
Thursday, March 15, 2012 – 10:00 a.m.
(Additional performance due to popular demand!)
Holland Performing Arts Center
$5.00 per recorder student (includes student book, recorder, and concert!)
FREE for strings students
The Omaha Symphony is once again proud to partner with Carnegie Hall to present The Orchestra Moves!  Students will discover musical movement by exploring the way composers use motif, melodic direction, and dynamics, all while learning to read music and play instruments.  Designed for students learning to play the soprano recorder and stringed instruments, Link Up is a supplementary curriculum that culminates with your students performing live with the Omaha Symphony Orchestra.
Repertoire includes Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, Strauss’s The Blue Danube, Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Toreador from Bizet’s Carmen and more.

Friday | Mar 09, 2012

Meet the Artist–The Mikado, Kevin Short

Singing the title role in Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado, is the incredible bass-baritone, Kevin Short. Mr. Short most recently graced the Orpheum stage for Opera Omaha in our 2010 production of The Marriage of Figaro and our 2008 production of AidaOn April 8, 2008, Omaha World Herald reviewer John Pitcher praised Mr. Short’s interpretation and performance of Ramfis in Aida as “burnished and unfailingly sensitive”. Join us on April 13 or April 15 to hear the marvelous Kevin Short sing The Mikado in a style that will differ, but be no less musically fantastic, than his performance in Aida

 Photo by Jim Scholz: Kevin Short as Bartolo in The Marriage of Figaro

 Photo by Jim Scholz: Kevin Short as Ramfis and Opera Omaha chorus members in Aida

Mr. Short’s biography and information about past and upcoming performances is found here:

Bass-Baritone Kevin Short

Versatile bass-baritone Kevin Short is thrilling audiences around the globe in a wide range of repertoire ranging from Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, to Verdi’s Attila and Don Carlos, and Bizet’s Carmen.

North America

In North America Kevin has performed multiple roles with the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Washington Opera, Seattle Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Canadian Opera Company, Vancouver Opera, Edmonton Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Sarasota Opera, Opera Pacific, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Indianapolis Opera, Utan Symphony, Opera de las Americas, Opera Memphis, Berkshire Opera Company, Nashville Opera, Opera Omaha, Opera Birmingham, New Jersey Opera Festival, Kentucky Opera and the Opera Theatre of St. Louis to name but a sample of the many companies where he’s performed.


Making Switzerland his home now for a number of years, Kevin is also coming to the attention of European theaters and has performed at Paris’ Opera Comique, Theatre Caen, Grand Theatre du Luxembourg Oper der Stadt Koln, Staatstheater Stuttgart, Theater Aachen, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, Theater Basel, Theater Bern, Theater St. Gallen, and Teatro Nacional di São Carlos in such roles as Attila, Philippe in Don Carlos, Leporello in Don Giovanni, Mephistopheles in Faust, Osmin in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Escamillo in Carmen, Nick Shadow in The Rake’s Progress, Figaro and Il Conte in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Porgy in Porgy and Bess.


Important festivals with which Kevin has performed include the Bregenzer Festspiele, Baden – Baden, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Montpellier, France; Sarasota Opera Winter Festival, the Saito Kinen festival in Matsumoto, Japan, and festivals in Beijing, China; Hanoi, Vietnam; and Granada, Valencia, and Santiago de Compostela, Spain.


Kevin also enjoys an active concert schedule and has worked with important orchestras in the U.S.and around the world including the Boston Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, National Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Detroit Symphony, the New York Pops Orchestra, and the Opera Orchestra of New York. In Europe and Asia, he has performed with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Filharmonisch Orkest, Swiss and Italian RAI Orchestra, Radio France Orchestra, Parma Reggio Emilia Orchestra, New Japan Philharmonic, Hiroshima Symphony, and the Winter Olympics Festival Orchestra for the opening ceremonies of the winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. His vast concert repertoire include works by Bach and Beethoven and continue to the late 20th century, including Verdi’s Requiem and Mendelssohn’s Elijah.


Kevin received his training at Morgan State University, B.S., the Curtis Institute of Music, M.M., and the Juilliard School of Music Opera Center. While attending these institutions he was a prize winner in numerous competitions, but a few highlights include the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the International Competition for Verdian Voices, the Rosa Ponselle International Vocal Competition, the Bruce Yarnell Competition for Basses and Baritones, the Opera America Competition, the Leiderkranz Competition, and received awards and grants from the Sullivan Foundation, the Shoshana Foundation, and Opera Index.

 For tickets to The Mikado contact Ticket Omaha at 402-345-0606, Opera Omaha at 402-346-4398, or go online at

Wednesday | Mar 07, 2012

Meet the Artist–Set Designer, Peter Dean Beck and Lighting Designer, Donald Thomas

The Wednesday installment of our Meet the Artist series presents you with a two-for-one preview of the professionals behind the set and lighting design for The Mikado. Set Designer, Peter Dean Beck and Lighting Designer, Donald Thomas are today’s featured artists. Any staged production relies on the expertise, professionalism, and skill of the people working backstage. The magnificent performances of the actors onstage are only part of the show. The set and lighting create the mood and place of a performance and allow the actors to perform safely and to their full potential.

Enjoy reading about our featured artists, Peter Dean Beck and Donald Thomas.

Beck’s biography and photos of his past work are found here:  

“PETER DEAN BECK has designed scenery and/or lighting for over two hundred fifty productions around the country. Among his opera credits are Falstaff, Turandot, Manon, Don Giovanni, Madama Butterfly, Hansel and Gretel, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Romeo et Juliette for such companies as Atlanta Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Virginia Opera, and Chautauqua Opera. He has designed productions of Andrea Chenier, L’Italiana in Algeri, Macbeth, Elektra, and Tristan and Isolde for Hawaii Opera Theatre, where he has been principal designer for twenty-five seasons. He has also been designing opera productions for the University of Colorado for sixteen seasons. His other musical theater credits include West Side Story, Guys and Dolls, Candide, The King and I, and Fiddler on the Roof. He designed The Indigo Girls Project for Atlanta Ballet and Nutcracker for Ballet Hawaii. He designed a double bill of le Rossignol and Cavalleria Rusticana for Sakai City Opera in Japan and lit Cav/Pag in Macao and Don Carlo in Hong Kong.”

Thomas’ biography, photo, and a link to photos of his past work is found here:

“One of opera’s leading Lighting Designers, Donald Edmund Thomas has designed productions for companies worldwide including L’Opera de Montreal, Seattle Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Opera de Puerto Rico, Dallas Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Virginia Opera, Opera Pacific, the Florentine Opera in Milwaukee, Baltimore Opera, Opera Carolina, New Orleans Opera, Arizona Opera, Opera Columbus, Fort Worth Opera, Kentucky Opera, Opera Delaware, Toledo Opera and Sarasota Opera. He is the Principal Designer for the Summer Opera Theatre Company (Washington, DC), a position he has held since 1990, designing over 25 productions. He also serves on the Board of Directors of that Company.

In the 2010-2011 season, productions included Carmen at Lyric Opera of Kansas City, La Voix Humaine/I Pagliacci for Opera Cleveland, and Don Giovanni and DiChiera’s Cyrano at Florida Grand Opera. Engagements from the 2009-2010 season included Tosca at Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Otello at Palm Beach Opera, Aida at the Atlanta Opera, and Tosca at Michigan Opera Theatre. In the recent 2008-2009 season, lighting productions included Sweeney Todd with Augusta Opera, Rigoletto and Candide with Toledo Opera, Sleuth, Beehive and Evita at the Maltz-Jupiter Theatre in Florida, Rigoletto with Palm Beach Opera, Il Trovatore with the Atlanta Opera, Tosca with Arizona Opera, and Faust with Madison Opera. In the 2007-2008 season, productions include the world premiere of David DiChiera and Bernard Uzan’s Cyrano with Michigan Opera Theatre and Opera Company of Philadelphia, as well as I Pagliacci for the Seattle Opera, and La Tragedie de Carmen for the Augusta Opera.

His next lighting productions include Carmen at Seattle Opera, Le nozze di Figaro with the Lyric Opera Baltimore, The Mikado at Opera Omaha, Tosca at Fort Worth Opera, and I Pagliacci with Michigan Opera Theatre.

Additional noted productions from recent seasons include La Fanciulla del West and Manon Lescaut at the Seattle Opera, Roméo et Juliette with Michigan Opera Theatre, Carmen with the Virginia Opera, Roméo et Juliette for Atlanta Opera, Le Nozze di Figaro for the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Cosi Fan Tutte for Opera Pacific, Aida and Madama Butterfly for Palm Beach Opera, and Faust with Virginia Opera, Toledo Opera, and Palm Beach Opera.

As frequent lighting designer with Florida Grand Opera, Mr. Thomas has designed productions of La Gioconda, Katya Kabanova, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Lucia di Lammermoor, and Cavalleria Rusticana/I Pagliacci. With L’Opera de Montreal he has designed Il Trovatore, Otello, Carmen, La Gioconda, Die Zauberflöte, and Le Nozze di Figaro. Starting in 1992, he has designed over 30 productions for the Baltimore Opera, including Les Pêcheurs des Perles, Norma and Falstaff and the Werner Herzog productions of Tannhauser and Die Zauberflöte. Among the 52 productions he designed for the Florentine Opera since 1985 are Porgy and Bess, Die Fledermaus, La Bohème, Hänsel und Gretel, Abduction from the Seraglio, Eugene Onegin, La Cenerentola, Die Walkure, Elektra, Rigoletto, Der Fliegende Hollander, Turandot, The Consul, The Pirates of Penzance, Carmen and La Fille du Regiment.

Mr. Thomas also works extensively in theater, having designed Alcazar de Paris on Broadway, Fiddler on the Roof for the Theatre Now National Tour, A Moon for the Misbegotten for American Repertory Theatre, Savages for Center Stage Theatre, and The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny for the Yale Repertory Theatre. For the Maltz-Jupiter Theatre in Florida he designed recent productions of Barefoot in the Park, Deathtrap, and Man of La Mancha. He will design their 2008 productions of The Full Monty and Master Class. Mr. Thomas has an MFA from the Yale School of Drama in lighting and scenic design. Examples his work can be seen at”

Join us for Opera Omaha’s production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado on Friday, April 13 at 7:30pm or Sunday, April 15 at 2:00pm to experience the set designed by Peter Dean Beck and the lighting designs of Donald Thomas. Visit or call 402-346-4398 to reserve your seats today!

Friday | Mar 02, 2012

Meet the Artist–Conductor, Stewart Robertson

In this, the second installment of our “Meet the Artist” series, we highlight the many accomplishments of our Conductor for The Mikado, Stewart Robertson. Maestro Robertson is familiar to Omaha audiences. He previously served as Opera Omaha’s Artistic Director. As a guest artist, Maestro Robertson conducted the world premier of Blizzard Voices during our 2008-2009 season.

The following biography and photo are found at

Stewart Robertson thrives on a wide range of musical interests. The music of Mozart, Britten, Puccini, Strauss and an active involvement in new music are mingled with works of many diverse composers and periods from the last three hundred years.  Stewart Robertson recently completed a thirteen year tenure as Music Director and Principal conductor of the Florida Grand Opera and is the continuing Music Director of the Atlantic Classical Orchestra. He has recently been named Music Director Emeritus of Glimmerglass Opera in recognition of the phenomenal musical growth the company has achieved under his direction over the last two decades. He returned to Glimmerglass in the summer in 2010 for Copland’s THE TENDER LAND and has recently led productions in Fort Worth (L’ELISIR D’AMORE), Arizona (COSI FAN TUTTE), and for Michigan Opera Theatre and Opera San Jose (ANNA KARENINA). He debuted at the Wexford Festival in Ireland as conductor of Bennett’s MINES OF SULPHER presented at the new opera house built especially for the Festival. In the 2011-2012 season he will on the podium for Utah Opera conducting RIGOLETTO and he also leads Fort Worth Opera’s production of LE NOZZE DE FIGARO.

Equally at home in opera and the concert hall, he has led performances with orchestras as diverse as the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra, Mecklenburg Staatskapelle, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Sicily Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica Nacional of Mexico, the North German Philharmonic, the Florida Symphony Orchestra, the Rome Symphony Orchestra, and the Louisville Orchestra. Highlights include performances at the Lille Festival in France with the Orchestra of Maastricht, Igor Oistrakh, soloist and at the Concertgebouw with the Ukraine State Philharmonic. He has also led this orchestra both in Kiev and on tour in Holland and has recorded with them symphonies of Shostakovitch, and Prokoviev for the EMI/Verdi label. He has also recorded works by David Carlson with the Utah Symphony Orchestra on New World Records and his recording of Sir Richard Rodney Bennett’s opera THE MINES OF SULPHUR was released to great critical acclaim on the Chandos label in July 2005. He has recently completed another Bennett disc for Chandos while two further recordings of music by Stephen Hartke, with Glimmerglass, and Alan Hovhaness with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra have been released on the Naxos label.

In the realm of opera Mr. Robertson’s activities are equally wide ranging, and include New York City Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, the companies of Detroit and Montreal, the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Düsseldorf and the Norwegian National Opera. His special affinity for twentieth century British music and the music of Benjamin Britten in particular has led to the PBS broadcast of PAUL BUNYAN on Live From Lincoln Center, which received widespread acclaim. His involvement with the music of Mozart has led most recently to the establishment of a cycle of the complete Mozart operas for Florida Grand Opera. An active interest in contemporary music has resulted in many world premieres notably, ORPHEUS DESCENDING for the Lyric Opera of Chicago, MIDNIGHT ANGEL for Opera Theater of St. Louis and the CENTRAL PARK trilogy for Glimmerglass Opera. This received much critical attention and was televised on PBS’s Great Performances series.

Mr. Robertson conducted the world premiere of FEDERICO II by Marco Tutino at the Jesi Opera Festival in Italy, Stephen Hartke’s THE GREATER GOOD at Glimmerglass Opera and   new operatic works by David Carlson, Anthony Davis and Paul Moravec. Recordings of these works are planned. Other engagements include his return to Opera Theatre of St. Louis, LA BOHEME at the Puccini Festival in Torre del Lago, Tuscany, and TURANDOT at Switzerland’s Avanche Festival.
Mr. Robertson gained his early experience in opera and ballet at the opera houses of Cologne and Zurich and at Scottish Opera, where he was Music Director of the touring company. Subsequently he became Music Director of the San Bernardino Symphony and the Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra, where he was a champion of new music and a frequent broadcaster on National Public Radio.
A native of Glasgow, Scotland, Mr. Robertson is a graduate of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music. He studied piano with Denis Matthews, conducting with Otmar Suitner at the Mozarteum, Salzburg and with Hans Swarowsky in Vienna.

He is married with two children and he and his wife Meryl are, as a diversion from professional activities, attempting, perhaps ill-advisedly, but nevertheless enthusiastically to restore a castle in Argyll, Scotland where he plans a small chamber music festival.”

Join us for Opera Omaha’s production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado on Friday, April 13 at 7:30pm or Sunday, April 15 at 2:00pm to witness the magnificent work of Maestro Stewart Robertson. Visit or call 402-346-4398 to reserve your seats today!

Wednesday | Feb 29, 2012

Meet the Artist–Director, Dorothy Danner

This is the first in a series of posts titled “Meet the Artist”. Each Wednesday and Friday until April 13, we will introduce a different artist from our upcoming production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado. Today, our artist is Director Dorothy Danner. Ms. Danner’s distinguished stage career spans multiple decades and genres. Her productions receive wildly positive reviews from sources such as the New York Post, Washington Post, Kansas City Star, Milwaukee Sentinel, and Opera News.

The following photo and brief biography come from Ms. Danner’s website:

“Noted for her inventive staging, Dorothy Danner has directed nearly 200 productions of operettas, musicals and plays throughout the United States, Canada and Belgium; including operas for the companies of Glimmerglass, Houston, Philadelphia, Miami, Cleveland, Minnesota, Cincinnati, Portland, Kansas City, Virginia and for San Francisco Merola. Her production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM in New York for the Juilliard, garnered wide critical acclaim, as did her PBS-TV, TRIBUTE TO GILBERT AND SULLIVAN for the Boston Pops and her television staging of Richard Wargo’s opera, BALLYMORE- the first and only musical setting of a Brian Friel play. 
Ms. Danner has had the honor of staging the premieres of contemporary composers Barab, Botti, Garwood. Hamlisch, Harnick, Lloyd, Mechem. Musgrave, Sirotta and Wargo. And she has served on the awards panel for the National Institute of Music Theatre and on Opera America’s Panel for New Works.
As a performer, Dorothy Danner, aka Dorothy Frank, appeared in 9 Broadway shows, from the original ONCE UPON A MATTRESS to Michael Bennett’s BALLROOM. She performed on numerous TV Variety shows – Perry Como, Ed Sullivan among others- as well as in several films including Mel Brook’s THE PRODUCERS. 
A dedicated and inspiring teacher, she was co-founder of the Glimmerglass Young Artist Program, has served on the faculties of the Juilliard School, the Curtis Institute of Music, and the Chautauqua Institution and has been a frequent guest director at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, New York University, Boston University and at Carnegie-Mellon. 
Dorothy Danner is a member of a theatrical family that includes actors Blythe, Harry and Hillary Danner, Gwyneth Paltrow, writer-film maker, Jake Paltrow, actress Katherine Moennig and departed brother-in-laws, violin maker William Moennig 3rd and writer-producer Bruce Paltrow.”

To witness Ms. Danner’s staging brilliance first hand, join us for The Mikado at The Orpheum on April 13 at 7:30pm and April 15 at 2pm. Tickets are available at and by calling 402-346-4398. Thank you for supporting Opera Omaha; your local, professional opera company!



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