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Thursday | Nov 08, 2012

Miracle on Farnam

Opera Omaha is excited to be one of 14 creative non-profit organizations participating in “Miracle on Farnam”. This is a wonderful opportunity to be part of public holiday displays in Midtown Crossing. As part of this season-long celebration of holiday cheer, each participant designs and installs a window display to showcase the mission and activities of the organization.

This free public event commences on Thursday, November 15 at dusk with the annual lighting of the Midtown Crossing holiday lights and presentation of the windows. Be part of the action! After visiting the displays, you can vote for your favorite either online at www.miracleonfarnam.com or at any Midtown Crossing merchant. The winning organization receives a check for $3,000 and bragging rights.

The participant list is impressive! We can’t wait to see how each of the creative minds from the list below visually express the organization’s mission.

  • The Blue Barn Theatre
  • The Durham Museum
  • Joslyn Art Museum
  • Joslyn Castle Trust
  • The Kent Bellows Studio and Center for Visual Arts
  • Lauritzen Gardens
  • Omaha Children’s Museum
  • Omaha Community Playhouse
  • Omaha Performing Arts
  • Omaha Symphony Guild
  • Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium
  • The Rose Theater
  • Strategic Air and Space Museum

There is no need to travel far from home to see enchanting holiday window displays. Instead, take a short drive or walk to visit Midtown Crossing’s “Miracle on Farnam”. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite. It’s a free, fun holiday celebration for the entire family! 

Friday | Nov 02, 2012

Opera Omaha Week and a Master Class

We are nearing the end of Opera Omaha Week, which is part of National Opera Week. The overall goal of National Opera Week is advocacy for the art form. The week is full of events promoted and arranged by opera companies across the United States. The events are free or very low cost and open to the public. Again, the goal is to engage people who may not otherwise attend an operatic event and give opera a wider public exposure.

Our week of events included a pre-broadcast talk by famed stage director, James de Blasis, at the Film Streams Met HD showing of Othello, a luncheon with Metropolitan Opera star, Peter Volpe, a Halloween party featuring Mr. Volpe and the Opera Omaha Artists in Residence, and, finally, on Saturday, a vocal master class led by Mr. Volpe. All of these events were free and open to the Omaha community and beyond. THIS is the meaning of National Opera Week!

The vocal master class this Saturday, November 3 begins at 1:00pm. Everyone is welcome to attend. Although the name “vocal master class” may sound very formal, the event is relaxed. You are not asked to sing or to participate. Attendees will hear Peter Volpe and our Artists in Residence (Maria Lindsay, Andrew Spady, and Kirk Vaughn Robinson) perform and Mr. Volpe will offer suggestions and information to the Artists in Residence. The audience is welcome to ask questions and you do not have to stay for the entire class.

We want you to join us at our office, 1850 Farnam Street, for entertainment and refreshments this Saturday as we end Opera Omaha Week. Help us celebrate National Opera Week with four magnificent singers in a relaxed, fun atmosphere. RSVP to our Production Coordinator and fabulous Opera Omaha Week organizer, Cammy Watkins, at cwatkins@operaomaha.org. We can’t wait to see you here!

Mr. Volpe’s biography below and the photograph above are from his website.

American bass Peter Volpe continually receives critical and popular acclaim on four continents. Possessing a vast and ever-expanding repertoire of over 80 roles in six languages, his captivating style and interpretive skill embraces the depth of historical and fictional characters. Of a recent portrayal as Prince Gremin in Eugene Onegin, Opera News said he “managed to create in his single aria and scene an impressive dignity. His full-bodied bass and great candor of tone, together with his intelligent interpretation, won him a well-deserved ovation.”

In 2011 and beyond, performances include Angelotti in Tosca, Idraote in Rossini’s Armida and Doctor Grenvil in La Traviata at the Metropolitan Opera, Deguiche in DiChiera’s Cyrano at the Florida Grand Opera, Timur in Turandot at Florentine Opera of Milwaukee, Frere Laurent in Romeo et Juliette at Vancouver Opera, Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor at Austin Lyric Opera, and Ramfis in Aida at Arizona Opera.

Most recent operatic engagements from the past two seasons (2008-2010) include Idraote in Armida at the Metropolitan Opera, Marcel in Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots at the Bard Festival, Gremin in Eugene Onegin at Vancouver Opera and Opera Lyra Ottawa, Timur in Turandot at Opera Lyra Ottawa, Silva in Ernani and Mephistopheles in Faust covers at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Commendatore in Don Giovanni at Palm Beach Opera, Zuniga in Carmen at Arizona Opera, and Sparafucile in Rigoletto with Austin Lyric Opera, Arizona Opera and Portland Opera.

In the 2007-2008 season, Mr. Volpe created the role of Deguiche in world premiere of Cyrano with the Michigan Opera Theatre and Opera Company of Philadelphia, as well as performing Frere Laurent in Romeo et Juliettewith the Baltimore Opera, and Jacqueau in War and Peaceand Frere Laurent cover in Romeo et Juliette at the MET. Operatic engagements from 2006-2007 season include Banquo in Macbeth with Arizona Opera, the title role in Don Giovanni with Florentine Opera of Milwaukee, Frere Laurent in Romeo et Juliette with Atlanta Opera and Michigan Opera Theatre, and Zuniga in Carmen with the Seiji Ozawa Opera Project in Japan.

Mr. Volpe made his notable Metropolitan Opera debut in their new production of Prokofiev’s War and Peace, and has subsequently returned for new productions of Berlioz’ Les Troyen, Strauss’ Salome, Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov, as well as Falstaff, Gianni Schicchi, Carmen, Aida, I Vespri Siciliani, Cyrano di Bergerac, and Andrea Chenier, among others. In addition, he has appeared with San Francisco Opera in productions of Salome, Nabucco, and Romeo et Juliette, with the Lyric Opera of Chicago in Falstaff, with Washington National Opera for Britten’s Billy Budd and Tchaikovsky’s Maid of Orleans, as well as Mephistopheles in Faust and Ramfis in Aida with Palm Beach Opera, Mephistopheles in Faust with Vancouver Opera, and a debut with Portland Opera as Banquo in Macbeth.

As a concert soloist, he has performed Verdi’s Requiem with the Philharmonia Orchestra of London at the Chichester Festival, the Manhattan Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall, L’Orchestra d’Imola in Italy, Oberlin Conservatory, Arizona State University, the Indianapolis Symphony, the Queens Symphony, and the Augusta Choral Society. He has also performed Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the New York Metropolitan Orchestra, Edmonton Symphony and Augusta Choral Society, Handel’s Messiah with Edmonton and Louisville Symphonies, and Mozart’s Requiem with the Choral Society of Philadelphia.

Wednesday | Oct 24, 2012

It’s tomorrow! It’s Monsters and Mayhem with the Greater Omaha Young Professionals.

Don’t forget to register! Your chance to participate in this fun event ends tomorrow. Join us!

“Monsters and Mayhem” is a costume party for a cause. Or, in this case, several causes. The beginning of the evening is the Trick-Serve-Give Nonprofit Fair from 5:30-8:00pm. Attendees pay $10 admission to the event which they then receive back in tokens to be given to the nonprofit fair agency of their choice. The money donated goes directly to the chosen nonprofit and attendees participate in creative booth displays and raffles. The second half of the evening includes a costume contest and party. All of this happens on Thursday, October 25, 2012 at the Scoular Ballroom.

Don’t miss your chance to be part of “Monsters and Mayhem”. More information is on the Greater Omaha Young Professionals website. 

More information about our SECOND Halloween party of 2012 will be posted in a follow-up blog entry about Opera Omaha’s participation in National Opera Week. If you want more details now, visit our Facebook page!

Thursday | Oct 11, 2012

We’re part of Monsters and Mayhem!

Opera productions and costumes go hand in hand, so it’s no surprise that Opera Omaha is part of TWO Halloween parties this year. The first is a great honor and delight. Our organization was chosen through a competitive application process to be included in the Greater Omaha Young Professionals event, “Monsters and Mayhem”.

“Monsters and Mayhem” is a costume party for a cause. Or, in this case, several causes. The beginning of the evening is the Trick-Serve-Give Nonprofit Fair from 5:30-8:00pm. Attendees pay $10 admission to the event which they then receive back in tokens to be given to the nonprofit fair agency of their choice. The money donated goes directly to the chosen nonprofit and attendees participate in creative booth displays and raffles. The second half of the evening includes a costume contest and party. All of this happens on Thursday, October 25, 2012 at the Scoular Ballroom.

Don’t miss your chance to be part of “Monsters and Mayhem”. More information is on the Greater Omaha Young Professionals website. 

More information about our SECOND Halloween party of 2012 will be posted in a follow-up blog entry about Opera Omaha’s participation in National Opera Week. If you want more details now, visit our Facebook page!

Sunday | Oct 07, 2012

Today’s your last chance! See our LA TRAVIATA today at 2pm!

Our 2012-2013 season opening production of Giuseppe Verdi’s La traviata opened on Friday, October 5 and closes today, Sunday, October 7. Curtain time is 2:00pm. It’s a gorgeous production full of astonishingly skilled singers and other artisans. Don’t miss it!

Tickets start at only $19 and are available at the door or online at Ticket Omaha. The Omaha World Herald review and a lovely production photo are below. Come! Join us! Enjoy the elegance that is a sure harkening to 19th Century French affluence and drama.

Opera Omaha goes big and bold with lush and lavish ‘La Traviata’

Soprano effortlessly soars to vocal stratosphere

By Todd Von Kampen
World-Herald Corespondent
To better appreciate the significance of Opera Omaha’s newly opened 55th season, imagine if “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Les Miserables” — respectively the top two

musicals in combined Broadway and London performances — were produced at the Orpheum Theater four months apart.

The corresponding worldwide honors in opera belong to Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” which awaits Opera Omaha audiences in February, and Giuseppe Verdi’s “La Traviata,” which opened at the Orpheum on Friday night with a lavish musical and visual telling of the tale of a dying Paris courtesan redeemed by love.

Because of tonight’s John Williams program by the Omaha Symphony (which provided superb accompaniment in the Slosburg Hall pit under conductor Joseph Rescigno), Omahans have only one more opportunity at 2 p.m. Sunday — to experience an opera that struggled for acclaim after its 1853 premiere but features at least two arias that even novice patrons likely have heard somewhere before.

Based on a story by “The Three Musketeers” novelist Alexandre Dumas, “La Traviata” centers on Violetta Valery, whose health is fading from tuberculosis. She’s quite used to losing herself in the refined yet decadent pursuits of wealthy Parisians in the early 1700s. But she doesn’t count on young Alfredo Germont, who sweeps away her cynicism with his devotion — but in the process prompts his father, Giorgio, to demand that Violetta give him up to preserve his family.

All this would be difficult to follow if audiences weren’t blessed with a captioning screen above the stage to translate the opera’s Italian arias and recitatives. Sunday’s audience also will enjoy impassioned acting as well as singing from tenor Joshua Kohl (Alfredo) and baritone Jake Gardner (Giorgio), whose characters both are changed forever by Violetta’s embrace of her last chance to selflessly love another human being.

Soprano Inna Dukach’s portrayal of Violetta seemed to grow as the opera progressed, though that likely can be attributed to the opera’s dramatic arc. Her mastery of Verdi’s vocal demands is evident throughout in her rich vibrato delivery and her seemingly effortless visits to the vocal stratosphere.

By contrast, Dukach’s character seemed dramatically flat in the soiree. Consider, though, the jaded, shallow nature of Violetta’s life up to that point. Dukach’s presentation changes profoundly as Violetta struggles with her reaction to Alfredo’s suit, surrenders to it and then bravely confronts the reality that a fully realized and lived-out love includes periods of suffering as well as times of bliss.

The other singing roles and the chorus shine when given the opportunity, particularly in the soirée scene and a subsequent masked ball featuring depictions of Gypsies, bullfights and flashy flamenco dances. Sunday’s audience also should take note of the dazzling colors in the women’s gowns and the angled set walls and ceiling beams that create the impression of massive mansion rooms.

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