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Wednesday | Sep 14, 2016

Giacomo Puccini’s La bohème

la-boheme-movie-poster-1965-1020435777In Short:

A group of young Bohemians commune together in poverty, but passion emerges when a chance encounter causes Rodolfo to fall in love with the enchanting Mimi. Yet Rodolfo worries that his destitution will only quicken Mimi’s lessening health. A tale of joy and sorrow, of love and loss, the timeless boy-meets-girl love story of La Bohème sings meaning into the small mementos and chance encounters that come to define our very lives.

Opening Night:

Puccini first settled on the subject of a Bohemian opera in 1893 and his interest in the material was strengthened following a well-publicized argument with rival composer Ruggero Leoncavallo. Thus the premiere of La bohème on February 1, 1896 at the Teatro Regio in Turin, Italy was highly anticipated among the public. Interestingly enough, this first performance garnered a subdued reaction from the audience and polarized responses from critics, yet the opera quickly gained traction throughout Italy and four more opera houses had mounted their own productions in the following season. In October of 1897, the opera had also reached the shores of North America with Los Angeles hosting the American premiere. Puccini’s famous Bohemian work first appeared at Opera Omaha in the 1967-68 season and has since been performed on eight different occasions. With its November 2016 production, La bohème will tie with another Puccini opera, Madama Butterfly, as Opera Omaha’s most frequently produced title.

Leah Partridge stars as Mimi in Opera Omaha's upcoming production

Leah Partridge stars as Mimi in Opera Omaha’s upcoming production

Leave it to the Critics:

Despite the great success that La bohème found among audiences across the globe, a number of critics succeeded in finding areas for complaint. Some found the sweet nature of the plot off-putting, having expected something more along the dark and dramatic lines of Puccini’s earlier success Manon Lescaut. Others found his music unsophisticated and too easily enjoyed, mocking the apparent lack of difficulty in the writing and finding the musical content to be, on the whole, unintellectual. The esteemed Benjamin Britten, in fact, put pen to paper in 1951 and wrote of La bohème, “after four or five performances I never wanted to hear [it] again. In spite of its neatness, I became sickened by the cheapness and emptiness of the music.” Sensibilities of the critics aside, audiences have continuously fallen in love with this opera thanks to the scoffed at sweetness of the story and its flowing melodies, which though simple, are nonetheless poignant.

Name that Tune:

La bohème is monumental in that it marks the emergence of Puccini as a fully mature composer.  His original style utilizes short motifs to represent characters, themes and moods to underscore or highlight certain aspects of the opera’s plot. Through his use of these motifs, Puccini allows the audience a glimpse into the minds and emotions of his characters, giving them room for development beyond what is contained within the libretto. It’s no wonder then, with Puccini coming into his own as a composer, that La bohème contains some of opera’s most memorable arias. Among these is “Che gelida manina” the Act I introduction of Rodolfo and his dreams and the famous love duet “O soave fanciulla.”

La bohème
Nov. 4 & 6, 2016
Orpheum Theater
Click here for tickets.

Thursday | Jul 14, 2016

Get to know the staff: Jesse Koza

Jesse

Jesse Koza
Artistic Associate – Production
Length of time you have worked with Opera Omaha: 2 Months

Six-word summary of your job/duties/what you do: Everything they ask me to do.

Describe the best or most rewarding part of your job: Congratulating the children after an audition.

What is something you do in your position that people might not expect: Let me put it this way: when they put “Other duties as assigned” on the job posting, know that it will cover a lot of interesting activities.

Your all-time favorite opera or theatrical production: Handel’s Acis and Galatea

Your unofficial position in the company: New Guy.

Your secret talent: I can find pretty much anything hidden in the internet’s many tubes.

Create a super-hero persona based on your position in the company: The Valiant Volunteer! I’m the new guy to the company, plus I have a job that has me helping several different people simultaneously. I’m available to help someone when they need it!

Pick two more staff members to be your sidekick and arch-nemesis: Being the New Guy, I don’t really have a sidekick. But my pink erasable pen is most definitely on my utility belt. My nemesis would most definitely have to be my phone, mostly because I haven’t yet figured out how to transfer a call to someone else’s voicemail (no matter how many times they show me).

Outside of the office you can be found doing….: I write! (A lot.) For example, I have a play being produced in the Pittsburgh area, and I have a comic book (Tegan and Archer) for sale online.

Wednesday | Jul 13, 2016

Get to know the staff: Katie Broman

Katie1

Katie Broman
Director of Marketing and Public Relations
Length of time you have worked with Opera Omaha: 10 months

Six-word summary of your job/duties/what you do: Promote opera/develop audiences/communicate/write

Describe the best or most rewarding part of your job: Seeing all of the patrons being moved/stunned/delighted/transformed by opera at the Orpheum at performances.

What is something you do in your position that people might not expect: I don’t think it’s unexpected, but I manage social media.

Your all-time favorite opera or theatrical production: I loved our recent production of The Barber of Seville. So fun! Theatrically, Billy Elliot is one of my all-time favorites, and I would kill to see Hamilton on Broadway.

Your unofficial position in the company: Resident Snacker

Your secret talent: I don’t like to brag, but I’m pretty awesome at writing song parodies and jingles.

Create a super-hero persona based on your position in the company: The juggler. I think marketers are always juggling a lot of projects and nonprofit arts just bump that up to the next level.

Outside of the office you can be found doing…: Walking my Bernese Mountain Dog, Finley, playing volleyball with my friends, dining with my husband, watching garbage reality television.

Katie2

Tuesday | Jul 12, 2016

Get to know the staff: Roger Weitz

Roger

Roger Weitz
General Director
Length of time you have worked with Opera Omaha: 5 years

Six-word summary of your job/duties/what you do: Chief Executive Officer and Artistic Planner

Describe the best or most rewarding part of your job: Joining incredible staff, Board, artists, volunteers, audience, and community in bringing incredible works of art to life.  It is highly rewarding to be a part of the process from start to finish: from the inception of an idea to the final performance.

What is something you do in your position that people might not expect: I’m an obsessive proofreader

Your all-time favorite opera or theatrical production: Sometimes a live performance of a beautiful work comes at a pivotal time in your life and the result is beyond magic. One of those biggest moments for me was a performance of Tristan und Isolde at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2000; the finale of the opera – the Liebestod – almost sent me over the edge.

Your unofficial position in the company: The Optimist

Your secret talent: Making budgets bend to my will

Create a super-hero persona based on your position in the company: El Capitan

Arch-Nemesis: The Copy Machine

Outside of the office you can be found doing… Jumping on a trampoline with my 5-year old son, Freddie

Monday | Jul 11, 2016

Get to know the staff: Kat Pursell

Kat

Katherine (Kat) Pursell
Production Manager
Length of time you have worked with Opera Omaha: 1 year

Six-word summary of your job/duties/what you do: Manage all technical aspects of shows

Describe the best or most rewarding part of your job: Seeing the final product being a success with an audience on opening night.

What is something you do in your position that people might not expect: Drive the 26’ box truck like a champ! I’m also a carpenter and theatre electrician so I pitch in from time to time.

Your all-time favorite opera or theatrical production: I could not pick a favorite! I love the arts in all its’ forms.

Your unofficial position in the company: Your secret talent: I sing and play guitar.

Outside of the office you can be found doing….: Relaxing! Going to movies, watching TV, riding my bike through the park, hanging out with friends, etc.

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