by Gioachino Rossini

Friday, April 25, 2014, 7:30PM
Sunday, April 27, 2014, 2:00PM


Bring the entire family to relive the cherished fairy tale of an impoverished girl tormented by two stepsisters in her stepfather's dilapidated house.  Mistaken identities and a glamorous ball give the kindhearted Cinderella the opportunity to transform her life.  This story, full of humor and love, is told through some of Rossini's finest writing and a coloful, whimsical production.

Led by a world-renowned international creative team, this colorful and comedic production of Cinderella has graced some of the world's finest opera stages including Houston, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Toronto.  Praised by critics and loved by audiences of all ages, this is your opportunity to see several returning Opera Omaha audience favorites in a phenomenal cast, in a larger-than-life production. 

The Timelessness of Cinderella
By Director, Joan Font

The basis for La Cenerentola (Cinderella) is a tale by Charles Perrault from 1697. This tale has become a classic and tells a universal story of a girl who is mistreated by her own family and, thanks to a fairy's magic, can see her dream come true: being the love object of a prince who will take her out of her poverty and servitude and crown her as princess and queen. From this legendary tale, the musician Gioacchino Rossini (1792-1868) and the librettist Jacopo Ferretti created a delightful opera, La Cenerentola, which premiered at the Teatro Valle in Rome on the 25th of February 1817, when Rossini was just 25 years old. This opera does not respect the original tale with regard to Cinderella's magical transformation helping her to alter her fate, but it does conserve the whole plot and social concept of the original. A ruined family with a stepfather (Don Magnifico), absolutely at the limit of reality and who is always recalling the past, a man without scruples, absurd, conceited and cruel but with outstanding strength, who lives for his two natural daughters, Clorinda and Tisbe, stupid characters who are only interested in escaping from their miserable lives by finding some aristocrat who wants to marry them... And within this decadent world lives Cenerentola, representing good manners, simplicity, truth and generosity. In this situation appears a key person called Alidoro (the character replacing the fairy in the original), a wise philosopher, advisor to Prince Ramiro who is looking for the best woman for him. And this is where the life of Angelina, La Cenerentola, starts to change. There is the fun idea of changing roles to discover the truth, as the valet Dandini and Prince Ramiro swap places. Here we can observe the hypocrisy and falseness associated with power.

There is a mix of different themes in this delightful opera: the grey, sad reality of the characters' everyday lives at home; the opulence and magnificence of the "royals"; the clash of these two worlds colliding; the comic quality of these realities given their exaggerated nature, becoming grotesque and ironic; the romanticism, as love enters through the door of the true emotions and feelings between Prince Ramiro and La Cenerentola, and the dream struggling to come true.

We have wanted to take a new look at the dramatic narration of the tale and to accentuate the concept of timelessness. This isn't something that happened purely in the past: it is still valid today and is not the legacy of a single culture but of all humanity. We all dream of escaping poverty and misery, of living full and happy lives, and it's better if love brings about or acts as a catalyst for this change. But this love arrives from the outside as if by magic, and it's from another social class: the highest.

That's why the story is set in an empty, clean space and it's here where the transformations are experienced. In our interpretation of the work everything is a dream, the space is constantly changing and the transformation of each situation in the story is through light. Moreover, there is no specific architecture, not in a defined or temporal sense, but rather there's room for everything. Our aim has been to preserve the basic concept of the original tale as well as respecting the opera version, where Rossini's music adds a real dimension to the feelings, sensations and emotions of the work. This composer takes us along different paths: the comic path with characters and situations distorted from the "real" characters; the romantic path when there are love scenes between the couple, because this is a proper love with passion and desire and it's eager to be revealed; the clash of the characters' contradictory feelings and the conflictive narrative between the plot and the characters, creating different musical moments of great beauty and complexity. The characters are created under the gaze of a Mediterranean light with pure, highly exaggerated colors, a deformation that accentuates the personalities of each of the singer-actors and how they evolve within the tale. A constant metamorphosis occurs in this apparently simple and empty space and one that follows the plot since, in our interpretation, it's all a story imagined by the main character in order to escape from her dramatic situation. We enter a world of dreams-reality-fiction-imagination, combined in such a way that we're not sure where or when we are actually living. Spatial concepts appear within this empty world to bring the scenes to life, from the home of Don Magnifico, to the palace, the gardens and the cellar, with the appearance of symbolic elements, essential for giving meaning to the dramatic evolution of the opera: the coaches, the tables laid with food, the throne, the costumes... and so each of the settings, situations and actions of this voyage gradually transmute, going from the particular true reality of the beginning to another new reality, of which we have always dreamed and which might be as real as the authentic reality. The aim of our staging is to show the indefinite nature of a reality that clashes with fantasy and that perhaps, when all is said and done, was only a dream like life itself... Because dreams are but dreams.


In the home of her stepfather, Don Magnifico, Angelina (known as Cinderella) works while her two stepsisters, Clorinda and Tisbe, admire themselves. A beggar arrives at the door and while the stepsisters spurn him, Cinderella offers him food and drink. The beggar is actually the court astronomer and tutor to the prince, Alidoro, in disguise and on a secret mission to help the prince find a worthy bride.

Prince Ramiro himself arrives but also in disguise as his own valet. He is immediately taken with Cinderella and tells the family that the Prince will arrive shortly to make an important announcement. Ramiro's valet Dandini arrives with the palace courtiers and presents himself as the Prince. Deceived by this reversal of roles, Don Magnifico presents Clorinda and Tisbe to Dandini who tells them he will be hosting a ball in order to select a bride. He invites all of the eligible young women in the house to his palace. Don Magnifico dismisses Cinderella’s request to attend the ball and together with Clorinda and Tisbe leaves for the palace. Alidoro returns, removes his disguise, and provides the astonished Cinderella with a gown and a carriage.

At the royal palace Prince Ramiro and Dandini, still disguised as each other, entertain Don Magnifico who is now appointed Royal Wine Steward. Dandini tells Clorinda and Tisbe that he can marry only one of them but the other may marry his valet, an offer that neither sister finds palatable. The arrival of a beautiful woman – who bears an amazing resemblance to Cinderella – heightens everyone's anxiety.


Don Magnifico and his daughters discuss the mysterious woman at the ball.  Prince Ramiro hides when Cenerentola rushes in pursued by Dandini (still disguised as the Prince).  Dandini professes his love for her but Cenerentola confesses to loving his valet. Ramiro emerges and asks her to marry him. She gives him one of her matching bracelets and tells him to search for the woman wearing its companion; if he still wishes to marry her when he discovers her true identity, she will agree to marry. Upon this she rushes out of the palace. Ramiro and Dandini assume their true identities and an outraged Don Magnifico returns home with Clorinda and Tisbe.

Cinderella is tending to the fireplace when her stepsisters and Don Magnifico dejectedly return from the ball. The prince is in search of Cenerentola when a fortuitous storm waylays his carriage outside Don Magnifico's house. Ramiro and Dandini take shelter inside, and Ramiro immediately recognizes his beloved. Cinderella is surprised to learn that Ramiro, whom she believed to be the valet, is in fact the prince.

Prince Ramiro recognizes the bracelet that Cinderella is wearing and chooses her for his bride, denouncing Don Magnifico and the stepsisters for their ill treatment of her. Cinderella pardons her stepfather and stepsisters and asks for reconciliation.  All hail her goodness and majesty.


Leonardo Vordoni, Conductor*

Originally from Trieste, Italy, the fast-rising conductor Leonardo Vordoni studied conducting at the Accademia Pescarese with Gilberto Serembe, and earned a diploma in opera conducting at Bologna’s Reale Accademia Filarmonica.

Last season Mr. Vordoni made his debut with Houston Grand Opera conducting Il Barbiere di Siviglia followed by a return to Minnesota Opera for Lucia di Lammermoor and La Bohème with the Green Mountain Opera Festival. Current projects include La Bohème with the Minnesota Opera and Don Giovanni with the Peabody Institute. Future engagements include a return to Opera Colorado in Rigoletto as well as debuts with the Michigan Opera Theatre in La Traviata, Opera Omaha in La Cenerentola and the Opéra National de Bordeaux in Donizetti’s Anna Bolena.

Mr. Vordoni’s recent engagements featured three of Puccini’s greatest works: La Bohème with Santa Fe Opera and Utah Opera, Tosca at Opera on the James, and Turandot at Portland Opera. He made an important debut with the Canadian Opera Company with La Cenerentola.

Leonardo Vordoni began the 2009-10 season conducting Les Pêcheurs de Perles at Minnesota Opera, followed by a revival of Dominick Argento’s Casanova’s Homecoming. Later in the season, he made two consecutive debuts in Chicago; first conducting Le Nozze di Figaro at Lyric Opera of Chicago, followed by Rossini’s Mosè in Egitto at Chicago Opera Theatre. Of his performances in Le Nozze di Figaro, John van Rhein at the Chicago Tribune wrote: “Mindful of the singers’ needs, he infused the orchestral playing with crisp vitality and shapely phrasing.” Regarding Mosè in Egitto, Opera News raved: “Maestro Leonardo Vordoni led a splendidly nuanced reading of verve and melting grace.” Additional engagements included Il Barbiere di Siviglia at Opera Colorado and Lucia di Lammermoor at Green Mountain Opera Festival.

In recent seasons, Mr. Vordoni debuted at the prestigious Wexford Opera Festival in Pedrotti’s Tutti in Maschera giving what critics called a “scintillating performance.” Other productions include: Don Pasquale at Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Madama Butterfly with Madison Opera and La Cenerentola at Orlando Opera. In the summer of 2008, Mr. Vordoni conducted at the internationally renowned Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro; in a concert of music associated with Maria Malibran, with mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato.

Leonardo Vordoni was a member of the music staff at the Metropolitan Opera and worked on productions including: L’Elisir d'Amore (cover conductor), Macbeth, La Traviata, Aida, La Clemenza di Tito, La Bohème, Un Ballo in Maschera, Norma and Madama Butterfly.

Collaborations with Edoardo Müller include L’Italiana in Algeri with Seattle Opera, La Cenerentola for Houston Grand Opera, as well as Il Trovatore and Le Nozze di Figaro for San Diego Opera.

Leonardo Vordoni has given master classes in Italian repertoire for Young Artist Programs across the United States including: San Francisco Opera, Seattle Opera, Utah Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Kansas University, UMKC Conservatory, University of North Texas in conjunction with La Fenice in Castelfranco Veneto as well as coaching for the Accademia Rossiniana in Pesaro. Additional studies include: piano at the Conservatorio Tartini with Neva Merlak, and composition at the Accademia Musicale in Portogruaro with Mario Pagotto.

Levi Hernandez, Don Magnifico

Baritone Levi Hernandez returns to Opera Omaha after performing the role of Tobias Mill in Rossini’s The Marriage Contract in 2012.  He recently made his Houston Grand Opera debut as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly and joined the rosters of San Francisco Opera and the Metropolitan Opera for their productions of Puccini’s Il trittico and La fanciulla del West. This season included a return to the Metropolitan Opera for Die Frau ohne Schatten, having performed in Carmen with the Met last season.  Mr. Hernandez has performed extensively with Opera Company of Philadelphia, Los Angeles Opera, Opera Theatre St. Louis, Nashville Opera, Madison Opera, Opera Memphis, the Spoleto Festival, Minnesota Opera, Virginia Opera, Lake George Opera, Cedar Rapids Opera, Opera North, and Boston Lyric Opera.  He made his European debut in the Komische Oper Berlin production of Pique Dame in the role of Tomski.  Mr. Hernandez is a graduate of the Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago where he performed in Rigoletto, Tosca, Manon Lescaut, La bohème, and William Bolcom’s new opera, A Wedding; he made his principal debut there as Dandini in Cinderella.  This summer he can be heard as Papageno in the Opera Theatre of St. Louis production of The Magic Flute.

Joan Font, Director*

Joan Font has participated in the creation of more than 30 stage productions over five continents.  Much of his work has been in association with his company the Centre de Creació de Comediants, for whom Mr. Font serves as Artistic Director and founder. He has worked on special projects for the Festival d’Avignon, and Vennice’s Biennale, as well as other projects in Paris, New York, Chicago, Bogotá, Sydney, Tokyo, Dublin, Edimburgh, London, Hannover and Beijing, amongst other cities.  Mr. Font worked as a consultant and director for the designing process of Barcelona’s candidature as an Olympic site as well as the closing ceremony of the Barcelona ’92 Olympic games.  He has worked in the film, television, and publishing. His opera directorial credits include The Magic Flute (Gran Teatre del Liceu), Orfeo ed Euridice (Peralada’s Festival), Verbena de la Paloma (Granada’s Festival), and this production of Cinderella, a co-production between the Welsh National Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu and the Grand Théatre de Genève.  In 2009 he premiered the original opera, Faust-Bal, in Madrid’s Teatro Real, as well as the première of Allegro Vivace in Barcelona’s Petit Liceu. With his company, The Comediants, he created new performance events for Shanghai’s World Expo as well as the Hanoi’s Millenium celebrations.  In 2011 he premiered the original play Persephone at Moscow’s Chekhov Festival, which was then presented at Madrid’s Centro Dramático Nacional and Barcelona’s Teatre Lliure.

Andrew Gangestad, Alidoro

Accomplished bass Andrew Gangestad has been applauded for his dark rich sound and strong musicality by audiences throughout the United States and the world. Of his performance of Il barbiere di Siviglia, the Kansas City Star wrote “Andrew Gangestad (Don Basilio) … demonstrated a glorious bass voice,” and, of his performance of Leporello in Don Giovanni with Opera Pacific, the Orange County Register wrote “Andrew Gangestad portrays the long-suffering Leporello with aplomb, crisp in accent, dark of voice and understated in comedy.”

This season, Andrew returns to the roster of the Metropolitan Opera for its production of Les Troyens as well as Sarasota Opera as Nourabad in Les Pêcheurs de perles and as Candy in Of Mice and Men. His 2011-12 season included his debut with Pittsburgh Opera as Nourabad in Les Pêcheurs de perles, his debut with Hawaii Opera Theater as Ramfis in Aida, and performances of Sparafucile in Rigoletto with Sacramento Opera. He also performed with the Berkshire Choral Festival in selections from Les Pêcheurs de perles, La Rondine, and Aida.

Recent and overall career highlights include Colline in La boheme with New York City Opera, Kentucky Opera, Arizona Opera, and Opera Pacific; Ferrando in Il trovatore with Minnesota Opera and Toledo Opera; the title role in Le nozze di Figaro with Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Bellingham Music Festival; Commendatore in Don Giovanni in his debut with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis; Death in Der Kaiser von Atlantis with Cincinnati Opera; Rodolfo in La sonnambula with Michigan Opera Theatre; Timur in Turandot with Kentucky Opera; First Nazarene in Salome with Glimmerglass Opera; Banquo in Macbeth for Sarasota Opera; and Ramfis in Aida, and Angelotti in Tosca with Opera Pacific. Andrew is widely known for his interpretation of Leporello in Don Giovanni, which he has performed with such companies as the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Sarasota Opera, Opera Pacific, and in his debut with Arizona Opera. He has also performed Basilio in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with several companies such as Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Opera Omaha, and Opera Cleveland, to name a few. Mr. Gangestad’s recent international highlights include Ramfis in Aida with the Bregenz Festival in Austria; the title role in Le nozze di Figaro at the Macau International Music Festival; and his Welsh National Opera debut as Ramfis in Aida.

Since his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2000 in Berg’s Lulu, Mr. Gangestad has returned to the coveted house each season having performed as Brander in La Damnation de Faust, Tom in Un ballo in maschera, Colline in La bohème, Truffaldino in Ariadne auf Naxos, Count Ceprano in Rigoletto, Lignière in the company premiere of Cyrano de Bergerac, Vaudemont in I vespri siciliani, Cappadocian in Salome, the Commissioner in Madama Butterfly, Timur in Turandot, as well as in their productions of La Fanciulla del West, Don Carlo, Idomeneo, and Dialogues des Carmélites. Also a company favorite with Seattle Opera, he has appeared there in such roles as Zuniga in Carmen, Tom in Un ballo in maschera, Alidoro in La Cenerentola, and Leporello in Don Giovanni.

Andrew’s extensive list of concert engagements include Handel’s Messiah with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and Pacific Symphony; Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Haydn’s The Creation with the State College Chorale Society (Pennsylvania); Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the Berkshire Choral Festival; Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra; Verdi’s Requiem with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra; soloist in Honegger’s Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher with Oregon Bach Festival under Marin Alsop; and Tan Dun’s Theatre Orchestral II: Re with the Duluth Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Gangestad has also performed several opera roles in concert, such as Brander in La Damnation de Faust in his debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under James Levine, singing in Boston and at Carnegie Hall; The Monk in La Gioconda and as The Hermit in Der Freischütz with Opera Orchestra of New York at Carnegie Hall; Méphistophélès in Scenes from Goethe’s Faust with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra; Lodovico in excerpts from Otello for the 2006 Richard Tucker Gala; various Opera Gala Concerts with the Yakima Symphony Orchestra; and in L’Enfant et les sortilèges with the Minnesota Orchestra. Mr. Gangestad  is also the First Place Winner of the 2005 Fritz and Lavinia Jensen Foundation Voice Competition and the recipient of the Robert Lauch Memorial Grant from the Wagner Society of New York.

Lauren McNeese, Angelina*

Mezzo soprano Lauren McNeese makes her Opera Omaha debut in the title role of Cinderella.  She recently made her Metropolitan Opera debut in Parsifal and sang her first Giovanna Seymour in Anna Bolena with Minnesota Opera having performed the roles of Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro), and Bellino/Teresa (Casanova’s Homecoming by Dominick Argento) with the company in previous seasons.  She has also appeared with the LA Opera as Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Wellgunde in Das Rheingold (a role she has also performed with San Francisco Opera), Karolka (Jenufa), and La Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi directed by Woody Allen.  She has performed Dorabella (Così fan tutte) with Arizona Opera, the title role in L’enfant et les sortilèges with Opera Company of Philadelphia, Stéphano (Roméo et Juliette) with Michigan Opera, Hansel (Hansel and Gretel) with Intermountain Opera, and Second Lady (The Magic Flute) with Dallas Opera.  A graduate of the Ryan Opera Center, Ms. McNeese has been seen on the Lyric Opera of Chicago stage in numerous roles including Dorabella, Cherubino, Siebel (Faust), Flora (La traviata) and Myrtale (Thaïs) to name only a few.  She has performed with conductors including Sir Andrew Davis, James Conlon, Donald Runnicles, Charles Dutoit, and Placido Domingo.


Angela Mannino, Clorinda*

Soprano Angela Mannino made her Metropolitan Opera debut as the 15 Year Old Girl in Lulu and is an alumna of Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center.  Most recently Angela sang Oscar in Un Ballo in Maschera with New Orleans Opera and Papagena in The Magic Flute with Dallas Opera.  Recent engagements include Juliet in Romeo and Juliet at the Bar Harbor Music Festival, the Fairy Godmother in Cendrillon with Kentucky Opera and a return to the Metropolitan Opera for a second season.

Angela will return to Lyric Opera of Chicago for Parsifal.  Previously at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Angela sang Blonde in The Abduction from the Seraglio including a last minute debut on opening night.  Many other roles at Lyric include the 15 Year Old Girl in Lulu, Giannetta in L’Elisir d’Amore and Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro.

At Wolf Trap Opera she sang Colombina in Le Donne Curiose and Fiorilla in Il Turco in Italia as well as performed in recital with Steven Blier. She sang the role of Agrippa in the world premier of John Musto’s opera, The Inspector, commissioned by the Wolf Trap Foundation.

Other operatic roles include Gilda in Rigoletto with Opera Grand Rapids, Zerlina in Don Giovanni with Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi with New Orleans Opera and DuPage Opera, Fido in Paul Bunyan with Central City Opera and the First Maid in Daphne with Santa Fe Opera.

Angela received a Bachelor of Music from Loyola University and a Master of Music from Indiana University. A Sullivan Foundation Career Grant Winner, Angela has received awards from the Shoshana Foundation, American Opera Society, Musician’s Club of Women, Metropolitan Opera National Council Regional Auditions, Mobile Opera Vocal Competition and the Orpheus National Vocal Competition.

A native of New Orleans, Angela has been seen in a variety of performances with the New Orleans Opera, Tulane University Summer Lyric Theatre, Jefferson Performing Arts Society and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra including Adele in Die Fledermaus, Yum-Yum in The Mikado, Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore as well as various musical theatre roles.

Andrew Bidlack, Ramiro*

Tenor Andrew Bidlack, a graduate of San Francisco Opera’s prestigious Adler Fellowship, begins the 2012-2013 Season with his role debut as Rodrigo in Rossini’s Otello at Opera Southwest.  He sings the tenor solos in Händel’s Messiah with Lexington Philharmonic and returns to Florida Grand Opera as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte.  He travels to Carnegie Hall for his debut with Lyric Opera of Chicago as The Young Collector in their production of A Streetcar Named Desire with Renée Fleming, a role he also sings in Chicago, followed by performances as Peppe Rita at Rochester Lyric Opera.

Recent successes include Tonio in La fille du régiment with PORTopera, and Damon in Acis and Galatea at the Macau International Music Festival. He appeared at Lyric Opera of Chicago in their production of Ariadne auf Naxos, and was featured as the tenor soloist in Carmina Burana with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Andreas Delfs.  He finished the season with performances of Sandy in The Lighthouse at Dallas Opera for the inception of their Chamber Opera Series.  

Highlights of previous seasons include his New York City Opera debut as Baron Lummer in Intermezzo, followed by his return to Florida Grand Opera as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni.  He sang Count Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia at Florida Grand Opera, covers of Emilio in Partenope at New York City Opera, and Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore with Empire State Lyric Theater.  In 2010, he made his South American debut as Oronte in Alcina at Teatro Municipal de Santiago in Chile.  At the Spoleto Festival in Italy, he appeared as A Guest in The Saint of Bleecker Street, which was recorded and released under the Chandos label.

A 2007, Merola Opera Program participant, Mr. Bidlack created the role of Charles Carter in the world premiere of Thomas Pasatieri’s The Hotel Casablanca.  Later as an Adler Fellow, Mr. Bidlack made his San Francisco Opera debut in The Little Prince and went on to appear as Odoardo in Ariodante, Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Count Albert in Die Tote Stadt, Simpleton in Boris Godunov, Pedrillo in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Gastonein La traviata, and Ruiz in Il trovatore

Other roles include Rodolfo in La bohème, Tamino in The Magic Flute, Rolla in I masnadieri, the title role in Candide,Tom Snout in A Midsummer Night’s Dream,  Gomatz in Zaide,  Ferrando (cover) in Cosi fan tutte; Bastien in Mozart’s Bastien and Bastienna and Tom Rakewell (cover) in The Rake’s Progress.    A frequent interpreter of contemporary works by some of today’s most significant composers, Mr. Bidlack sang Ishmael in the workshop production of Jake Heggie’s Moby Dick, and later workshopped the role of Tancredi in John Musto’s new opera The Inspector at Wolf Trap.

Concert performances include the tenor solos in Handel’s Messiah, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and Mozart’s Requiem; he made his Carnegie Hall debut singing the solos in Bach’s Weihnachts Oratorium.

Elizabeth Pojanowski, Tisbe*

Mezzo soprano Elizabeth Pojanowski makes her Opera Omaha debut in the role of Tisbe.  Most recently she sang the role of Shelly in the U.S. premiere of Anna Nicole with New York City Opera.  She has performed frequently with Cincinnati Opera including the roles of Sadie in the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s opera Morning Star, Nancy T’ang in Nixon in China, Tebaldo in Don Carlo, and Mercedes in Carmen, a role she will sing again with Cincinnati Opera this summer.  As a member of the Young Artist Program with the Seattle Opera, Ms. Pojanowski performed the roles of Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti, Hansel in Hansel and Gretel, Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the title role in L’Enfant et les Sortileges.  With Saratoga opera she sang Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus and joined San Antonio Opera as Stephano in Roméo et Juliette.  She made her professional debut singing Cousin Hebe in H.M.S. Pinafore with Dayton Opera.  Other credits include Popova in William Walton’s The Bear, Nancy in Albert Herring with Aspen Opera Theater, Mrs. Olsen in Street Scene with Chautauqua Opera, and La Maestra delle Novizie in Suor Angelica with the Music and Opera Festival of Lucca.

Daniel Belcher, Dandini

Winner of a 2010 Grammy Award, baritone Daniel Belcher has performed in many of the world’s music capitals, including Paris, London, New York, San Francisco, Berlin, Stuttgart, Amsterdam, Geneva, Toronto, Tokyo, Seoul and Houston.  With a 50-role repertoire, Belcher has championed roles from the Baroque to those composed expressly for him.  He came to international attention in 2004 creating the role of Prior Walter in Peter Eötvös’Angels in America for the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris for which he was hailed by London’sThe Guardian as “possessing the kind of powerhouse stuff that indicates a star in the making.”    Belcher most recently created the role of Robert Kennedy in Robin de Raaff’sWaiting for Miss Monroe for his debut at The Netherlands Opera and Holland Festival.  Other world premiere roles include John Brooke in Mark Adamo’s Little Women (released on the Ondine label and recorded by PBS’ Great Performances), Andy Warhol in Michael Daugherty’s Jackie O (released by Decca on the Argo label) and multiple roles in Tod Machover’s Resurrection (released on the Ondine label), all with Houston Grand Opera.  World premieres in development include Robert Aldridge's Sister Carrie, Thomas Morse and Ken Cazan's Frau Schindler, and Jeremy Howard Beck and Stephanie Fleischmann's The Long Walk.

In the 2013-14 season, Belcher makes his debut in Sweden at Stockholm's Baltic Sea Festival with Kaija Saariaho's chamber piece Sombre, returns to the Lyric Opera of Kansas City for Papageno in The Magic Flute, Opera Omaha as Dandini in La Cenerentola, makes his role debut as Ping in Turandot with Utah Opera and performs in recital at Houston's Zilkha Hall, among other venues.  He will also appear in developmental workshop performances for Sister Carrie with the Florentine Opera and The Long Walk with American Lyric Theatre.

Last season, he returned to Houston Grand Opera as Taddeo in L’Italiana in Algeri, Opera Colorado as Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette, Utah Opera as Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Florentine Opera for Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro and Central City Opera as Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia.  On the concert stage, he debuted with Lyric Opera Baltimore for a Bel Canto concert and sang and recorded the world premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s chamber piece Sombre for Rothko Chapel with Da Camera of Houston.  This was his second collaboration with Saariaho after recording the leading role of Jaufré Rudel in her first opera, L’Amour de Loin with Kent Nagano and Harmonia Mundi.  Opera News said “Belcher gives a powerful, convincing portrayal of Jaufré, capturing expertly the troubadour’s mercurial disposition.”  This recording received the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording, the Diapason d’Or by Diapason in France, and a nomination for Best Opera Recording by Gramophone.

Recently, he debuted with ABAO-OLBE, Bilbao, Spain as Mercutio in Romeo et Juliette, made his role debut as Chou En-Lai in Nixon in China with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City for which he was declared a "revelation" by, and debuted with the Madison Opera as Dandini inLa Cenerentola: "If there was a surprise show-stealer, it was Daniel Belcher in the role of Dandini...Belcher displayed some spot-on comic contributions." (Madison Magazine)

As a graduate of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, he has returned for numerous roles including his role debut as Billy Budd, Papageno, Schaunard in La Bohème, Monteverdi’s Orfeo and Mercutio.  At HGO, he also performed roles in A Little Night Music, Carmen, Madama Butterfly, and Arabella.

He made his highly acclaimed European debut with the Staatstheater Stuttgart in Reinhard Keiser’s Masaniello Furioso.  Other European engagements have included Ned Keene in Peter Grimeswith the Grand Théâtre de Genève, Jaufré Rudel in L’Amour de Loinat the Théâtre du Châtelet and Berlin’s Maerzmusik Festival with the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester,  Gunther in Sacré Siegfriedat the Opéra National de Montpellier, Guglielmo in Così fan tuttefor Garsington Opera and London’s Barbican Center, staged performances of Carmina Buranawith the St. Gallen Festspiele, Gluck’s Orfeo and Securo in the world premiere of Cherubini’s Koukourgiwith the Stadttheater Klagenfurt, Austria (released on ArtHaus DVD), and the title role of Handel’s Imeneo with Opera Ireland.

Mr. Belcher has portrayed Figaro in Il Barbiere di Sivigliain Tokyo with Japan’s New National Theater and the Fauré Requiemfor Seiji Ozawa’s Saito Kinen Festival to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Hiroshima.  He performed John Brooke in Little Women with New York City Opera in Japan and New York, as well as with Fort Worth Opera, Kentucky Opera and Central City Opera.  He was also heard throughout Japan and in Seoul, Korea as the title role in Don Giovanni with Toronto’s Opera Atelier.  Other roles with Opera Atelier include the title role in Monteverdi’sL’Orfeo, Mozart’s Figaro, Papageno and the role of Orestes in Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride.

Mr. Belcher is one of the premiere interpreters of Rossini performing today, and he is closely associated with the roles of Dandini in La Cenerentola, Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and Taddeo in L’Italiana in Algeri.  He has performed Dandini with San Francisco Opera, Opera Colorado, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Opera Company of Philadelphia, and Utah Opera; Figaro with Arizona Opera, Portland Opera, Lake George Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Opera Festival of New Jersey, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Florentine Opera, and Utah Opera; Taddeo with Opera Company of Philadelphia, Florentine Opera, and Utah Opera.

In addition to these Rossini performances, he has performed a wide repertoire including the roles of Gianni Schicchi, the Husband in Poulenc’sLes Mamelles de Tirésias, and Henry Cuffe in the American premiere of Britten’s Glorianawith Central City Opera, Papageno and Harlekin inAriadne auf Naxos for his debut with San Francisco Opera, Prince Paul in La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolsteinwith Opera Company of Philadelphia, Guglielmo, Marcello in La Bohème, and Captain Corcoran in HMS Pinaforewith Lyric Opera of Kansas City,  and Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus at Opera Columbus.

Mr. Belcher made his Carnegie Hall debut as a soloist in Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem with the New York Choral Society.  Active in concert work, he has performed Carmina Burana and Copland’s Old American Songs with the Pacific Symphony, Gounod’s St. Cecelia Mass and Vaughan Williams’ Hodie for performances in New York City, a concert of Opera Favorites with the Houston Symphony Orchestra, an all-Bernstein concert and “A Night in Vienna” with the National Symphony Orchestra, and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Belcher is a recipient of Le Cercle International des Amis et Mécènes du Châtelet Award (International Circle of Friends and Patrons of Théâtre du Châtelet, CIAM) for his acclaimed performance of Prior Walter in Angels in America.  He also received a Robert Jacobson Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Foundation, a Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation for his work with Wolf Trap Opera and the Sullivan Foundation Award.  He received the Apprentice Artist Award from the Santa Fe Opera and the Young Artist Award and Outstanding Studio Artist Award from the Central City Opera.

Derek Anderson

Matthew Brown

Brian-Mark Conover

Ryan Daly

Dillon Edwards

Elmer Ellefson

Jonathan Fischer

Brian Jay

Trevor Kern

Marc Laferla

James C. Little

Dryden Meints

Eric Micks

Eduardo Millán

Ed Perini

Andrew Pratt

Kyle Sandall

Dave Schaefer II

David Shellenberger

Brandon Shostak

Sean Stephenson

Michael Thorfinnson

Matthew Uehling

Gary Weddel

Erika Overturff, Founder & Artistic Director
Bridget Carpenter
Ryan Christopher
Vivi DiMarco
Jessica Mariner
Danielle Pite
Anna Swenson
Katie Van der Mars
Chloe Watson





Friday, April 25, 2014, 7:30PM
Sunday, April 27, 2014, 2:00PM

Orpheum Theater
Map Location



Asst. Director: Tanya Kane-Parry*
Principal Accompanist/Harpsichord: Wilson Southerland*
Choreographer: Xevi Dorca*
Set & Costume Designer: Joan Guillen*
Lighting Designer Kiko Planas*
Wigs & Makeup: Dennis Bergevin, Elsen & Associates Inc.
Chorus Master: J. Gawf
Stage Manager: Angela Turner

* Opera Omaha Debut


Thank you to our Cinderella Tweet Seats sponsor - First National Bank of Omaha!


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