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!

Wednesday | Feb 22, 2012

The review is in!

The February 17, 18, and 19 production of Rossini’s The Marriage Contract is complete! If you missed it, you can read the Omaha World Herald review by clicking on the link below.

In other news, the Opera Omaha staff is already working hard in preparation for the April 13 and 15 production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado. Remember to check the calendar of events at for information on upcoming events.

Monday | Feb 06, 2012

Check out the photos from Opera Omaha’s “A Mixer in Mad Style” on Thursday, February 2 at House of Loom.

A Mixer in Mad Style from Justin Limoges on Vimeo.



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