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Opera Omaha Kicks Off Season with “This is Opera!”


Marking their 54th year of bringing world class opera to the Omaha Metro Area, Opera Omaha kicks off their season with “This is Opera!”  James de Blasis, former General and Artistic Director of Cincinnati opera returns to Omaha to helm this semi-staged concert of the greatest hits of the opera genre.  De Blasis directed the famous Opera Omaha production of Lucia di Lammermoor with soprano Beverly Sills when the Orpheum Theater re-opened in 1975.

Joining de Blasis on the artistic team will be Mark Flint, who has led the majority of orchestras in world-renowned opera houses throughout the United States and Canada, including New York City Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, and Florida Grand Opera.  Mike Riggs, who has worked extensively in opera and for two off-off Broadway companies, will serve as lighting designer.  

Billed as a “breathtaking multisensory experience”, the show will feature scenes from some of the most famous opera’s in history, including: Aida, Tosca, Turandot, and The Ballad of Baby Doe.  Opera Omaha also welcomes back four principal artists who have a long history with the company.  Elizabeth Blancke-Biggs (Tosca, Aida), Arnold Rawls (Turandont, Wakonda’s Dream, Aida),  Todd Thomas (Pagliacci, Madama Butterfly) as well as former young artist Stacey Rishoi will be joining the Opera Omaha Chorus and the Omaha Symphony at the Orpheum Theater.  

“This concert fits perfectly with our season that we have titled ‘Experience Greatness’.  The music we will be featuring is the music everyone knows from commercials and movies and what better way to experience that is through a live performance at the great Orpheum theater.” said Brad A Watkins, communications director at Opera Omaha.

This is Opera! will also feature a silent auction in the lobby of the Orpheum Theater hosted by the Opera Omaha Guild.  A special champagne toast will launch the bidding at 6:00 pm.  Several opera stars and important artists from Opera Omaha’s 54 year history have donated items to be sold. A plate signed by famed soprano Beverly Sills, a copy of soprano Renee Fleming’s autobiography signed by the artist, a Jun Kaneko print of the Madama Butterfly wedding, and a pastel painting by famed conductor, Joseph Rescigno, are just a few of the one of a kind objects featured.  Dinner parties, wine, and Chicago Opera Theater tickets will also be among the items available for bidding.  All proceeds from the auction go to the Opera Omaha Guild which helps to fund the educational efforts of Opera Omaha.

Tickets are on sale now and start as low as $19.   To purchase tickets you may call 402.346.4398, go to operaomaha.org, or visit ticketomaha.com.   The concert will be sung in the original languages but will have projected English translations above the stage.   Hal France, former Artistic Director of Opera Omaha will serve as emcee for the evening, walking the audience through the scenes of each extraordinary piece.  

Opera Omaha continues the season with Hansel & Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck in November, The Marriage Contract by Gioacchino Rossini in February, and The Mikado by Gibert and Sullivan in April.

About Opera Omaha
Opera Omaha, the only professional opera company in Nebraska, began in 1958 as the Omaha Civic Opera Society, a volunteer association, and with tremendous community support became fully professional by 1970. Opera Omaha produces a season of original mainstage productions, presented at the historic Orpheum Theater, and smaller productions and musical events throughout the community. Opera Omaha is internationally known for its productions of eight world premieres and four American premieres of classical masterpieces, and is highly regarded regionally for an extensive education and outreach program that annually reaches as many as 15,000 people from elementary school through adulthood.

Silent Auction Items

A signed copy of soprano Renee Fleming’s autobiography.

A signed print from Jun Kaneko of the Madama Butterfly wedding scene.

A charger plate from Opera Omaha’s production of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Requiem Variations

A signed lithograph from artist Paula Wallace from the upcoming new Hansel & Gretel book based on Opera Omaha’s Hansel & Gretel opera.




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