An Opera Company Matures in the West

The Wall Street Journal

Opera Omaha is a small company with big ambitions. It is embracing the latest trends in American opera—community engagement, alternative venues, contemporary operas and other kinds of forward-thinking artistic programming—along with standard repertory. Last week, the company announced a new spring festival as part of its 60th anniversary season in 2017-18, featuring the world premiere of an opera commissioned from composer Missy Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek, the Brooklyn-based creators of the much-anticipated “Breaking the Waves,” slated for Opera Philadelphia this fall. The artistic director of the festival, which will also feature a second opera production and other off-site events, is James Darrah, director and co-founder of the Los Angeles-based design and production company Chromatic. This interdisciplinary artists’ collective has already worked on three productions with Opera Omaha, and the coming festival is being envisioned as a kind of extended artistic residency, with creators from the two coasts meeting in the middle of the country.