Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte
Performed in Italian with English supertitles
Things aren't always as they seem
In a quest to disprove that all women are fickle, two scheming men test the devotion of their fiancées. As faithfulness is wagered, the deck is stacked with deception. Love is tested and lives are tangled when the women are unknowingly tempted by the other’s lover in Mozart’s masterpiece. Will the contest prove to be more than fun and games?
Filled with stunning music and unbound wit, this contemporary production inspired by Tony Award-winning director Diane Paulus is directed by Andrew Eggert (Bluebeard’s Castle, 2013) and conducted by Steven White (Rigoletto, 2014, The Barber of Seville, 2015).
The action begins when Ferrando and Guglielmo arrive at Don Alfonso’s bar with their girlfriends, Dorabella and Fiordiligi. The men immediately get into an argument about women. As the proprietor of the club, Don Alfonso has seen all kinds of relationships and is convinced that there is no such thing as a faithful woman, but the young men insist that Dorabella and Fiordiligi would never cheat on them. Provoked by their self-righteousness, Don Alfonso challenges the boys to a bet: he will prove in less than 24 hours that their girls are no different from all others. As part of the test, Ferrando and Guglielmo agree to do whatever Don Alfonso says.
In another room of the club, Fiordiligi and Dorabella compare snapshots of their boyfriends and gossip about marriage. The sisters begin to wonder what’s keeping Guglielmo and Ferrando, when Don Alfonso enters with the news that the boys have been unexpectedly summoned to join the war effort. The girls fall for the false story. The young men enact a tearful goodbye with the girls, whose despair seems proof enough of their fidelity. But Don Alfonso reminds Ferrando and Guglielmo that the game has just begun. A crowd of club goers joins the deception by giving the boys a patriotic sendoff. Left alone with Don Alfonso, Dorabella and Fiordiligi imagine their boyfriends sailing off to war and say a prayer for their safety.
Despina, an employee at the club, brings coffee to the V.I.P. room for the girls. Fiordiligi and Dorabella explode in a fit of grief over their boyfriends’ departure. Despina ridicules their sadness and urges them to enjoy new romantic opportunities just like their boyfriends will be doing away from home. Setting the next stage of his plan in motion, Don Alfonso bribes Despina to introduce two new guys (really Ferrando and Guglielmo disguised as Eurotrash) to the girls. Despina agrees without realizing the suitors’ true identity. When these foreign suitors hit on the girls, they are outraged. Now sure they have won the bet, the boys offer to reduce Don Alfonso’s debt to them. But the test is not over yet. Don Alfonso and Despina hatch a new plan: the suitors will pretend to commit suicide for love as a new tactic to weaken the girls’ resistance. After the boys apparently overdose in front of the girls, Despina, disguised as a doctor, cures the foreigners with her healing powers. The girls still refuse to yield but become suspiciously passionate in their rejection. The boys begin to wonder whether the anger is feigned or real.
Despina tries to convince Dorabella and Fiordiligi to live it up while the boys are off at war. Left alone, the girls fantasize about the foreigners and each admits to a crush, unknowingly picking the other’s boyfriend as the object of their affection. Don Alfonso rushes the girls to another room, where the boys await them with a serenade. The lovers pair off, the girls choosing the boy of their preference. When Dorabella is left alone with Guglielmo, she quickly succumbs; Fiordiligi refuses Ferrando. The boys reunite to report about the girls, and Guglielmo breaks the bad news to Ferrando. Later, Fiordiligi confesses to Dorabella and Despina that she has fallen in love with her foreign suitor, and Dorabella urges her sister to follow her passion. In a desperate last attempt to resist, Fiordiligi says she will join Guglielmo on the battlefield, but this plan falls apart when she and Ferrando meet again. Guglielmo witnesses Fiordiligi’s betrayal and is furious. When he talks of the violence he will do to her, Don Alfonso realizes the game is spinning dangerously out of control. Taking the reins, he proposes a double marriage for the couples, with Despina disguised as the notary. The couples comply and begin the ceremony until they are interrupted by the sound of the returning army. The girls hide their new Eurotrash husbands, who sneak off and reappear as Ferrando and Guglielmo back from war. Chaos ensues until Don Alfonso tries to reunite the original pairs—but the game is not so easily wrapped up. It has been a night of tears, passion, and betrayal. The lovers sing of finding “beautiful calm,” but the music’s turbulence points to a deep inner turmoil.
Reprinted with permission by Diane Paulus.
The entire team behind Opera Omaha’s Così fan tutte would like to welcome you to experience Mozart’s timeless opera in a production that brings all of the passion and pathos of these classic characters to life in the present day.
Mozart and librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte’s final collaboration (after their successes on Le nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni) was the only one of their works to have an original story. The opera is about two young couples whose love is tested after the men place a bet that their fiancées will remain faithful. First performed in 1790, only about one year before Mozart’s death, the opera is replete with everything we cherish about Mozart’s late comedies, and is particularly rich in brilliant aria and ensemble writing for the leading characters. Yet in spite of its musical sophistication, the opera fell out of favor for more than a century after Mozart’s death. Its subject matter was widely viewed as too risqué and immoral to be staged, and generations of audiences missed seeing and hearing one of the true masterpieces of late eighteenth-century opera. When the opera was performed, it was often given with so many cuts and rewrites required by the censors that it was hardly recognizable. Only in the middle of the twentieth century did the opera become a part of the standard repertoire in its original form, and it is now beloved by audiences around the world.
Why? One theory for the reason that the opera fell out of favor is that, like so much of Mozart’s mature art, this very special opera is a perfect synthesis of looking back and looking forward. Da Ponte’s libretto presents six fascinating characters, each one profound and complex in their emotional lives. The actions of the young lovers become so fascinating to us because each one is torn between listening to their mind and listening to their heart. Coming out of the age of the Enlightenment, a time when human reason and intellect were prized above all, and moving toward the Romantic era, with its much more subjective emotional world, these are people who transcend the stock character types from which they were derived. We hear it and feel it in every measure of Mozart’s music, which is simultaneously reaching back into the very best of the Classical style while pushing opera in bold new directions.
Who today does not understand what it feels like to be torn between what the heart tells us it wants and what the mind tells us is right? Who does not in some way empathize with a character that knows what they ought to do but ultimately gives into the forces of love? Mozart and Da Ponte created a perfect artistic statement about real, complex, confusing, deeply human love, perhaps so insightful that it took us mere humans more than a hundred years to catch up with them.
But we certainly have. And that is the reason why we have chosen to set our production in the present day, where we can witness these complex minds and hearts that are so very much like our own. Both couples (Fiordiligi and Guglielmo, Dorabella and Ferrando) believe they know exactly what love is. They are young people who think they have their lives under control and their futures together planned until everything is turned upside down. They go out to celebrate in classy, sophisticated nightclub, a hip type of place where couples go with their friends for a fun night out on the town. Don Alfonso is the proprietor and Despina is an old flame of his who now works in the club. It’s just the sort of environment where these couples can relax, let down their inhibitions, and make some decisions they might regret the next day. Too risqué? Immoral? Or all too true to life, in which all of these couples emerge a little less innocent, perhaps, but also a lot wiser about love.
We invite you to open your minds and hearts to one of Mozart’s greatest operas, to laugh and to cry, and hope that you, too, may come out of the experience just a bit wiser in the ways of love.
Steven White, Cosi Conductor
Praised by Opera News as a conductor who “squeezes every drop of excitement and pathos from the score,” Steven White is one of North America’s premiere conductors of both symphonic and operatic repertoire. Among the many orchestras Maestro White has conducted are the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the Moscow Philharmonic, the Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the New World Symphony Orchestra, the Spoleto Festival Orchestra, the Colorado Symphony, the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the Syracuse Symphony, the Charleston Symphony, the Florida Philharmonic, the Fort Worth Symphony, the North Carolina Symphony, the Madison Symphony Orchestra and London’s Philharmonia Orchestra for a CHANDOS recording of arias featuring his wife, soprano Elizabeth Futral. This season he will lead the Omaha Symphony Orchestra in Berlioz’ Symphonie fantastique and the Liszt E-flat Piano Concerto, featuring internationally hailed pianist Markus Groh.
Maestro White made his acclaimed Metropolitan Opera debut in 2010, conducting performances of La traviata starring Angela Gheorghiu. Since then he has conducted a number of Metropolitan Opera performances of La traviata, with such stars as Natalie Dessay, Hei-Kyung Hong, Placido Domingo, Thomas Hampson, Dmitri Hvorostovksy and Matthew Polenzani. In the past two seasons he has returned to the Met to participate in critically fêted productions of The Rake’s Progress and Elektra.
Operatic Engagements for the 2016-2017 season include returns to several companies, including Arizona Opera for Rusalka, Opera Omaha for Così fan tutte, the Peabody Conservatory for Le nozze di Figaro and Opera Roanoke for Susannah. Last season included performances of Don Giovanni at Arizona Opera, Il barbiere di Siviglia at Opera Omaha and Street Scene with the Peabody Conservatory.
Maestro White’s 2014-15 season included Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and Das Lied von der Erde at Kennesaw State University. He returned to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Lyric Opera Baltimore for Madama Butterfly, Arizona Opera for Eugene Onegin, and the Alabama Symphony Orchestra and Opera Birmingham for La bohème. He debuted with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and Opera Columbus with La voix humaine and Pagliacci. With Opera Omaha he conducted Rigoletto.
In December 2013 Maestro White conducted the tribute to Martina Arroyo as part of the Kennedy Center Honors concert, broadcast nationally on CBS. Other highlights of that season include Tosca with Lyric Opera Baltimore and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Dialogues of the Carmelites with Peabody Conservatory, La traviata with Arizona Opera, Rigoletto with Opera Birmingham, Aida at Bob Jones University and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 at Virginia Tech University. At Opera Roanoke he conducted a new production of Die Zauberflöte. He also led the Slovak State Philharmonic in concerts of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russian Easter Festival Overture. With that same orchestra he collaborated with acclaimed trumpeter Paul Neebe in a recording of 21st- century concertos.
In 2013 he made his debut with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra in a tour-de-force gala concert at Tchaikovsky Hall with soprano Sarah Coburn. Other recent symphonic engagements include performances of the Strauss Four Last Songs with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and the Naples Philharmonic, internationally televised concerts with Rolando Villazon and the Greek National Radio Symphony Orchestra at the United Nations and Alice Tully Hall, an all-Wagner concert with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra and Opera Birmingham, the Festival Finale Concert at Spoleto Festival USA, a concert with Angela Gheorghiu and the Canadian Opera Company orchestra at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto, and numerous concert performances with the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra and Opera Roanoke.
In addition to his work with the Metropolitan Opera, Maestro White’s extensive operatic engagements have included La traviata, Don Giovanni, Carmen and La bohème at New York City Opera; Lucia di Lammermoor at L’Opera de Montréal; Lucia di Lammermoor, La fille du regiment and I puritani with Vancouver Opera; La traviata at Opera Colorado; L’elisir d’amore with Pittsburgh Opera; Die Entführung aus dem Serail at Michigan Opera Theater; La traviata, Roméo et Juliette, I puritani, La sonnambula and L’assedio di Corinto with Baltimore Opera; Lucia di Lammermoor with New Orleans Opera; Aida, Lucia di Lammermoor, The Merry Widow, Tosca and Don Pasquale at Arizona Opera; and La bohème, Carmen, Rigoletto, Tosca and Le nozze di Figaro with the Naples Philharmonic.
Other performances include Hänsel und Gretel at Kentucky Opera, Pagliacci and Tosca at Nashville Opera, Lucia di Lammermoor with Fort Worth Opera, Don Giovanni, Les contes d’Hoffmann, Macbeth and Lucia di Lammermoor at Syracuse Opera, Werther at Sarasota Opera, Lucia di Lammermoor with Wichita Grand Opera, Madama Butterfly with North Carolina Opera, L’elisir d’amore at Wolf Trap Opera, outdoor Gala Concerts with Madison Opera, and La traviata at Indiana University Opera Theater.
As former Artistic Director of Opera Roanoke, Maestro White conducted nearly all of that company’s productions from 1999 through 2010, including performances of Das Lied von der Erde, Der fliegende Holländer, Fidelio, Falstaff, Otello, Macbeth, Aida, Hänsel und Gretel and many others. He has also served as Principal Conductor for Opera Birmingham and as Associate Conductor and Chorus Master for Florida Grand Opera.
In May 2013 Maestro White received an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Roanoke College.
OPERA OMAHA DEBUT
Bluebeard's Castle, 2013
Andrew Eggert, Director
Andrew Eggert is an opera stage director and dramaturg. He is Head of Opera at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts. Recent projects include La descente d’Orphée aux enfers with Gotham Chamber Opera; the US premiere of Clemency by James MacMillan for Boston Lyric Opera; Bluebeard's Castle starring Samuel Ramey for Opera Omaha; Alcina and Les contes d’Hoffmann at the Napa Music Festival; and the world premieres of Beowulf by Hannah Lash and Giver of Light by Adam Roberts with Guerilla Opera. He enjoyed a longstanding relationship with Chicago Opera Theater, where he directed Mosè in Egitto and La Tragédie de Carmen and served eight seasons as an assistant director. He is a regular collaborator of stage director Diane Paulus having served as associate director on a number of projects including the world premiere of Tod Machover’s Death and the Powers in Monaco, as well as US performances at the American Repertory Theater, Chicago Opera Theater, and the Dallas Opera; Die Zauberflöte at Canadian Opera Company; Gotham Chamber Opera’s production of Il mondo della luna at the Hayden Planetarium in New York City; and Crossing by Matthew Aucoin in its world premiere at the A.R.T. He has been guest director at Princeton University and the Yale Baroque Opera Project, and has worked with the young artist programs of Glimmerglass Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and Wolf Trap Opera. His new production of Mourning Becomes Electra was selected as a winner of Opera America’s Director-Designer Showcase. As a dramaturg, he has worked with Rebecca Taichman on Telemann’s Orpheus and Michael Counts on Mosè in Egitto, both for New York City Opera. Upcoming projects include assistant directing the world premiere of the Ouroboros trilogy in Boston and directing Così fan tutte at Opera Omaha. He earned a BA in English from Yale University and an MA, MPhil, and PhD in Historical Musicology from Columbia University.
OPERA OMAHA DEBUT
Bluebeard's Castle, 2013
Julia Noulin-Merat, Scenic Designer
Julia Noulin-Mérat is a triple American, Canadian and French citizen. Ms Noulin-Mérat is the principal designer at Noulin-Mérat Studio, an intrepid NYC production design firm that specializes in Theater, Film & TV, with an emphasis in Opera and immersive site specific theatre. In addition to her work as Associate Producer for Boston Lyric Opera, Julia Noulin-Mérat is the Director of Design and Production for Guerilla Opera, and resident set designer for Attic Theater and Exit, Pursued By a Bear in New York. She has designed over 300 opera, theater and television productions.
Upcoming producing projects: James and the Giant Peach (American Repertory Theater), La Traviata (Pittsburgh Opera), Così fan tutte (Opera Omaha), The Rake’s Progress (Boston Lyric Opera).
Select opera work: Clemency, La Traviata, In the Penal Colony, The Merry Widow, Werther (Boston Lyric Opera), Bluebeard's Castle (Opera Omaha), Madama Butterfly (Opera New Jersey, El Paso Opera); Xerxes (Connecticut Early Music Festival, Northampton Academy of Music); Lucia di Lammermoor, Così Fan Tutte (Commonwealth Opera); Carmen (Buck Hill Skytop Music Festival); Beowulf, Giver of Light, Bovinus Rex, Loose Wet Perforated, Heart of a Dog, Say it Ain't So, Joe, Gallo, Troubled Water, No Exit (Guerilla Opera), The Barber of Seville (Opera Institute), The Elixir of Love, Cold Sassy Tree (Sugarcreek Festival), L'Heure Espagnole, L'Enfant et les Sortilèges, Transformations, The Rape of Lucretia (Boston Conservatory); Little Red Riding Hood and The Telephone (Opera Boston); Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Loftopera), Susannah (Ashlawn Opera); The Return of Ulysses (Opera Omnia); La Descente d'Orphée aux enfers (Gotham Chamber Opera).
Select theatre work: Penelope of Ithaca, November (Hangar Theatre), The Notebook of Trigorin, Dark Rapture, Moonchildren, The Argument, The Tutors (Attic Theatre), These Seven Sicknesses, Lesser Mercies, King Lear, Arok of Java, Greater Angels (Exit, Pursued By A Bear); Haunted House (Audax Theatre- Irish Art Centre), The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Gerald Lynch Theatre- LCT), Dark Play or Stories for Boys, Memory House and The Firebugs (Apollinaire Theatre); Neighbors (Company One); These Seven Sicknesses -NY TIMES CRITIC'S PICK, Restoration Comedy (The Flea Theater).
Select musical work: Sweeney Todd (Gerald W. Lynch Theatre- LCT); Rocky Horror Show (Hangar Theatre); Legally Blonde, Grease, Hairspray (nominated for Best Set Design in Connecticut), South Pacific (STONC).
Select young audience works: The Light Princess (New Victory Theatre, American Repertory Theatre- NY TIMES CRITIC'S PICK); The Pirate Princess (American Repertory Theatre); Click Clack Moo, Pinkalicious, Homer Figg (Orlando Repertory Theatre); Androcles and The Lion (Hangar Theatre)
TV work: Guiding Light (CBS), Inside the Actors Studio: Jim Carrey (Bravo).
Ms Noulin-Mérat was nominated for the Rising Star Award in design. She was selected to participate at the USITT Young Designers’ Forum in Houston, Texas. She won the honorable mention/ Barbizon Award for her design of the production First Blush and she was selected to participate at the First Word Stage Design Exhibition in Toronto. She has been the set designer for NYC The Drama League for the past 6 years. Ms. Noulin-Mérat earned ArtsImpulse's Theatre Award Best Boston Set Design for her production of The Rape of Lucretia and Best Opera for Gallo, and designed NY Times critic's pick These Seven Sicknesses and The Light Princess. These past two years, she was nominated by Broadwayworld for best set design for her productions of Hairspray and Legally Blonde with Summer Theatre New Canaan.
Ms Noulin-Mérat has a BFA from Concordia University, Montreal, in Design for the Theatre, a MSc in Arts Administration for Performing Arts from Boston University; and an MFA in Scenic Design from Boston University. In addition to her degrees, Julia has studied at Central Saint Martins in London and University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
OPERA OMAHA DEBUT
Così fan tutte, 2016
Amanda Majeski, Fiordiligi*
American lyric soprano Amanda Majeski is rapidly garnering critical acclaim for a voice of “silvery beauty” (Musical America) that combines “transparent fragility with soulful strength.” (Chicago Sun-Times)
In the 2015/16 season, Amanda Majeski returns to both the Metropolitan Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago in one of her signature roles, Countess Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro. She will also bring her acclaimed Countess to Spain at the Ópera de Oviedo. She debuts two Strauss heroines in the United States after major European successes: the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier at the Lyric and Countess Madeleine in Capriccio at Santa Fe Opera. Ms. Majeski returns to the Glyndebourne Festival as Eva in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg with music director Robin Ticciati in David McVicar’s production.
Ms. Majeski made her Metropolitan Opera debut on the opening night of the 2014/15 season as Countess Almaviva in a new production of Le nozze di Figaro conducted by James Levine, which was broadcast in HD around the world and on PBS across the United States. She will return to the Met stage in the 2016/17 season as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni and as part of The Met’s 50th Anniversary Gala. An alumna of the Ryan Opera Center, she made her mainstage Lyric debut with only a few hours’ notice as Countess Almaviva conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. Named “Best Breakout Star” by Chicago magazine, she has continued her relationship with Lyric audiences as Vitellia in La clemenza di Tito, Eva in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and as Marta in The Passenger, hailed as a “shattering, star-making performance” by the Chicago Classical Review.
She made her critically acclaimed role debut as the Marschallin in Claus Guth’s new production of Der Rosenkavalier at Oper Frankfurt, where she has also been seen as the Goose-Girl in Humperdinck’s Königskinder, Vreli in Delius’s A Village Romeo and Juliet, and the title role in Dvorák’s Rusalka. Ms. Majeski made her European debut at the Semperoper Dresden where her performances included new productions of Alcina and La clemenza di Tito, as well as revivals of Le nozze di Figaro and Capriccio. Her significant international debuts include the Glyndebourne Festival as Countess Almaviva, Opernhaus Zürich as Marguerite in a new production of Faust, and Teatro Real in Madrid as Vitellia in the much-acclaimed Herrmann production of La clemenza di Tito. In addition to her work in New York and Chicago, she has appeared at Opera Philadelphia as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Pittsburgh Opera as Blanche de la Force in Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites, and Santa Fe Opera in Vivaldi’s Griselda as Ottone in a production by Peter Sellars.
On the concert stage, Ms. Majeski debuted with Sinfonieorchester Aachen singing Berg’s Sieben frühe Lieder and Mozart’s Requiem. She has been heard in concert singing Agathe’s arias from Der Freischütz with conductor Erik Nielsen and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and the soprano solo in Mahler’s 4th Symphony with the Quad City Symphony. She also sang Gounod’s Marguerite in concert with Washington Concert Opera, Bach’s Magnificat under Sir Gilbert Levine in Chicago, and Mahler’s 4th Symphony with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center. She made her New York City recital debut at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall under the auspices of the Marilyn Horne Foundation and returned for her solo recital debut at Carnegie Hall in 2014.
Ms. Majeski holds degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music and Northwestern University. She was a member of San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, the Gerdine Young Artist Program at Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and the Steans Institute at Ravinia. Awards include the George London Foundation Award, First Prize of the Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition, and a Sara Tucker Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Foundation.
OPERA OMAHA DEBUT
Così fan tutte, 2016
Emily Fons, Dorabella*
Mezzo-soprano Emily Fons is impressing audiences and critics alike through her remarkable versatility as an interpreter of Mozart and baroque music as well as of Rossini and more modern composers.
Ms. Fons’ 2015/16 season includes several debuts: first with the New Orleans Opera as Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, then with the Canadian Opera Company as Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro and finally with the Lyric Opera of Baltimore as Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia. In concert, Ms. Fons appears with the Madison Symphony in Christmas concerts and with the Indianapolis Opera in their Crescendo series. Ms. Fons ends the season by returning to the Santa Fe Opera as Stéphano in Roméo et Juliette. Future projects include debuts with the Lille Opera and the Boston Lyric Opera.
In the 2014/15 season Emily Fons returned to the Dallas Opera for her celebrated portrayal of Mozart’s Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro before joining the Alabama Symphony and Jory Vinikour for Handel’s Messiah. This season was also notable a number of debuts: first with the San Diego Opera as Zerlina in Don Giovanni and then with the legendary Seiji Ozawa’s Ongaku-Juku in the title-role of Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortilèges. In concert, Emily Fons appeared with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra in Mozart’s Requiem. She also returned to her home state of Wisconsin for her first Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with the Madison Opera, a role she repeated with Opera Theatre of St Louis. She finished the season by returning to the Santa Fe Opera for the role of Ruby in the world premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s highly-acclaimed Cold Mountain.
Recent projects include Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Siébel in Faust with the Atlanta Opera, the title-role in Handel’s Faramondo at the Göttingen Festival (a performance that was also recorded commercially for the Accent label) and concerts of Opera Pops with the Dallas Opera and of de Falla’s The Three-Cornered Hat with the Cleveland Orchestra.
Prior to that Emily Fons sang her first Sesto in Handel’s Giulio Cesare (a role she also covered at The Metropolitan Opera), Christmas concerts with the Madison Symphony and returned to the Santa Fe Opera as Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro.
In the spring of 2012 Emily Fons made her debut with Chicago Opera Theater as Masha in Moscow, Cheremushky by Dmitri Shostakovich followed by a personal triumph as Megacle in Vivaldi’s L’Olimpiade with the Garsington Opera.
Earlier, Ms. Fons completed her second summer as an apprentice with the Santa Fe Opera. While in Santa Fe she portrayed Flora in a new production of La traviata, and covered the roles of Meg Page in Falstaff, and performed the roles of Dorabella and Cendrillon in scenes from Così fan tutte and Cendrillon. She also appeared as the Sandman (Hänsel cover) in Hänsel und Gretel, and Kate in The Pirates of Penzance with the Indianapolis Opera. Additionally, she has participated in the University of Miami’s Summer Program in Salzburg, the Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute, and the Masterworks’ Festival. A former member of the Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Ms. Fons performed Nicklausse in Les contes d’Hoffmann and Fyodor in Boris Godunov, Mercédès in Carmen, Peep-Bo in The Mikado, and one of the Pages in Lohengrin. She also performed the role of Angelina in the Ryan Opera Center’s production of La Cenerentola; as well as covered Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Pitti-Sing in The Mikado, and Dejanira in Handel’s Hercules.
Ms. Fons was a 2010 semi-finalist in The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and has also received awards from Polanki; the Milwaukee Polish Women’s Organization, the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the Milwaukee Civic Music Association, and the Santa Fe Opera.
A native of Wisconsin, Ms. Fons completed her Master’s Degree in Opera and Music Theatre at Southern Illinois University. Opera roles sung at Southern Illinois include: Hansel in Hansel and Gretel, Giannetta in The Elixir of Love, and Angelica in Suor Angelica. She received her undergraduate degree from Luther College where she was awarded the Brudos Prize and was heard in performances of The Merry Wives of Windsor and Britten’s Albert Herring.
Corning, New York
OPERA OMAHA DEBUT
(Opera Outdoors), 2014
Così fan tutte, 2016
Jonathan Boyd, Ferrando*
Tenor Jonathan Boyd continually performs to great acclaim throughout Europe, North America and South America. Of his performance as Roméo, Opera News hailed “Boyd is a versatile lyric singer with a great future. His high notes rang without being strident...” This season, he will reprise the role of Roméo in Roméo et Juliette in an epic co-production appearing with Opera Carolina, Virginia Opera, Opera Grand Rapids, and Lyric Opera Baltimore. He will also perform
a Gala Concert for Opera Colorado, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni at Teatro Colón, and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.
Notable recent engagements include his début as Peter Quint/Prologue in Turn of the Screw at Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse; Frank Shallard in Elmer Gantry for Florentine Opera of Milwaukee; Tamino in Die Zauberflöte with Opera Colorado; Tom Rakewell in The Rake’s Progress for both Portland Opera and Teatro Municipal de Santiago in Chile; a Scottish National Opera début as the title role in Werther; his début with Opera di Firenze as the role of Le Prince in L’amour des trois oranges; performed the role of Heurtebise in Orphée in his Pittsburgh Opera début; made his San Diego Opera début in Jake Heggie’s Moby Dick as Ishmael; performed Anatol in Vanessa with Opera Metz in France; made his Atlanta Opera début as Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor; sang the title role in Faust with Austin Lyric Opera; sang Tamino in Die Zauberflöte for Opera Tampa; the title role of Candide at the Portland Opera; and Sam in Susannah with Florentine Opera. In concert, Mr. Boyd performed Britten’s War Requiem with Orquesta Filarmónica de Bogotá; Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Opéra de Rouen Haute Normandie; Rimsky-Korsakov’s Mozart and Salieri with Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra; Elijah with Forth Worth Symphony; and Mozart’s Solemn Vespers at Carnegie Hall.
Jonathan earned great recognition at the Dallas Opera for his performance as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, which has since become one of his signature roles. The Dallas Morning News wrote, “Jonathan Boyd, with a powerful and fluent tenor, is a standout Don Ottavio.” D Magazine said, “Tenor Jonathan Boyd as Don Ottavio presented the most consistently impressive performance of opening night.” He has also performed the role with Opera Cleveland, Arizona Opera, Opera Colorado, and Portland Opera.
Noted international engagements in past seasons also include débuts at Opéra de Nice and Opéra de Toulon as Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Teatro Colón in a live television broadcast as Werther; Opera Royal de Wallonie in Belgium as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni; Le Grand Théâtre de Limoges as Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail; Malta National Theater and Festival Lyrique-en-mer de Belle Île as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte; Opera Faber in Portugal, Théâtre de l’Athénée and Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in France as Tom Rakewell in The Rake’s Progress; and Alfredo in La traviata with Akouna, Opéra en plein air in France.
Noted North American engagements from recent seasons include his début with Seattle Opera as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, a role he also performed with Portland Opera and Lyric Opera of Kansas City; Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail at the Arizona Opera; Roméo in Roméo et Juliette at Michigan Opera Theater, Nashville Opera and The Utah Symphony & Opera; and Alfredo in La traviata at both Toledo Opera and Opera Carolina.
Mr. Boyd has an extensive repertoire in 20th century operas including performances in Michigan Opera Theatre’s world premiere of Margaret Garner as George Hancock, New York City Opera’s productions of Mother of Us All and Central Park, and Sam in Street Scene with Portland Opera. Composer Lee Hoiby personally chose Mr. Boyd for the role of Roméo in his opera Roméo and Juliet, which he subsequently sang in performances at the Opera America convention in Vancouver, as well as with New York City Opera, Stamford Symphony in Connecticut, and the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center.
Mr. Boyd has appeared in concert with the New York Philharmonic in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion conducted by Maestro Kurt Masur; the Philadelphia Orchestra in a recording of Pagliacci with Maestro Riccardo Muti; and at Carnegie Hall in Mozart’s Requiem with Maestro Nicholas McGegan with the Philharmonia Baroque. Additionally, Mr. Boyd has performed the tenor solo in Britten’s War Requiem for Flint Symphony Orchestra; a Gala Concert for Opera Omaha Haydn’s Creation with the Choral Arts Society at the Kennedy Center, the Princeton Symphony, and the Rochester Symphony; tenor solo in Dvořák’s Stabat Mater with Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal; tenor solo in Rachmaninoff’s Vespers with the Choral Arts Society in Washington D.C.; the tenor solo in Finzi’s Dies Natalis and Britten’s Les Illuminations with I Musici de Montréal; and with the Virginia Symphony in the live television broadcast of Rimsky Korsakov’s Mozart and Salieri in the role of Mozart, followed by performances of Händel’s Messiah.
The Corning, New York native began his apprenticeship with Florentine Opera of Milwaukee and since has returned in numerous roles such as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni and Camille in The Merry Widow. His San Francisco Opera appearances have included productions of Falstaff, Turandot, The Merry Widow (released on DVD), and Mother of Us All.
Florence, South Carolina
OPERA OMAHA DEBUT
Così fan tutte, 2016
Alexander Elliott, Guglielmo*
Baritone Alexander Elliott’s 2016/17 season includes house and role debuts across the United States. Following his successful debut as Pilatus in Bach's St John Passion last season with the Pittsburgh Symphony, Alexander returns to Pittsburgh as the bass soloist in Haydn's Creation under the baton of Music Director Manfred Honeck. Additional performances on the concert stage this season include as Marcello in La bohème in concert with the Greater Bridgeport Symphony under Music Director Eric Jacobsen, with whom he collaborated last season in the Orlando Philharmonic's production of Die Zauberflöte as Papageno. Elliott makes his house and role debut as Guglielmo in Opera Omaha's production of Così fan tutte in February.
Recent performances include with Tulsa Opera as Marcello in La bohème and Il Conte Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, his house and role debut as John Brooke in Little Women with the Madison Opera, and with Opera Louisiane for a special Valentine's Day concert. Alexander returned to the Portland Opera for their inaugural 2016 festival season in two role debuts: as Anthony in Sondheim's famous musical Sweeney Todd, and as the title role in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin. As a young artist with Portland Opera in previous seasons, Alexander performed Belcore in L'elisir d'amore, Le Dancaïre in Carmen, Frank in Die Fledermaus, and Sam in Pirates of Penzance.
Other young artist programs include with Central City for performances of Il barbiere di Siviglia as Figaro and in Rorem’s Our Town as Frank; Des Moines Metro Opera covering the title role and singing the part of the Captain in Eugene Onegin as well as singing Périchaud in La Rondine; and San Francisco Opera's Merola program covering the title role of Don Giovanni. Alexander sang the Corporal in La fille du régiment and the Postman in Loesser’s Most Happy Fella as a 2012/13 studio artist with Tulsa Opera.
An active concert performer, Alexander debuted with the Pittsburgh Symphony in 2016 as Pilatus in Bach's St John Passion. He performed with the Florence Symphony as the bass soloist in Mozart’s Requiem and with the Pensacola Symphony singing Handel’s Messiah. He also performed Vaughan Williams' Hodie with the Tulsa Oratorio Society, and Five Mystical Songs with the Albany Chorale.
Alexander received the John Moriarty Award for his outstanding contribution to Central City Opera in 2013. He received his training at Florida State University where he studied with David Okerlund.
OPERA OMAHA DEBUT
Così fan tutte, 2016
Deanna Breiwick, Despina*
American soprano Deanna Breiwick, hailed by critics for her "sweet sound and floating high notes" and for being a "vocal trapeze artist" (New York Times), is enjoying an exciting and diverse career. Ms. Breiwick is a 2011 Metropolitan Opera National Council Grand Finalist, a 2012 Grand Prize Winner of the Sullivan Foundation Vocal Competition, and a First Prize Winner of the Gerda Lissner Foundation International Vocal Competition. She also holds awards from the George London Foundation, the Giulio Gari Foundation, the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, and the Richard F. Gold Career Grant.
Ms. Breiwick is an Ensemble member of Opernhaus Zürich where she has sung a variety of roles: Carolina (Il matrimonio segreto), Elisa (Il Re Pastore), Marzelline (Fidelio), Papagena (Die Zauberflöte), and Frauke Beeke Hansen in the world premiere of Das Gespenst von Canterville. Upcoming roles for the 2015/16 season include Madame Silberklang (Der Schauspieldirektor), Adelaide (The Enchanted Pig), a Shepherdess and Amor (King Arthur), and Dorinda (Orlando).
Previous engagements for Ms. Breiwick include Mabel (Pirates of Penzance) and Johanna (Sweeney Todd) with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. With The Metropolitan Opera, Ms. Breiwick covered the role of Ariel in the premiere of The Enchanted Island and was a featured soloist in the company’s Summer Recital Series. With Juilliard Opera, she has performed the role of Norina (Don Pasquale), Sophie Scholl in the American premiere of Peter Maxwell Davies’ Kommilitonen!, and Thérese in Les mamelles de Tirésias. She sang the role of Clizia in Handel’s Teseo with Chicago Opera Theatre. As a fellow of the Aspen Music Festival, she sang the role of Nannetta (Falstaff), and was the soprano soloist in Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. Under the direction of David Robertson, Ms. Breiwick made her Zankel Hall debut singing the title role of Mozart’s Zaide. She has been featured as the title role in Handel’s Clori, Tirsi e Fileno with Juilliard 415 and under the baton of Nicholas McGegan, and has performed with conductor William Christie in a performance of Handel’s Saeviat tellus. As a fellow of the Tanglewood Music Center she also sang the role of Najade (Ariadne auf Naxos). Additional roles include Une Bergere with The Met+Juilliard production of Armide, Sr. Constance (Dialogues des Carmélites) with The Mannes Opera, as well as two opera premieres as part of VOX with New York City Opera.
Ms. Breiwick is a native of Seattle, WA and holds degrees from The Juilliard School and Mannes College of Music.
OPERA OMAHA DEBUT
Così fan tutte, 2016
Philip Cutlip, Don Alfonso*
Philip Cutlip has garnered consistent critical acclaim for his performances across North America and Europe. Established on both concert and opera stages, he has performed with a distinguished list of conductors that includes Nicholas McGegan, Yves Abel, Miguel Harth Bedoya, Gerard Schwarz, and Donald Runnicles. His appearance as Joseph De Rocher in Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, with Joyce DiDonato and Frederica von Stade for Houston Grand Opera, has been released on Virgin Records.
In the 2015/16 season Mr. Cutlip’s sings the title role in Don Giovanni with New York City’s Venture Opera, the title role in Sweeney Todd with Tri-Cities Opera, and debuts with Cincinnati Opera in the world premiere of Spears’ Fellow Travelers. Also this season he is soloist for return engagements with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Minnesota Orchestra in Messiah, with Winston-Salem Orchestra in Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem, with Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra in Mozart’s Mass in C Minor, with Oratorio Society of New York in Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with the world premiere of Merryman’s Jonah, and sings Mendelssohn’s Elijah with New York City’s Grace Church. His 2014-15 season engagements included the title role in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro in a return to Sarasota Opera, several roles in Weill’s The Road of Promise with New York’s Collegiate Chorale, soloist in Messiah with the Winston-Salem Symphony, and in Vaughn Williams’ A Sea Symphony with the Modesto Symphony Orchestra, and was soloist in Carmina Burana at the Chautauqua Festival. He also sang Papageno in Die Zauberflöte with the Kaohsiung Philharmonic Foundation in Taiwan. His 2013-14 engagements included Stanley in Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire with Opera Grand Rapids, and baritone soloist in Handel’s Apollo e Dafne with Music of the Baroque Chorus and Orchestra. He returned to Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, under Nicholas McGegan, in Messiah; to North Carolina Symphony in Bach’s Christmas Oratorio; and to Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra as Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro. He also debuted with the Eugene Symphony in Haydn’s The Creation.
Recent season highlights include Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus with Virginia Opera; soloist in Messiah with Vassar College and Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra; a return to Toledo Opera in the title role of Don Giovanni, and to Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra in Carmina Burana; Carmina Burana with Toledo Symphony Orchestra; Britten’s War Requiem for the American Choral Directors Association; Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas with Mark Morris Dance Group for Cal Performances; Guglielmo in Così fan tutte with New York City Opera; soloist in Handel’s Alexander’s Feast with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra under Nicholas McGegan; Messiah in a staged presentation with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Manfred Honeck conducting; Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem with Spokane Symphony; Carmina Burana with Memphis Symphony; Splendiano in Bizet’s Djamileh with American Symphony Orchestra; Haydn’s The Seasons with St. Paul Chamber Orchestra; Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor and Papageno in Die Zauberflöte with Seattle Opera; Haydn’s The Creation with both Philharmonia Baroque and the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra; de Falla’s Suite from Atlantida: El amor brujo (in Catalan) with Boston Symphony Orchestra; Messiah, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and Vaughn Williams' Serenade to Music, all under Osmo Vanska with the Minnesota Orchestra; reprising the title role in Philip Glass’ Orphée with Portland Opera; Zurga in Les pêcheurs de perles with Minnesota Opera; Ariodate in Serse with Houston Grand Opera; Guglielmo in Così fan tutte with Jacksonville Opera Theatre; Tarquinius in The Rape of Lucretia with Toledo Opera; Valentin in Faust with Washington Concert Opera; Messiah with Nashville Symphony; and Haydn’s Paukenmesse with Berkshire Choral Festival.
Other highlights include the Count in Utah Opera’s Le nozze di Figaro; Zurga in Les pêcheurs de perles with Opera Columbus; and Zoroastro in Handel’s Orlando with Moscow State Philharmonic Society. He also appeared as soloist with Phoenix Symphony in Haydn’s The Creation; with Nashville and Richmond symphonies in Messiah, also with San Diego Symphony, with which he sang Baroque concerts; in Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Choral Art Society of Portland (ME); in Mozart’s Requiem with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra; in Fauré’s Requiem with the Charlotte Symphony; in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Oregon Symphony; Dvořák’s Te Deum and excerpts from his opera Jacobin with Chicago Symphony Orchestra; with Frans Brüggen’s Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, singing selected Bach cantatas; and with Gran Teatre del Liceu to sing Mandarin in Turandot.
Among Mr. Cutlip’s many successes on the operatic stage are his critically acclaimed Glimmerglass Opera debut as the title role in Glass’ Orphée; Marcello in La bohème and Maurice Bendix in The End of the Affair, both with Seattle Opera; and his return to the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona to sing Mattieux in Andrea Chénier. He also appeared as Rodrigo in Don Carlo with Hawaii Opera Theatre, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with both Austin Lyric Opera and Arizona Opera, and made his debut with Houston Grand Opera as Donald in Billy Budd. Throughout his career Mr. Cutlip has portrayed many of opera’s most well-known baritone roles including Papageno in Die Zauberflöte with New York City Opera and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Harlequin in Ariadne auf Naxos with Seattle Opera, the title roles in both Don Giovanni and Il barbiere di Siviglia with Opera Birmingham, Malatesta in Don Pasquale with Fort Worth Opera, and Guglielmo in Così fan tutte with Arizona Opera.
Mr. Cutlip has also appeared as soloist with nearly every major North American orchestra. His extensive list of concert credits includes performances with New York Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony Orchestra, Oratorio Society of New York at Carnegie Hall, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and North Carolina Symphony. He has performed such works as Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with the Handel and Haydn Society under Grant Llewellyn, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Charles Dutoit, Brahms’ Requiem with the Portland Symphony Orchestra, Carmina Burana with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and Haydn’s The Seasons with Philadelphia Baroque. He also performed Handel arias written for Mantagnana with La Stagione Frankfurt ensemble as well as Handel’s Belshazzar at the Göttingen Festival in Germany.
A distinctive element in Mr. Cutlip’s career is his ongoing collaboration with well-established dance companies and avant-garde ensembles alike, starting with his first appearance with the New York City Ballet to perform songs by Charles Ives. He has toured internationally with the Hamburg Ballet singing Bernstein’s Dances, and has appeared on European and American tours of Philip Glass’ Les Enfants terribles, including the world premiere in Zug, Switzerland. His performance of the Glass work was released on Glass’ Orange Mountain label. Mr. Cutlip has appeared with the Mark Morris Dance Company in performances of Morris’s popular fully staged dance production of Handel’s L’Allegro, il Pensoroso ed il Moderato at Lincoln Center, the Ravinia Festival, and at Cal Performances on the UC Berkeley campus.
Frequently heard in performances with New York Festival of Song, Mr. Cutlip gave the world premiere of American Love Songs – a set of 10 commissioned pieces for vocal quartet – at the Tisch Center for the Arts and at the 92nd Street Y; appeared in a program of commissioned works at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall; and also toured with NYFOS to Louisville for Rorem’s Evidence of Things Not Seen.
*Opera Omaha Mainstage Debut
THE OPERA OMAHA CHORUS
Thomas Wilkins │Music Director
Ernest Richardson │Resident Conductor & Principal Pops Conductor
FREE EVENT-Join us for this FREE 30-minute crash course into Mozart's witty comedy, Così fan tutte. Members of Opera Omaha's creative team will provide the audience with a quick taste of the opera's story and music, along with some behind-the-scenes insight into our current production. Featuring a performance by a member of the cast of Opera Omaha's Così fan tutte. An audience Q&A will follow this half-hour program.
Tables will be set, so bring a meal and make the most of your lunch hour.
Walk-ins are welcome, but due to space limitations, reservations are encouraged. Reservations will be available two-weeks prior to the event.
Location: Opera Omaha Rehearsal Room
1850 Farnam Street, Omaha, NE 68102
(Entrance located on S.19th Street between Farnam & Douglas Streets)
For more information on parking and wheelchair accessibility, click here.
Make the most of your evening at the opera. Opera Omaha ticketholders can tune up for Così fan tutte with a pre-performance talk in the Grand Lobby of the Orpheum Theater 40-minutes before each performance. These 20-minute crash courses will provide you with insight on the opera's the story, music, history and more. Whether you are new to opera or a seasoned aficionado, you’re sure to enjoy this behind-the-scenes talk. Come early as seating is limited.
FREE to all Così fan tutte ticketholders for the day listed on your opera ticket.
Make the most of your afternoon at the opera. Opera Omaha ticketholders can tune up for Così fan tutte with a pre-performance talk in the Grand Lobby of the Orpheum Theater 40-minutes before each performance. These 20-minute crash courses will provide you with insight on the opera's the story, music, history and more. Whether you are new to opera or a seasoned aficionado, you’re sure to enjoy this behind-the-scenes talk. Come early as seating is limited.
FREE to all Così fan tutte ticketholders for the day listed on your opera ticket.
A CLOSER LOOK
World Premiere: Vienna, Burgtheater, January 26, 1790
Opera Omaha Premiere: November 1981
Recent Opera Omaha Performances: November 1996
Orpheum Theater | Slosburg Hall
Fri, Feb 10, 2017 7:30 p.m.
Sun, Feb 12, 2017 2:00 p.m.
Approx. 3 hrs 15 mins
Includes one intermission