Music by Jonathan Dove
Libretto by April de Angelis
Performed in English with English supertitles
What happens when secret desires are unleashed?
English composer Jonathan Dove’s opera tells the story of a group of disparate travelers who meet at an airport with shared departure plans but hidden personal desires. Their flights are canceled suddenly with the arrival of a violent electrical storm. Trapped in the airport overnight as the storm rages, facades are dropped and anxiety levels rise. The lives of these one-time strangers turbulently collide as they shed inhibitions to confront personal desires, hopes, fear and each other...all with unexpected consequences.
Director James Darrah (Agrippina, 2014, A Flowering Tree, 2015, and Semele, 2016) and conductor Christopher Rountree (A Flowering Tree) return to bring a new production of this revolutionary opera to the stage. Dove’s thrilling score and dramatist April de Angelis’ deliciously funny, poetic libretto make this contemporary opera a truly groundbreaking work of theatre.
Contains adult content. May not be suitable for younger audiences.
Dawn. The Controller arrives. She is content: the airport is empty—except for the Refugee: he has nowhere to go. Travelers start to arrive. A married couple, Bill and Tina, are going on holiday in an attempt to rediscover romance. The Older Woman is waiting for a young man she met in Mallorca, her fiancé. The Steward and Stewardess go brightly about their business. Another married couple arrive, late for their flight: they are moving to Minsk. The Minskwoman is heavily pregnant. At the last moment, she refuses to board the plane and her husband leaves without her. She is left stranded, mortified. The Refugee offers her a magic stone to comfort her.
The Immigration Officer passes through the concourse: he is always a danger to the illegal Refugee. The latter, warned by the Controller but shunned by all of the passengers, avoids notice. Refusing to assist the Refugee, the travelers are joyously preparing for their respective departures when the Controller announces all flights are indefinitely delayed due to a sudden electrical storm.
Night. Hours have passed and the storm is now raging. Worries beset those who are waiting. The storm has even upset the Controller’s equilibrium—she ventures outside the airport to confront the weather. The Minskwoman reckons with the fact that her suitcase is now filled with an unknown child’s belongings. Everyone on the concourse tries fitfully to rest, but, in pairs or alone, they secretly approach the Refugee, fascinated by his “magic stone.” He gives each of them what they believe to be the one, unique stone. They make wishes. Bill is still restless and, in an attempt to break out of his predictable nature, seeks the Stewardess. In the dark he makes a mistake and finds the Steward instead: they go off to explore the control tower. The women decide to get drunk and toast the Refugee. As they become more garrulous, they discover that each has “the stone.” They vent their anger, with dire consequences for the Refugee as Bill and the Steward’s explorations prove less dire but no less cataclysmic. The storm builds…
Dawn. The weather has cleared. The Minskman suddenly returns on the first flight back, unable to continue without his wife at his side. Bill and the Steward have a surprise for their partners. Tina has a very nasty surprise for Bill. The Refugee has a surprise for the women. The Minskwoman has a surprise for everyone.
The Immigration Officer finally catches the Refugee. The other characters offer their help to persuade the Immigration Officer to review the situation, though all attempts are unsuccessful. The Refugee explains why he has no documentation and after all have heard his story, even the Officer has a surprising reaction. Flights are called and people depart. The Controller appears in the departure lounge as the airport returns to normal…perhaps…
- Christopher Rountree, Conductor
- Ellen Lenbergs, Set Designer
- Mattie Ulrich, Costume Designer
- James Darrah, Director
- Adam Larsen, Video Designer
- Pablo Santiago, Lighting Designer
OPERA OMAHA DEBUT
A Flowering Tree, 2015
Christopher Rountree, Conductor
Christopher Rountree is the founder, conductor and creative director of the path breaking Los Angeles chamber ensemble wild Up. The New York Times named wild Up’s October 2015 New York debut among the Top 10 classical music events of the year. Rountree’s 2015-16 season includes debuts with the Chicago Symphony (MusicNOW), Los Angeles Opera, Atlanta Opera, and Interlochen’s World Youth Symphony as part of the NY Philharmonic Biennial; as well as returns the San Francisco Symphony (SoundBox) and Ensemble LPR. In 2014-15, Christopher led John Adams’ A Flowering Tree at Opera Omaha, at the composer’s invitation, and returned to the Music Academy of the West Festival Orchestra. Last year alone, Rountree premiered 12 of his own compositions with various groups and soloists including a collaboration with The Crossing and artists Allora & Calzadilla at Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Recent career highlights include engagements with the Los Angeles Philharmonic (Green Umbrella), San Diego Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Prototype Festival, Beth Morrison Projects, American Composers Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony, Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic, American Youth Symphony; and the Rose City Chamber Orchestra. He conducted the San Francisco Conservatory Orchestra’s performance of The Rite of Spring on the work’s centenary.
With his eclectic style and resume, Christopher has been tapped to curate events for contemporary art institutions including the Getty Museum, MCA Denver, and the Hammer Museum, where a long-running wild Up residency brought the group to national prominence.
OPERA OMAHA DEBUT
James Darrah, Director
Los Angeles based director and designer James Darrah's collaborative focus through varied mediums quickly led him to be recognized as "the newest discovery... a gifted young American director" (Chicago Tribune) following his professional debut in 2011. He has since crafted an unconventional and varied body of work that "injects real drama" (The New York Times) with new theater and opera productions, installations, and events that become "once-in-a-lifetime experience[s]" (Opera News). His uniquely collaborative and team-based approach to unconventional projects has also led to the creation of new LA-based production and design company Chromatic: a collective of interdisciplinary artists who collaborate to create aesthetic, theatrical events across blurring mediums. This season, his curation of Chromatic's wide range of projects include everything from the creation of a large opera gala in a functioning steel factory, to a multimedia video installation and performance piece based on Fauré’s Pelléas and Mélisande with conductor Louis Langrée.
CURRENT PROJECTS include a debut at Bard Summerscape with a new production of Mascagni’s Iris, designs for Brook’s Bizet adaptation with Chromatic’s annual retreat to the Bay Chamber Festival, Maine in August and the world premiere of Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek's operatic adaptation of Lars von Trier’s Breaking the Waves for Opera Philadelphia in September. Darrah also recently completed the first installment of his three year Pelléas Project based on Schoenberg’s tone poem Pelleas und Melisande with Langrée and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra which featured the LA-based dance group WIFE and directed the second in his series of new productions of the Mozart/Da Ponte trilogy for Così fan tutte with Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and conductor Edo de Waart.
PAST PROJECTS include a return to Chromatic's annual residency with Opera Omaha, crafting a new production of Handel’s Semele in a co-production with Opera Philadelphia, his European debut with Teatro Nacional de São Carlos in Lisbon, Portugal directing Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride, and direction/curation for one of San Francisco Symphony’s trailblazing SOUNDBOX series. This past spring, he continued his ongoing collaboration with conductor Michael Tilson Thomas as director of Bernstein’s On the Town in a new staged production for the San Francisco Symphony and as director for a world premiere composed by Tilson Thomas with New World Symphony, Miami. Other upcoming projects include direction and design for an acclaimed Peter Grimes with the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas, the world premiere production of Frank Zappa's full, infamous 200 Motels with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting, Pacific Musicworks in Seattle directing and choreographing a new Semele, a new Don Giovanni for the San Francisco Merola Opera Program, and his Lincoln Center directing debut with Handel's Radamisto for The Juilliard School.
In January 2015, Darrah curated Chromatic’s debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic featuring the US premiere of Olga Neuwirth’s Hommage a Klaus Nomi conducted by John Adams. He then co-directed with Peabody Southwell in the inaugural season of Opera San Antonio with a new production of Poulenc’s La voix humaine featuring soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci. He collaborated with Peter Sellars and Gustavo Dudamel assisting in staging John Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary in Los Angeles (WDCH), London (Barbican Centre), Paris (Salle Pleyel) and Lucerne (KKL), and worked with director Christopher Alden for the LA Philharmonic’s Mozart/Da Ponte trilogy. He’s also created work for Theater@Boston Court, the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, SCA Gallery, The Broad Stage in Santa Monica, Chicago Opera Theater and over five new productions (including two US West Coast Premieres) for Opera UCLA.
He trained in directing and design as a resident artist with the Croatian National Theater and Split Summer Festival and his past theater work ranges from adaptations and new translations of Aeschylus' Oresteia to new productions of the plays of Caryl Churchill. He has taught theater and performance for the Adler Fellowship Program of San Francisco Opera, Cornish College of the Arts, California State University, Long Beach and the University of California, Los Angeles. Darrah holds a MFA from the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television where he was the recipient of the James Pendelton Foundation Grant and the George Burns/Gracie Allen Directing Scholarship. He continued directing studies and work with director Stephen Wadsworth for two seasons at The Juilliard School. He was awarded the national Princess Grace Award in Theater, was a nominee for newcomer in the 2015 International Opera Awards and recently named Musical America’s New Artist of the Month for December 2015.
Anna Schubert, Controller*
At the age of 18, Anna made her professional debut as a soloist, singing the soprano role in Orff's Carmina Burana with the Orange Community Master Chorale. Since 2012, Anna has performed regularly with the Los Angeles Master Chorale (LAMC). She made her LAMC debut as a soloist in Handel's Messiah in December, 2013, as well as her debut with LA Opera Chorus in Verdi's Falstaff. In the summer of 2014, she performed as the soprano soloist in Mozart's Requiem, Vesperae solennes de confessore, and Exsultate Jubilate with the Los Angeles Chamber Choir at Walt Disney Concert Hall, and again sang the solos in Messiah for a world-wide broadcast at Christ Cathedral. 2015 saw her as a soloist in Bach's St. Matthew Passion and in Canticle of the Sun, both with LAMC. She also debuted as a soloist with The Industry, singing the role of L in Anne LeBaron's LSD: The Opera, and with the Angeles Chorale in their production of Handel's Messiah, where she "stole the show, with one of the finest performances of 'Rejoice greatly' I've ever heard." (Singerpreneur).
In the last year, Anna sang soprano chorus in LA Opera’s productions of Die Zauberflöte and Macbeth. She was also a soloist in LAMC's new production of Handel's Alexander's Feast, semi-staged by Trevore Ross. Her concert work included the Soprano I solos in Mozart's Mass in C Minor with Concordia University, and reprising the Messiah solos again with LAMC at their annual Messiah Sing-a-Long. She is also an active studio singer and can be heard in various film/TV soundtracks, including Minions, Creed, Keanu, The Accountant, Storks, Sing and X-Men: Apocalypse.
Anna attended Chapman University as a Provost Scholar where she studied voice with renowned soprano Carol Neblett. Her opera roles there included Suor Genovieffa (Suor Angelica), Madame Herz (The Impresario) and Pamina (Die Zauberflöte). While studying at Chapman, she attended the Aspen Summer Music Festival and School on a full scholarship and received the Opera Award from the Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music.
Opera Omaha debut: Flight
Nicholas Tamagna, Refugee*
Nicholas Tamagna is a countertenor of rare quality who is quickly establishing himself on the world’s opera stages. As a Händel specialist, he has conquered such roles as Giulio Cesare, Orlando and Polinesso. His flawless technique, seamless registration, clarity of diction, and dramatic versatility have won him critical acclaim and given him opportunities in a wide range of repertoire.
In 2017/18, Mr. Tamagna appears with Reisoper in Enschede, Holland and at Staatstheater Oldenburg (Germany) in the title role of Hasse’s Siroe, with Opera Omaha as The Refugee in the company premiere of Jonathan Dove’s Flight, and reprises the Malandain Ballet Biarritz/Opéra de Rouen production of Vivaldi’s Stabat Mater.
Last season, he made his Australian debut in the title role of Philip Glass’ Akhnaten with the Melbourne Consort, and sang the alto solo in Vivaldi’s Stabat Mater in a dance production with Malandain Ballet Biarritz at Opéra de Rouen in France. In New York at Merkin Hall, he sang Goffredo in Rinaldo with OPERAMISSION, and with One World Symphony he performed the title role in Sung Jin Hong’s Hannibal. He again joined early music ensemble, Le Poème Harmonique on tour as the Spirit in Dido and Aeneas and as the vocal soloist in To be or not to be, a Purcell/Shakespeare pastiche, performing at Opéra de Haute-Normandie Rouen, Opéra Royal de Versailles, and Opéra de Vichy.
In 2014/15, Mr. Tamagna returned to the Händel-Festspiele in Karlsruhe, Germany as Oronte in Händel’s Riccardo Primo, where he made his European debut the previous year. At Theater Münster he performed Polinesso in Ariodante, and débuted at the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden as Hassan in Zaid Jabri’s Cities of Salt. During the 2012/13 season, Nicholas Tamagna triumphed as Akhnaten with Indianapolis Opera, from which a filmed version was broadcast. In New York, he performed the role of Ottone in L’incoronazione di Poppea at Symphony Space, the title role in the North American premiere of Händel’s Rodrigo with OPERAMISSION, and Pisandro in Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria with Opera Omnia. In recent seasons, he has performed the title role in Händel’s Serse, Pane in Cavalli’s La Calisto, Cesare and Tolomeo in Giulio Cesare, the Witch in Hansel and Gretel, Farnace in Mozart’s Mitridate, the Duchess in The Gondoliers, Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, Gluck’s Orpheus, the Sorceress in Dido and Aeneas, and Ruggiero in Alcina.
Mr. Tamagna is featured on DVD recordings in the title role of Akhnaten (forthcoming, Orange Mountain Music), the Spirit in Dido and Aeneas (2015, Outhere Music), and with Canadian early music ensemble ¡Sacabuche! in performances of unpublished works of the Italian Baroque (forthcoming, ATMA Classique). An active concert soloist, he has sung in renowned venues including Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, Avery Fischer Hall, and the Bozar in Bruxelles. At Lincoln Center he performed his house debut as a soloist in Goossens’ Edition of Händel’s Messiah and returned again in a production of Babes in Toyland with Little Orchestra Society.
OPERA OMAHA DEBUT
(A Flowering Tree), 2015
Andriana Chuchman, Tina
This season, soprano Andriana Chuchman makes her house and role debuts as Pat Nixon in Nixon in China at the Houston Grand Opera and Micaëla in La tragédie de Carmen at the San Diego Opera. She also returns to the Washington National Opera as Marie in Fille du Regiment, and appears in concert with the Rhode Island Philharmonic, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, McGill Chamber Orchestra, and the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra.
Ms. Chuchman most recently created the roles of Boonyi/India in the critically acclaimed world premiere of Jack Perla's Shalimar the Clown at the Opera Theater of St. Louis. Other recent opera engagements have included Adina in L'Elisir d'Amore, Miranda in The Enchanted Island, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, and Valencienne in The Merry Widow at the Metropolitan Opera; Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi at the Los Angeles Opera, Gretel on the Glyndebourne Festival Tour, Magnolia in Show Boat at the Washington National Opera and the Dallas Opera, John Adams' A Flowering Tree at the Opera Omaha, Guinevere in Camelot at the Glimmerglass Festival, Yum-Yum in The Mikado, Cleopatra in Guilio Cesare, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, and staged performances of Orff's Carmina Burana at the Michigan Opera Theater; Minka in Le Roi le Malgra at the Bard Music Festival, the title role in Flora, an Operaand Irma in Louise at the Spoleto Festival USA, and Alinda in Giasone and Dorinda in Orlando at the Chicago Opera Theater.
A graduate of the Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Ms. Chuchman has appeared on the opera company's main stage as Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Yum-Yum, Valencienne, and in their productions of Die Frau ohne Shatten and Manon. She also sang student matinee performances of L'Elisir d'Amore and Le Nozze di Figaro. Also a member of the San Francisco Opera's Merola Program, Ms. Chuchman appeared there as Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro, Carolina in Il Matrimonio Segreto, and as Blanche in excerpts of Dialogues of the Carmelites and Clorinda in excerpts La Cenerentola.
In concert, Ms. Chuchman has appeared with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in performances of the Brahms Requiem, the Rhode Island Philharmonic in Orff's Carmina Burana, the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra in Mahler's Symphony No. 4, the Ravinia Festival as a guest on the Prairie Home Companion radio show, and with the International Music Foundation of Chicago in performances of Handel's Messiah.
In her native Canada, Ms. Chuchman recently sang the premiere of Larysa Kuzmenko's Golden Harvest with the Winnipeg Symphony. She made her debut at the Canadian Opera Company as Olympia in Les Contes d'Hoffmannand has also appeared at the Edmonton Opera as Yum-Yum and Marie in La Fille du Regiment; and at the Manitoba Opera as Susana in Le Nozze de Figaro and Pamina in Die Zauberflöte. Concert performances have included engagements with the Toronto Symphony, Prince George Symphony, and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.
Born in Winnipeg, Ms. Chuchman received her Bachelor's Degree in Voice Performance from the School of Music at the University of Manitoba. She was a prizewinner at the Finals of the 2009 Neue Stimmen Competition in Germany, and received a Sullivan Foundation Encouragement Award in 2007.
Adrian Kramer, Bill
Canadian Tenor, Adrian Kramer, has been garnering critical praise in a variety of repertoire. He has appeared in opera and concert with many excellent theatres including the Santa Fe Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Glimmerglass Festival, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Omaha, Juilliard Opera Center, The Kimmel Center in conjunction with Opera Company of Philadelphia, Curtis Opera Theater, Castleton Festival, Chautauqua Institution, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Cal Performances, Opera 5, Tapestry Opera, Saskatoon Opera, Toronto Operetta Theatre, Steans Institute at the Ravinia Festival, New York Festival of Song, Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Toronto Chamber Choir, Regina Symphony Orchestra, Kitchener Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, Kingston Symphony, Jeunesses Musicales Canada, Talisker Players, Off Centre Music Salon at the Glenn Gould Studio, and the Crear Institute with Malcolm Martineau Last summer Adrian returned to the Santa Fe Opera to perform Borsa in Verdi's Rigoletto, Second Nazarene in Strauss' Salome, and to create the role of Owen’s Son in the world premiere of Jennifer Higden's Cold Mountain. Upcoming engagements include an orchestral concert of Broadway favourites with Toronto Concert Orchestra and Don Jose in La Tragédie de Carmen with San Diego Opera. Adrian has appeared under the baton of many distinguished conductors including Lorin Maazel, Sir Andrew Davis, Steuart Bedford and Alan Gilbert. His credits list productions with James Robinson, Christopher Alden, Peter Brook, Robert Lepage and Yoshi Oida. He is a past grand prize winner of the Louis Quilico Competition, The Campbell Wachter Memorial Award for Singers from the Santa Fe Opera and The Juilliard Honors Recital Competition, as well as being the recipient of numerous grants, including a Chalmers Professional Development Grant from the Ontario Arts Council and support from the Jacqueline Desmarais Foundation for Young Canadian Opera Singers.
Hometown: County Clare, Ireland
Opera Omaha debut: Flight
Naomi Louisa O'Connell, Stewardess*
Hailed by The New York Times as “radiant,” Irish performer Naomi Louisa O’Connell made her professional stage debut in 2012 starring on London’s West End in Terrence McNally’s Tony Award-winning play Master Class in the role of Sharon Graham, an aspiring young opera singer opposite Tyne Daly who portrayed the legendary Maria Callas. The Times called her performance “…spectacular,” and The Independent lauded her “…thrilling rendering of an aria from Verdi’s Macbeth.”
In the 2015-2016 season, Ms. O’Connell makes her debut at the Welsh National Opera in two operas: as Cherubino in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, directed by Tobias Richter, and as Serafin in the world premiere of Elena Langer’s Figaro Gets A Divorce, directed by David Pountney. She also participated in a workshop for The Rivals: A Musical at Pearl Studios and premiered her all-German cabaret FRAU at the Neue Galerie of New York City. In the 2014-2015 season, she made her German debut at Oper Frankfurt in the title role of a new production of Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea. She also debuted at Atlanta Opera as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro and participated in the workshop for Jake Heggie’s new opera Great Scott as Arden Scott in New York City.
In the 2013-2014 season, Ms. O’Connell returned to Garsington Opera for Offenbach’s Vert-Vert in the role of man-eating opera diva La Corilla, whose “coloratura tours-de-force simply blew the lid of this performance.” In the USA, she debuted in Stephen Wadsworth’s new adaptation of the Beaumarchais Figaro Plays in the role of Rosine to great critical acclaim. Highlights of her 2012-13 operatic season included: Despina in the MET+Juilliard production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte in fall 2012, under the baton of Alan Gilbert and directed by Stephen Wadsworth; and in spring 2013, she appeared in New York City Opera’s new production of Offenbach’s La Périchole, directed by Christopher Alden.
A gifted musician and natural performer, Ms. O’Connell deftly balances her love of opera with that of art song, musical theater and popular song with repertoire ranging from Schumann, Strauss and Ravel to Bernstein, Gershwin and Randy Newman. Recital appearances include her Carnegie Hall debut at Weill Recital Hall presented by Concert Artists Guild, entitled Witches, Bitches & Women in Britches, where the New York Times hailed her as “a natural in the recital format, winning over the audience with her rich, silvery voice and charming stage presence.” Ms. O’Connell made her recital debut with pianist Brent Funderburk at New York City’s Alice Tully Hall in the Juilliard Vocal Arts Honors Recital in 2011. The duo formed a strong collaboration and have continued to perform together across the USA; notable recital venues include New York’s Alice Tully Hall, Neue Galerie, Merkin Concert Hall, Rockefeller University and the American Irish Historical Society, as well as the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Purdue University Convocations and the Artist Series of Tallahassee.
In the USA, Ms. O’Connell has performed with the Marlboro Music Festival, Steans Musical Institute at Ravinia, the Rockport Chamber Music Festival, MUSE/IQUE in Los Angeles, New York’s Five Boroughs Music Festival, Fabbri Chamber Concerts, The Song Continues and Ensemble for the Romantic Century, the Juilliard ChamberFest and FOCUS! Festivals and the New York Festival of Song. Notable past awards include the 2012 Leonard Ingrams Award from Garsington Opera, First Prize in the 2011 Concert Artists Guild and Caruso/Altamura International Voice Competitions, the Novick Career Advancement Grant and Makiko Narumi Award for Outstanding Mezzo-soprano from The Juilliard School, and First Prize in Operetta at the 2008 International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition.
Born to Irish/German parents in County Clare, Ireland, Ms. O’Connell began her studies with Archie Simpson and is an alumna of the Royal Irish Academy of Music, where she studied with voice teacher Mary Brennan. She holds a Master of Music degree and an Artist Diploma in Opera Studies from The Juilliard School where she studied with voice teachers Dr. Robert White and Marlena Malas and acting teacher Stephen Wadsworth. The Irish Arts Council generously supported her studies at The Juilliard School. Her recordings have been broadcasted on WQXR, BBC Three, Bayerischer Rundfunk, RTÉ Television, RTÉ Radio One and Lyric FM. Ms. O’Connell is currently based in New York City.
John Brancy, Steward*
Baritone John Brancy is “a vibrant, resonant presence” (New York Times) on the international opera, concert and recital stages. His 2016/17 season includes his title role debut in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin with Florida Grand Opera, Papageno in a new production of The Magic Flute with Clarion Opera in NYC, The Steward in Opera Omaha's upcoming production of Jonathan Dove's FLIGHT and his Opera National de Lorraine debut as Harlekin in Ariadne of Naxos. Additionally, after a successful KickStarter campaign his debut album A Silent Night: A WWI Memorial in Song with pianist Peter Dugan will be released. He is one of his generation’s leading interpreters of song, “a young artist who’s got his teeth in it, who loves the challenge of art song” (Gerald Finley in Opera News); John will return to the New York Festival of Song (NYFOS) stage this Fall and give a recital in Sarasota at the Chamber Music Series of Sarasota.
Brancy's 2015-2016 season included his UK debut as Malatesta in Don Pasquale in Glyndebourne’s touring production. He also debuted with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as Harlekin in Ariadne auf Naxos, and was re-engaged by Pacific Opera Victoria as Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He returned to Carnegie Hall in recital as part of their “Evening of Song Series,” as well as Oper Frankfurt as Morales/Dancairo in Carmen.
An active concert soloist, John has appeared with the San Francisco, Boston, Saskatoon and Regina Symphonies, Brooklyn Art Song Society, and Carnegie Hall. While still an undergraduate student at The Juilliard School, Mr. Brancy made his Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher (now known as David Geffen) Hall debuts as the Baritone soloist in Fauré’s Requiem, Mozart’s Coronation Mass, and Schubert’s Mass in G. He was the winner of the 2010 Juilliard School Honors Recital Competition and in the following year made his Alice Tully Hall debut, with pianist, Brian Zeger. Brancy is a recent 1st prize winner of the Jensen Foundation and Marilyn Horne Song competitions and has received the Sullivan Foundation Grand Prize and career grant, 1st Prize at the Classical Singer Magazine Competition, and the Gold Award for Voice at the Young Arts Foundation competition. He was a 2nd Place winner in the Gerda Lissner and Liederkranz competitions, and a laureate of the 2012 Montreal International Music Competition.
William Berger, Minskman*
Hailed by Gramophone Magazine as “one of the best of our younger baritones”, William Berger is distinguished by his rich vocal timbre and charismatic stage presence. A compelling interpreter of song, Berger is equally at home on the operatic stage and has performed at renowned festivals, opera houses and concert halls including the English National Opera, Liceu Barcelona, Opera Vlaanderen, Opéra de Toulon, and the Lucerne, Aix-en-Provence and Edinburgh International Festivals.
Engagements in the 2015/16 season include Berger’s return to Opera Vlaanderen for his role debut as Marcello in Puccini’s La Bohème. He will also make his house debut at Teatro Nacional de São Carlos in Lisbon as Oreste in Gluck’s Iphigenie en Tauride, and his debut in the title role in Handel’s Imeneo for the Göttingen International Handel Festival.
In Spring 2016 Berger will release his third album Duet with soprano Lucy Crowe, performing works by Mendelssohn, Schumann and Cornelius that showcase the richness of the duet genre during the early Romantic period. His debut solo album Insomnia: A Nocturnal Voyage In Song was included in The Guardian’s "Top Ten Classical CDs of the Year 2012," followed by the release of Hommage à Trois, praised as “one of the most delightful recital discs of the past year” by International Record Review 2013.
William Berger has collected a multitude of prizes and awards, including the 2010 Ernst Haefliger Competition, the Kathleen Ferrier Society Bursary for Young Singers, the Countess of Munster Trust Scholarship, the Musicians Benevolent Fund Grant and the Ernest Oppenheimer Memorial Trust Award. William is a graduate and Associate of the Royal Academy of Music and a former member of the Young Singers Programme at English National Opera.
Victoria Livengood, Older Woman*
The Washington Post declares Victoria Livengood as “unquestionably memorable,” further praising her “striking, rounded portrayal of a comic character,” and declares “her voice is a lovely one, rich and deep” and expressive within her command of “wonderfully sultry low passages.” In the 2016-17 season, she sings her first performances of Marfa in Káťa Kabanová with Seattle Opera and the Older Woman in Dove’s Flight with Opera Omaha. She also returns to the Witch and the Mother in Hänsel und Gretel with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Eunice in Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire with Hawaii Opera Theater. Last season, she sang Filippyevna in Eugene Onegin in her home state with North Carolina Opera and returned to Atlanta Opera for her first performances of Ruth in The Pirates of Penzance, Utah Opera for special performances of Hoiby’s Bon Appetit!, and Hawaii Opera Theater for Azucena in Il trovatore. She also joined the Coastal Symphony of Georgia for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.
Sought after for nonpareil performances within the character mezzo repertoire, she made her debut as the Marquise in Laurent Pelly’s production of La fille du regiment at the Gran Teatre del Liceu and sang Klytämnestra in Elektra with the Festival de Opera de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Taipei National Symphony Orchestrsa. Other recent performances include sang Eunice in A Streetcar Named Desire with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, both in Chicago and at Carnegie Hall, and Los Angeles Opera; Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro with Washington National Opera, Hawaii Opera Theatre, and Atlanta Opera; Herodias in Salome, Adelaide in Arabella, and Madame Larina in Eugene Onegin at the Metropolitan Opera; Woman in a Hat in Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles with Los Angeles Opera; Die Alte in The Passenger, Emilia in Otello, and Giovanna in Rigoletto with Houston Grand Opera; the Witch in Hänsel und Gretel with Kentucky Opera; previous performances of the Marquise in La fille du regiment also with Washington National Opera and the Teatro Municipal de Santiago; Mrs. Doc in A Quiet Place with New York City Opera; Herodias in Salome with Utah Opera; the Mother in The Consul with Florida Grand Opera; Sarelda in Musto’s The Inspector with Boston Lyric Opera; Madame de Croissy in Dialogues des carmélites with Fort Worth Opera and Hawaii Opera Theater; Akrosimova in War and Peace and at the Metropolitan Opera and Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi; Mamma Lucia in Cavalleria rusticana with Gran Teatre del Liceu and Opéra de Monte Carlo; the Baroness in Vanessa with Central City Opera; Baba the Turk in The Rake’s Progress with the Teatro Colón and Vancouver Opera; Filippyevna in Eugene Onegin with Opera Carolina; Katisha in The Mikado with Hawaii Opera Theater; Mrs. Grose in Turn of the Screw with Edmonton Opera; and Mrs. Noye in Noye’s Fludde with New Orleans Opera. She sang the title role of Menotti’s The Medium with the composer conducting at the Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi as well as Opéra de Monte Carlo, Florida Grand Opera, and Phoenicia Festival of the Voice. Also currently in her repertoire are Ježibaba in Rusalka and Grammy in The Gambler, which she has prepared for the Metropolitan Opera in recent seasons.
Her other performances include Azucena in Il trovatore with Fort Worth Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Anchorage Opera, and Portland Opera; Ortrud in Lohengrin at the Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi; Waltraute in Die Walküre with the Metropolitan Opera; Erste Magd in Elektra with the Lyric Opera of Chicago; Gertrude in Hamlet with Florida Grand Opera; Giulietta in Les contes d’Hoffmann with the Metropolitan Opera, Washington National Opera, and at the Teatro Municipal de Santiago; and Dalila in Samson et Dalila with Baltimore Opera. She created the role of Lampito in Mark Adamo’s Lysistrata at Houston Grand Opera and reprised it with New York City Opera. She also sang the title roles in Louis de Pablo's La Señorita Cristina at the Teatro Real and Stephen Oliver’s Beauty and the Beast for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as well as Myrtle Wilson in Harbison’s The Great Gatsby and Queen Isabella in Philip Glass’ The Voyage at the Metropolitan Opera.
Previously in more lyric repertoire, she found tremendous success as the title role of Carmen, having sung over 200 performances of the tragic heroine with companies that include the Metropolitan Opera, Oper Köln, and others throughout the United States. She has had a long relationship with the Metropolitan Opera where following her debut as Laura in Luisa Miller, her over 100 performances also included Maddalena in Rigoletto, Prince Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus, Margret in Wozzeck, Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Sonyetka in Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk as well as Helene in the company's premiere of War and Peace. Her earlier repertoire also comprises acclaimed performances of Charlotte in Werther with Seattle Opera, Idamante in Idomeneo and Sesto in La clemenza di Tito with Opéra de Nice, Jocasta in Oedipus Rex at the Salzburg Festival, Marina in Boris Godunov with Washington National Opera, Meg Page in Falstaff with San Francisco Opera, and Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus at the Teatro Municipal de Santiago.
The North Carolina native’s concert performances include Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky with the National Symphony Orchestra and at the Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi, Verdi's Requiem with the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Glass’ The Civil Wars with the American Composers' Orchestra, excerpts of Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder with the Louisiana Philharmonic, and Del Tredici's Child Alice with the American Symphony Orchestra. She returned to the Taipei Symphony Orchestra for a Verdi concert that included excerpts of Aida and Il trovatore. Additionally, she has appeared as a soloist across the country in repertoire that includes Mahler, Mendelssohn, Verdi, Brahms, and Beethoven with the symphonies of Atlanta, Minnesota, Baltimore, San Diego, Honolulu, Memphis, Tucson, Jacksonville, and at the Cincinnati May Festival. Her discography includes her Grammy-nominated performance with the London Symphony in Edward Thomas' Desire under the Elms as well as the Thomas Pasatieri Songbook and Adler's AIDS Requiem, all for Albany Records. She recorded The Consul and War and Peace for Chandos, both with Richard Hickox conducting as well as Oberon with Ben Heppner, Deborah Voigt, James Conlon conducting the Kölner Philharmoniker for EMI. She has also recorded “Piercing Eyes,” a solo program of Haydn songs for Albany.
Joe Chappel, Immigration Officer*
Bass-baritone Joe Damon Chappel, a native of Nashville, Tennessee, is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester. At Eastman, he was a William Warfield Scholar and had many solo credits with the Eastman Chorale and the Eastman Opera Theater. His career has demonstrated proficiency in a wide range of musical genres, from early music to opera and musical theater. He is the principal bass soloist with Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity (NYC), under the baton of Cantor Richard Erickson, and is an accomplished specialist in the performance of Bach’s cantatas, passion settings, and other large works. In 2008, Maestro Georg Cristoph Biller, Bach’s current living successor as Kantor of Thomaskirche, Leipzig, was a visiting guest conductor at Holy Trinity, and Mr. Chappel was honored to work with him on several cantatas as a featured soloist. He has also performed with groups such as Bachworks, NY Collegium, Early Music New York, Les Gouts-Reunis, Vox Vocal Ensemble and The Tiffany Consort (founding member), an 8-member ensemble of soloists which received a 2006 Grammy nomination for its debut recording project, O Magnum Mysterium. He has been hailed by the New York Times as a “warm bass anchor…” and after his first Verdi requiem, The State of Columbia, SC wrote “Chappel’s ‘Mors Stupebit’ kept the audience hanging on every breathy syllable, filling the hall with his strength even in the softest moments.” As a member of the Carolina Chamber Chorale (C3) at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC, he was bass soloist in world premieres by American composers Dan Locklair and Anthony Davis. Mr. Chappel sang his first Verdi Requiem with the South Carolina Philharmonic, Nicholas Smith, conductor. Subsequently, he and Maestro Smith have worked on several projects, including a Verdi Requiem at the Bollington Festival (UK), the Palmetto Opera’s production of Marriage of Figaro (as Figaro), and a return to the South Carolina Philharmonic as soloist in Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast.
A champion of new and/or rarely heard music, Mr. Chappel is frequently sought as a soloist in world premieres of newly written or newly discovered works. In 2007, he made his Lincoln Center debut as bass soloist in the world premiere of Andrew Fowler’s Directions for Singing. In 2006, he gave the New World premiere of a recently unearthed Kuhnau mass for solo Bass and strings. He has performed several works composed around the events of 9/11, including the role of the Pilot in the world premiere of Anthony Davis’ Restless Mourning at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, and the world premiere of Joelle Wallach’s Firefighter’s Prayer at Powell Hall as part of the Saint Louis Symphony’s “On Stage at Powell” recital series. In 2008 he performed Orestes/Athena in the U.S. premiere of Iannis Xenakis’ Oresteia at Miller Theater, Columbia University.
On the opera stage, Mr. Chappel has performed roles which include Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro), Porgy (Porgy and Bess), Tobit (Tobias and the Angel), Mustafa (L’Italiana in Algieri), Frere Laurent (Romeo et Juliette), Mr. Gobineau (The Medium), Giove (La Calisto), Angelotti (Tosca), and Sparafucile and Monterone (Rigoletto). He has participated in productions by One World Symphony, Dicapo Opera, the American Singers’ Opera Project, New Hampshire Opera, Connecticut Grand Opera, the Bollington Festival (UK), Opera at Eau Claire, and Palmetto Opera.
A believer in the power of educational outreach, Mr. Chappel has performed roles in A Band of Angels and The Orphan Singer, two children’s musicals created by the New York City based company, Making Books Sing, and most recently as Noye in the Eau Claire High School production of Noye’s Fludde, as part of the Columbia, SC “Opera in Schools”program.
Recent projects include singing in the Bard Summerscape 2011 production of Richard Strauss’ Die Liebe der Danae, and the Bard Summerscape 2012 production of Chabrier’s Le Roi Malgré Lui. Most recently Mr. Chappel has been a vocalist in the critically acclaimed two year world tour of Philp Glass and Robert Wilson’s Einstein on the Beach, with performances in Europe, Asia, North and Latin America.
FREE EVENT-Join us for this FREE 30-minute crash course into Dove's modern-day operatic comedy, Flight. 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 Flight. 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 Flight 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 Flight 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 Flight 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 Flight ticketholders for the day listed on your opera ticket.
A CLOSER LOOK
World Premiere: Glyndebourne Touring Opera (UK), September 24, 1998
Opera Omaha Premiere: April 2017