OVERVIEW

Music by Giacomo Puccini
Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica
Based on Henri Murger's novel Scènes de la Vie de Bohème
Performed in Italian with English supertitles

Fall in Love
One of the best known and beloved operas of all time, La bohème is the cherished story of love and loss. Beginning as a tale of youth, romance and optimism, a group of passionate Bohemians in Paris live as artists and musicians, celebrating life’s victories and weathering its hardships. As time passes, love turns to loss and hopefulness to heartache. Puccini’s timeless story of love, friendship and unwavering dreams has been cherished for more than a century.

Maestro Leonardo Vordoni returns to Opera Omaha (Cinderella, 2014) to conduct this classic production. Omaha favorite Leah Partridge (Micaëla, Carmen, 2013, Opera Outdoors 2015, OPA Celebrate 10) will portray Mimì for the first time in these Opera Omaha performances not to be missed.

ACT I
Paris, Christmas Eve, c. 1830. In their Latin Quarter garret, the near-destitute artist Marcello and poet Rodolfo try to keep warm by feeding the stove with pages from Rodolfo's latest drama. They are soon joined by their roommates - Colline, a young philosopher, and Schaunard, a musician, who brings food, fuel, and funds he has collected from an eccentric student. While they celebrate their unexpected fortune, the landlord, Benoit, comes to collect the rent. Plying the older man with wine, they urge him to tell of his flirtations, then throw him out in mock indignation at his infidelity to his wife. As his friends depart to celebrate at the Café Momus, Rodolfo promises to join them later, remaining behind to try to write. There is another knock at the door; the visitor is a pretty neighbor, Mimì, whose candle has gone out on the drafty stairway. No sooner does she enter than the girl feels faint; after reviving her with a sip of wine, Rodolfo helps her to the door and relights her candle. Mimì realizes she lost her key when she fainted, and, as the two search for it, both candles are blown out. In the darkness, Rodolfo finds the key and slips it into his pocket. In the moonlight the poet takes the girl's shivering hand, telling her his dreams. She then recounts her life alone in a lofty garret, embroidering flowers and waiting for the spring. Rodolfo's friends are heard outside, urging him to join them; he calls back that he is not alone and will be along shortly. Expressing their joy in finding each other, Mimì and Rodolfo embrace and slowly leave, arm in arm, for the café.


ACT II
Amid the shouts of street hawkers, Rodolfo buys Mimì a bonnet near the Café Momus and then introduces her to his friends; they all sit down and order supper. The toy vendor Parpignol passes by, besieged by eager children. Marcello's former sweetheart, Musetta, makes a noisy entrance on the arm of the elderly but wealthy Alcindoro. The ensuing tumult reaches its peak when, trying to regain Marcello's attention, she sings a waltz about her popularity. She complains that her shoe pinches, sending Alcindoro off to fetch a new pair. The moment he is gone, she falls into Marcello's arms and tells the waiter to charge everything to Alcindoro. Soldiers march by the café, and as the bohemians fall in behind, Alcindoro rushes back with Musetta's shoes.


ACT III
At dawn on the snowy outskirts of Paris, a customs official admits farm women to the city. Merrymakers are heard within a tavern. Soon Mimì wanders in, searching for the place where Marcello and Musetta now live. When the painter emerges, she tells him of her distress over Rodolfo's incessant jealousy. She says she believes it is best that they part. Rodolfo, who has been asleep in the tavern, wakes and comes outside. Mimì hides nearby, though Marcello thinks she has gone. The poet first tells Marcello that he wants to separate from his sweetheart, citing her fickleness; pressed for the real reason, he breaks down, saying that her coughing can only grow worse in the poverty they share. Overcome with tears, Mimì stumbles forward to bid her lover farewell as Marcello runs back into the tavern hearing Musetta's laughter. While Mimì and Rodolfo recall past happiness, Musetta dashes out of the inn, quarreling with Marcello, who has caught her flirting. The painter and his mistress part, hurling insults at each other, but Mimì and Rodolfo decide to remain together until spring.

ACT IV
Now separated from their girlfriends, Rodolfo and Marcello lament their loneliness in their garret. Colline and Schaunard bring a meager meal; to lighten their spirits the four stage a dance, which turns into a mock duel. At the height of the hilarity Musetta bursts in to tell them that Mimì is outside, too weak to come upstairs. As Rodolfo runs to her aid, Musetta relates how Mimì begged to be taken to her lover to die. The poor girl is made as comfortable as possible, while Musetta asks Marcello to sell her earrings for medicine and Colline goes off to pawn his overcoat, which for so long has kept him warm. Left alone, Mimì and Rodolfo wistfully recall their meeting and their first happy days, but she is seized with violent coughing. When the others return, Musetta gives Mimì a muff to warm her hands and prays for her life. As she peacefully drifts into unconsciousness, Rodolfo closes the curtain to soften the light. Schaunard discovers that Mimì is dead, and when Rodolfo at last realizes it, he runs to her side, repeatedly calling her name.

Posted with permission by OPERA NEWS/The Metropolitan Opera Guild, Inc.

La bohème is about youth, love, poetry and survival. What makes this opera beloved now as much as 120 years ago are the characters. In them we recognize parts of ourselves and can all relate to the plight of the artist, whether or not we are artists ourselves. Our craving to feel alive and experience life at its most exciting and beautiful is reflected in the characters that Giacomo Puccini and his librettists created, inspired by Frenchman Henri Murger’s stories in the mid-19th century.

The choice of words in La bohème stem directly from Murger’s texts. Rodolfo’s famous aria “Che gelida manina [what a cold hand]” comes from Murger’s specific description of the poet’s first meeting with the grisette: “But what contributed above all to make Rodolphe madly in love with Mademoiselle Mimi were her hands, which in spite of household cares, she managed to keep as white as those of the Goddess of Idleness.” Shaunard’s arrogance, as another example, perhaps stems from his aristocratic background that, while not made obvious in the opera, is permeated throughout Murger’s compilation of stories. Musette, during personal reflection, notes, “each of my loves is a verse, but Marcel is the refrain.” The simplicity of the characters depends on their basic need to survive in their given circumstances, while at the same time seizing the moment to find pleasure, love and adventure.

Perhaps the most striking aspect of Murger’s text is the author’s own self-awareness as to what it truly means to be an artist, or rather what it should not be, and the way that is translated in Puccini’s work. In one of the final stories, Marcel reflects, “It is not enough to wear a summer coat in December to have talent; one can be a real poet or artist whilst going about well shot and eating three meals a day…we are old, my dear fellow; we have lived too fast.” In other words, an artist need not suffer. And yet there is suffering in both Murger’s words and in Puccini’s score. How poignant for Puccini to make reference to a coat, most significantly in the final moments of the opera, perhaps to highlight the discovery that material and vain concerns have no significance in defining human existence, much as Murger expressed.

What we can take away from this masterpiece in our own time is easy to pin down. La bohème survives because it is the epitome of youth tainted by harsh socio-economic realities and evokes in us a desire to be as free as the Bohemians portrayed on the stage. And with Mimi’s young demise we find ourselves lamenting Rodolfo’s loss because of our desire to find love for longer than just a passing moment. Perhaps it is the tragic conclusion of La bohème that inspires us to live each moment to the fullest. We are made aware that time is short and, in Murger’s words, “A clock is a domestic foe who implacably reckons up to your existence hour by hour, minute by minute, and says to you every moment, ‘Here is a fraction of your life gone.’”

SEE PRODUCTION PHOTOS & MODELS

THE BUZZ

CREATIVE TEAM

HOMETOWN
Trieste, Italy

OPERA OMAHA DEBUT
La Cenerentola, 2014

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Leonardo Vordoni, Conductor

“Maestro Leonardo Vordoni led a splendidly nuanced reading of verve and melting grace,” raved Opera News of his Chicago Opera Theatre début conducting Mosè in Egitto. Due to the accolades and respect earned through such performances, Maestro Vordoni is in high demand by leading opera companies throughout the world. In recent seasons, Maestro Vordoni made important débuts at Houston Grand Opera conducting I barbiere di Siviglia; Canadian Opera Company conducting La Cenerentola;  and Lyric Opera of Chicago conducting Le nozze di Figaro, where the Chicago Tribune wrote “Mindful of the singers’ needs, he infused the orchestral playing with crisp vitality and shapely phrasing.”  He also conducted L’elisir d’amore at Minnesota Opera and L’italiana in Algeri at Lyric Opera Kansas City.

This season, he returned to Michigan Opera Theatre to conduct their production of La bohème, Opera Santa Barbara for L’elisir d’amore, and Opera Grand Rapids for Roméo et Juliette.

Maestro Vordoni regularly performs to critical acclaim on international stages, as well. In recent seasons Vordoni débuted at the prestigious Wexford Opera Festival conducting Pedrotti’s Tutti in maschera giving what critics called a “scintillating performance.” Additionally, he led performances of Don Pasquale at Teatro Comunale di Bologna, and Anna Bolena for Opéra National de Bordeaux.

In other notable engagements, he returned to Minnesota Opera for Lucia di lammermoor, Les pêcheurs des perles, La bohème, L’italiana in Algeri, and a revival of Argento’s Casanova’s Homecoming; conducted Don Giovanni at The Peabody Institute; La bohème at Santa Fe Opera, Green Mountain Opera Festival, and Utah Symphony & Opera; Tosca at Opera Grand Rapids and Opera on the James; Madama Butterfly with Madison Opera; La Cenerentola at Orlando Opera; The Rake’s Progress at Florida State University, and Turandot at Portland Opera. During his tenure on the music staff at the Metropolitan Opera, Vordoni collaborated on productions of L’elisir d’amore, Macbeth, La traviata, Aïda, La clemenza di tito, Un ballo in maschera, Norma, and Madama Butterfly.

A native of Trieste, Italy, Maestro Vordoni studied conducting at the Accademia Pescarese with Gilberto Serembe, and earned a diploma in opera conducting at Bologna’s Reale Accademia Filarmonica. He has presented master classes in Italian repertoire for leading Young Artist Programs across the United States including: San Francisco Opera, Seattle Opera, Utah Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Kansas University, University of Missouri Kansas City Conservatory, and University of North Texas in conjunction with La Fenice in Castelfranco Veneto.

HOMETOWN
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

OPERA OMAHA DEBUT
La bohème, 2016

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Crystal Manich, Director*

Crystal Manich, international director, has been called “masterly in presenting the dramatic confrontation” and for her “nuanced”, “imaginative” and “lively staging” by The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal among other publications. As a diverse director of theatre, Crystal has directed musicals and operas at various companies in the United States including Pittsburgh Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, North Carolina Opera, Opera Columbus, Utah Opera, Ash Lawn Opera, Lyric Opera Baltimore among others, and abroad with Buenos Aires Lírica in Argentina and Pinchgut Opera in Australia.  She also served as Assistant Artistic Director on Cirque du Soleil's Quidam tour in South America in 2009-2010. Recent engagements include a return to Buenos Aires directing Verdi’s Ernani; Handel’s Riccardo Primo for Pittsburgh Opera; The Cunning Little Vixen in Santa Barbara; La cenerentola in Arizona; Carmen for Opera Columbus. She will also direct a new adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s play The Master Builder. Crystal is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University.

HOMETOWN
Los Angeles, California

OPERA OMAHA DEBUT
La bohème, 2004

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Peter Dean Beck, Scenic Designer

Peter Dean Beck has designed scenery and/or lighting for over three hundred productions around North America. Among his opera credits are Falstaff, Turandot, Manon, Don Giovanni, Madama Butterfly, Hansel and Gretel, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Roméo et Juliette for such companies as Atlanta Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Virginia Opera, and Chautauqua Opera. He has designed productions of Andrea Chénier, L'Italiana in Algeri, Macbeth, Elektra, and Tristan und Isolde for Hawaii Opera Theatre, where he has been principal designer for thirty seasons. He has also been designing productions for the Eklund Opera at CU Boulder for twenty two seasons. In Asia, he has designed a double bill of Le Rossignol and Cavalleria Rusticana for Sakai City Opera in Japan and lit Caverlleria Rusticana / Pagliacci in Macao and Don Carlo in Hong Kong. His musical theater credits include Fiddler on the Roof, Sound of Music, Music Man, Les Misérables, and The Wizard of Oz for Skylight Music Theatre. His work for dance includes The Indigo Girls Project for Atlanta Ballet and Nutcracker for Ballet Hawaii.

HOMETOWN
Fallon, Nevada

OPERA OMAHA DEBUT
La bohème, 2016

 

Kathleen Trott, Costume Designer*

Kathleen Trott is one of the resident Costume Designers for Arizona Opera; this fall will also be her fourth season as the Shop Manager of the Marlu Allan and Scott Stallard Costume Shop for Arizona Opera. Originally from Fallon, a small town in Northern Nevada, Kathleen now lives in the Phoenix-metro area in Arizona. Other theatrical companies Kathleen has worked for include: PCPA, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and Southern Oregon University. Other design credits include: Don Pasquale for Cincinnati Opera, La fille du régiment at Greensboro Opera, Don Giovanni and Arizona Lady for Arizona Opera, Comic Potential for Southern Oregon University, The Pirates of Penzance for San Luis Obispo Opera and Dido and Aeneas for Central City Opera. Upcoming designs include Madama Butterfly, La Cenerentola and the World Premiere of Riders of the Purple Sage in February, 2017 for Arizona Opera and Don Pasquale in March 2017 for Atlanta Opera.

Paul Hackenmueller, Lighting Designer

This is Lighting Designer Paul Hackenmueller’s Opera Omaha debut. His work has been seen globally across performance disciplines including work with the Santa Fe Opera, Philadelphia Opera, Bucharest National Opera, Minnesota Opera, Dallas Opera, Boston Lyric Opera and Pittsburgh Opera. New York theatre work includes designs on over 10 Broadway musicals and plays as an associate including Disgraced and a Broadway co-design on Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill starring Audra McDonald. Lighting for numerous singers in concert include Justin Timberlake, Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, Garth Brooks, Lady Antebellum, Bruno Mars, Tony Bennet, Beyoncé, Pearl Jam, John Legend, Elton John, Taylor Swift and The Fray. Mr. Hackenmueller holds an M.F.A. from NYU Tisch School of the Arts and a B.A. from the University of Minnesota.

*Opera Omaha Mainstage Debut

CAST

HOMETOWN
Woodstock, Georgia

OPERA OMAHA DEBUT
Violetta
(La traviata), 2005

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Leah Partridge, Mimi

Soprano Leah Partridge has performed more than 30 roles in 50 operatic productions across the United States, South America, and Europe in companies such as The Metropolitan Opera, Seattle Opera, Washington National Opera, Atlanta Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Teatro Colón Buenos Aires, Dresden Semper Oper, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Maggio Musicale in Florence, Italy, and Vlaamse Oper in Antwerp Belgium, among many others. She has concertized with the Boston Baroque, San Diego Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony, the Gibraltar Philharmonic, and the Omaha Symphony. Ms. Partridge has recorded with The Metropolitan Opera Live in HD series and has a recording of American Art Songs with composers Ricky Ian Gordon and Jake Heggie accompanying their pieces.

Ms. Partridge most recently debuted with Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in a new production of La bohème as Musetta. She also made her house debut with Seattle Opera singing the three heroines in Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann. For the 2015-16 season Ms. Partridge will make a return to her home opera company at the Atlanta Opera as Musetta in La bohème, and will follow these performances with her debut as Mimì in La bohème with Opera Coeur d'Alene in Spokane, Washington. Ms. Partridge will be seen in concert with Opera Omaha in their Opera Outdoors Series and will return to Omaha later in the season to open for Kristin Chenoweth at the Holland Center in their 10-year anniversary celebration with the Omaha Symphony. She will begin 2016 with performances of Lucia di Lammermoor with Opera Eugene in Eugene, Oregon and make her role debut as Pamina in Mozart's beloved The Magic Flute with the renowned Boston Baroque Orchestra in April 2016.

Ms. Partridge is well known for her portrayals of leading bel canto roles. Her professional debut as Lucia di Lammermoor in 2003 prompted the Palm Beach Sun Sentinel to write, "A star is born". Her work and collaboration with world-renowned artists Virginia Zeani, Renata Scotto, and Richard Bonynge have richly informed her performances and have given her deep insight into the historical performance practice of the bel canto repertoire. Following her performances of Amina in La sonnambula with Florida Grand Opera which was conducted by Bonynge and directed by Scotto, the Sun Sentinel wrote, "Sleepwalking in the footsteps of Maria Callas, of the great Joan Sutherland, of Scotto herself, Partridge sounded like none of them and made the music her own - florid cadenzas and all. Her singing was, well, spectacular." Her current attention is Verdi roles, lyric Puccini roles, and lyric-coloratura French roles, while maintaining steady performances of staple bel canto interpretations.

Ms. Partridge is a proud member of the voice faculty at Kennesaw State University in Atlanta, GA and a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. She thoroughly enjoys building and discovering the strengths of her students as singers and artists. She is a certified Yoga teacher and helps students discover their voices through movement, alignment, and breath techniques. She takes a rounded approach, which involves finding literature that suits each singer, working with each student to find the optimal balance of physical release and readiness, out of which excellent breathing and technical confidence give way to expression. Her experience as a performer, yoga teacher, and career educator make her highly sought after as a guest artist and teacher.

Ms. Partridge received her Bachelor of Music from Mercer University and her Master of Music from Indiana University where she was the recipient of the Wilfred C. Bain full Opera Scholarship. She was a member of The Santa Fe Opera Apprentice program in 2001 and 2002 and was a Young Artist with Florida Grand Opera in 2002-2003. She was a National Semi-Finalist in The Metropolitan Opera National Council Competition in 2004.

HOMETOWN
São Paulo, Brazil

OPERA OMAHA DEBUT
La bohème, 2016

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Cleyton Pulzi, Rodolfo*

Brazilian tenor, Cleyton Pulzi is renowned for his musicality and nobility of tone. In November 2016 he will make his debut with Opera Omaha singing the role of Rodolfo in La bohème. His most recent performance was at the Teatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro singing the role of Basilio in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro.

In January of 2014, Mr. Pulzi made his debut with São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra singing as the tenor soloist in the Beethoven’s 9th Symphony under the baton of conductor Roberto Tibiriçá and subsequently moved to the United States, where he has worked as a soloist in operas and concerts. His roles included Reverend Parris in Robert Ward’s The Crucible and Count Almaviva in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia.

Recent performances include his debut of Rodolfo in Puccini’s La bohème at the Rialto Center for the Arts in Atlanta, conducted by maestro Michael Palmer and the role of Alfred in Die Fledermaus under the baton of conductor Roberto Minczuk in Riberao Preito at the Teatro Pedro II.

In 2012, Mr. Pulzi debuted with Amazonas Opera Festival singing the role of Arturo in Bellini’s I puritani under the baton of Luiz Fernando Malheiro and Marcelo de Jesus. That same year, he also performed the tenor solos in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, with Reginaldo Nascimento conducting. In 2013, he debuted at Theatro São Pedro singing the role of Prince Ramiro in La cenerentola and then returned to the Amazonas Opera Festival for roles in Janáček's The Cunning Little Vixen, Wagner’s Parsifal and Strauss’s Die Fledermaus. He rounded out his year by stepping in to sing Ramiro yet again for the inaugural season of the Festival of International Opera of the Americas in July.

Mr. Pulzi debuted in Italy with Montrefeltro Music Festival in 2011, singing the role of Ramiro. Prior to his engagements in Italy, he presented a solo recital at the Rialto Theater for the Arts in Atlanta, Georgia. These performances were part of the First Place award Mr. Pulzi won in the 2010 Bauru-Atlanta Vocal Competition.

Mr. Pulzi’s other performances include Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Bastien in Bastien und Bastienne, King Caspar in Amahl and the Night Visitors and Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi with Opera São Paulo Company. His performances in Der Schauspieldirektor were with conductor Alessandro Sangiorgi in Curitiba, Brazil. He reprised the role in Franca, Brazil under conductor Nazir Bittar. Mr. Pulzi’s debut as the tenor soloist in Dvorak’s Stabat Mater was under the baton of Maestro Claudio Cruz with Ribeirao Preto Symphony Orchestra.

In 2005, he was selected as the Best Young Singer in the Edmar Ferreti Voice Competition. Mr. Pulzi also won first prize in the Rotary Club of São Paulo, and was sent to the 4th International Rotary Opera Competition in Portugal. In 2010, the tenor was the first Brazilian to ever qualify for the semifinal of the International Concurs Jaume Aragall, which took place in Spain. Cleyton was also a finalist for the 10th Maria Callas Brazilian Vocal Competition, in April 2011.

HOMETOWN
Dallas, Texas

OPERA OMAHA DEBUT
La bohème, 2016

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Steven LaBrie, Marcello*

Baritone Steven LaBrie, a native of Dallas, is beginning to attract attention for his beautiful timbre, expressive singing and dramatic presence.

In the 2015-2016 season, Mr. LaBrie makes his debut at Lyric Opera Baltimore heading the cast, as Figaro, in their production of Il barbiere di Siviglia. He also appears with soprano Erin Wall in recital for the George London Foundation Recital Series, with the New York City Ballet singing the baritone solos of Estancia, both in New York City and on tour in Paris and making his Carnegie Hall debut as the soloist in Matthias Pintscher’s Songs from Solomon’s Garden with the American Composers Orchestra. Future projects include debuts with Opera Omaha and with North Carolina Opera  and a return to Lyric Opera Baltimore, all in leading roles.

In the past season, Mr. LaBrie reprised the role of Schaunard for both his return to the Dallas Opera and his debut with the Washington National Opera. He also performed Schubert's Die schöne Müllerin at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Jacob's Pillow Festival with Jessica Lang Dance in Ms. Lang's evocative ballet The Wanderer. Additionally, he returned to The Kennedy Center to sing the baritone solos in Carmina Burana with The Catholic University of America (CUA) Symphony Orchestra and Choruses in a concert celebrating the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music's 50th anniversary.

Other past projects for Mr. LaBrie, include Dancaïro in Carmen at the Dallas Opera, the Secret Police Agent in Menotti's The Consul with Seattle Opera, Schaunard in La bohème with New Orleans Opera and Raimbaud in Le Comte Ory with Des Moines Metro Opera. He made his debut at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall in an Eve Queler and Friends concert in the 2012-2013 season, and as part of a residency at Wolf Trap Opera, he sang the baritone solos in Carmina Burana with the National Symphony Orchestra, Don Alvaro in Il viaggio a Reims, and a recital at the Phillips Collection museum in Washington, DC.

A graduate of The Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA), Mr. LaBrie performed roles such as Marcello in La bohème, Malatesta in Don Pasquale, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, Kuligan in Kát'a Kabanová, Baron Douphol in La traviata, and Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia during his residency there.  He has performed Schaunard in Opera Santa Barbara's production of La bohème, and Morales with Opera New Jersey's Carmen. In the 2010-2011 season, he made his debut with Glimmerglass Opera as Araspe in the U.S. premiere of Handel's Tolomeo followed by another U.S. premiere as the Miller in El gato con botas with Gotham Chamber Opera. He made his debut with the Dallas Opera in February of 2011 as Paris and Mercutio in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette.

Mr. LaBrie has received numerous awards and honors including a 2016 Top Prize Award and a 2013 Encouragement Grant from the George London Music Foundation, Second Place from the Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition as well as the Judges Award with the Opera Index Competition. In 2010, he was an encouragement award winner in Washington, DC for the Metropolitan Opera National Council. He was also awarded First Place in the Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition and Second Place in the Palm Beach Opera Competition in 2008, where he performed in the grand winner's concert accompanied by the Palm Beach Opera Orchestra. That same year, he was awarded Second Place at the Parkinson Competition and was a recipient of the Sergio Franchi Scholarship. In 2006, Mr. LaBrie was a Third Place winner of the Dallas Opera Vocal Competition, where he was also awarded The Mozart Award for best aria interpretation. Additionally, he has been awarded the Grand Prize at the Florida Grand Opera Young Patronesses of the Opera Competition, Fourth Prize at both the Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation Competition and the Giulio Gari Foundation Competition and recently the 2015 Gilda Morelli Prize for Best Vocal and Dramatic Interpretation of an Aria at the Concurso Nacional de Canto Carlo Morelli in Mexico City, which was especially chosen by Francisco Araiza.

HOMETOWN
Old Saybrook, Connecticut

OPERA OMAHA DEBUT
La bohème, 2016

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Mary Dunleavy, Musetta*

During an international career that has brought her to many of the world's most important opera houses, Mary Dunleavy has affirmed her position as one of America's leading singing actresses.

Most recently, the soprano made her critically acclaimed UK debut as Christine in Intermezzo with Garsington Opera. The 2016-2017 season sees Ms. Dunleavy return to The Metropolitan Opera to cover the roles of Musetta (La bohème) and Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), and she makes her company debut with Opera Omaha as Musetta. Future seasons see a return to Garsington Opera.

During the 2015-2016 season the soprano returned to the roster of the Metropolitan Opera to cover Musetta in La bohème, and appeared in concert with the Oregon Mozart Players. Last season, Ms. Dunleavy returned to Portland Opera as Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, and to The Metropolitan Opera for several productions, covering the roles of Mimì (La bohème), Musetta (La bohème), Micaëla (Carmen), Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), and Anne Truelove (The Rake's Progress).

In the 2013-2014 season, Ms. Dunleavy’s engagements included: the Dallas Opera as Micaëla in Carmen; Atlanta Opera for Marguerite in Faust; Nashville Opera for her role debut as Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello, and a return to The Metropolitan Opera as Pamina in The Magic Flute and for its production of L’elisir d’amore. She closed the season making her role and company debut with Chautauqua Opera as Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly.

The 2012-2013 season included appearances with The Metropolitan Opera, to cover Donna Anna in Don Giovanni; her role debut as Donna Elvira in Christopher Alden's production of Don Giovanni at Portland Opera; Violetta in La traviata for her company debut with Atlanta Opera; and Mimì in La bohème with Fort Worth Opera. In the 2011- 2012 season, the soprano performed Marguerite in a new production of Faust with Opéra de Montréal, and returned to the roster of The Metropolitan Opera, to cover Donna Anna in a new production of Don Giovanni. Additionally, Mary Dunleavy appears in the 2012 Steven Spielberg film, Lincoln, singing music from Gounod's Faust.

Ms. Dunleavy's 2010-11 season included the lead soprano, Christine, in New York City Opera's revival of Strauss' Intermezzo, the soprano soloist in Beethoven's 9th Symphony with the Richmond Symphony, a gala concert with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, and her first Marguerite in Faust with Opera Birmingham, followed by further performances of the role in North Carolina Opera's inaugural season.

In the 2009-2010 season, Ms. Dunleavy performed Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail at San Francisco Opera, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the San Diego Symphony, Gilda in Rigoletto opposite Richard Paul Fink and David Pomeroy at Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and Violetta in La traviata under Lorin Maazel at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing.

Her gallery of operatic heroines is led by her signature role, Violetta in La traviata, seen thus far in over 60 performances at The Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu, Glimmerglass Opera, New York City Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, the Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest, and others. Additional career highlights include Gilda in Rigoletto at The Met, San Francisco Opera, Hamburgische Staatsoper, Teatro Municipal de Santiago, and Opera Pacific; the Infanta in Zemlinsky's Der Zwerg with Los Angeles Opera, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, and the Spoleto Festival USA; Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail with Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Cincinnati May Festival, San Francisco Opera, Washington National Opera, NYCO, Opera Philadelphia, and Boston Lyric Opera; Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte and Countess Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro with Opera Philadelphia; Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Michigan Opera Theatre; Pamina in Die Zauberflöte with the Met, Boston Lyric Opera, and Portland Opera; Giunia in Lucio Silla at De Nederlandse Opera.

Other appearances include: Aspasia in Mitridate, re di Ponto at Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie; Micaëla in Carmen at The Metropolitan Opera, De Nederlandse Opera and Pittsburgh Opera; Leïla in Les pêcheurs de perles with Seattle Opera, Opera Colorado, NYCO, Opera Philadelphia, and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis; Ophélie in Hamlet at Gran Teatre del Liceu; the title role in Thaïs with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis; all four heroines in Les contes d'Hoffmann at The Dallas Opera (where she won the 2006 Maria Callas Debut Artist of the Year Award); Olympia, Antonia, and Stella in Les contes d'Hoffmann at The Met; Héro in Béatrice et Bénédict in Amsterdam; Adele in Die Fledermaus with Opéra National de Paris; Musetta in La bohème with the Met in the Parks; Adina in L'elisir d'amore at Naples' Teatro di San Carlo and Portland Opera; Giulietta in I Capuleti e i Montecchi at NYCO; Amina in La sonnambula in Bilbao; and the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor with L'Opéra de Montréal and Connecticut Opera.

Her Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte, a role which she retired in 2002 after 84 performances, was heard at The Met, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, Houston Grand Opera, Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, Amsterdam, Aix-en-Provence, Montréal and NYCO.

HOMETOWN
Newark, New Jersey

OPERA OMAHA DEBUT
Jack Wallce
(La fanciulla del West),
2015

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Christian Zaremba, Colline

Praised by the New York Times as “a stage animal with a big bass voice,” in the 2015-16 season the young American bass Christian Zaremba appears with Opera Omaha as Jake Wallace in La fanciulla del West and performs Commendatore in Don Giovanni with New York’s Venture Opera. He returns to Wolf Trap Opera in the summer of 2016 as Collatinus in The Rape of Lucretia and as Passagallo in Gassmann’s L'Opera Seria. In the 2016-17 season Mr. Zaremba returns to Opera Omaha as Colline in La bohème.

In the summer of 2015, Mr. Zaremba performed the roles of Il Re in Aida and Bartolo in Le nozze de Figaro with Wolf Trap Opera. As a resident artist with Minnesota Opera, Mr. Zaremba’s performances included General Tracy in the world premiere of The Manchurian Candidate, Sarastro and Sprecher in Die Zauberflöte, Ashby in La fanciulla del West, Zuniga in Carmen, Count Lamoral in Arabella, and The Lawyer in Dream of Valentino.

Mr. Zaremba’s recent opera performances also include David Lang’s The Little Match Girl Passion with Glimmerglass Opera, Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Long Island Opera, and Pistola in Falstaff for the Martina Arroyo Foundation.

As a concert soloist, Christian Zaremba has performed Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s St. John Passion with Annapolis Chorale, Mozart’s Requiem with St. Cloud Orchestra, and repertoire of Henry Purcell with Metamorphoses Orchestra.

HOMETOWN
Elk Mound, Wisconsin

OPERA OMAHA DEBUT
La bohème, 2016

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Samuel Schultz, Schaunard*

Praised by Opera News as possessing a "smoky-dark baritone," baritone Samuel Schultz maintains a diverse career of operatic and concert performances. He will be featured on an upcoming album on which he will be heard performing the world premiere recording of “Gettysburg” by William Bolcom.

Mr. Schultz has appeared with Houston Grand Opera as Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus, Mr. Lindquist in A Little Night Music, Moralès in Carmen, The Businessman in The Little Prince, Counsel for the Plaintiff in Trial By Jury, and Perückenmacher in Ariadne auf Naxos. His Santa Fe Opera debut consisted of the world premiere of UnShakeable, in which he performed the principal role of Wyatt. He made his Houston Symphony Orchestra debut singing Ramiro in Ravel’s L’heure espagnole and the orchestrated Don Quichotte. He returned to sing in a concert version of Wozzeck. In addition, he sang the role of Dandini in Rossini’s La cenerentola for Baltimore Concert Opera. Mr. Schultz also performed Junius in The Rape of Lucretia in performances at the Aspen Music Festival conducted by Jane Glover. As a Gerdine Young Artist with Opera Theatre of St. Louis he covered the role of Howie in the world premiere of Champion.

He was the recipient of the 2014 Stern Fellowship at SongFest where he sang concerts and recitals in Los Angeles, including a concert tour featuring the music from Songs in the Key of Los Angeles. Mr. Schultz then sang Berio's rarely-performed Coro, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle at the Lucerne Festival.

Mr. Schultz is an alumnus of the United States Senate Page Program and had the prestigious honor of singing for the United States Congress. He received advanced degrees in voice performance from The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. 

HOMETOWN
Shawnee, Oklahoma

OPERA OMAHA DEBUT
Baron Zeta
(The Merry Widow), 1995

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Thomas Hammons, Alcindoro/Benoit

Bass-baritone Thomas Hammons has been acclaimed throughout the United States, Canada, and across Europe, for the depth and richness of his portrayals and the strength and beauty of his singing. A versatile singing actor, Mr. Hammons has an active repertoire of over 60 roles spanning a variety of genres from the classical buffo repertoire, to the world of contemporary music, to modern musical theater. He made his début at The Metropolitan Opera as Sacristan in Tosca during the 1996-97 Season, and took part in the première of Jonathan Miller’s acclaimed production of Le nozze di Figaro. He has returned to The Met in over 250 performances since, most recently for Lulu, Le nozze di Figaro, and La bohème.

This season, Mr. Hammons performs the role of Benoit/Alcindoro in La bohème at Michigan Opera Theater and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Candy in Of Mice and Men at Austin Lyric Opera, Don Magnifico in Cinderella with Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, and performing in the world première of Shalimar the Clown, also at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. This summer, he performs the role of Sacristan in Tosca at Cincinnati Opera. Next season, Hammons appears as Antonio in Le nozze di Figaro with Milwaukee Symphony, and Benoit/Alcindoro in La bohème at Opera Omaha.

Mr. Hammons created the role of Henry Kissinger in the world première of Nixon in China by John Adams for the Houston Grand Opera in 1987. His iconic portrayal of Kissinger was subsequently seen in Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt, and Los Angeles, along with most recent revivals at the Canadian Opera Company, Cincinnati Opera, Opera Colorado, Vancouver Opera, and in concert with the Phoenix Symphony.  His association with John Adams has continued with his chilling portrayal of the terrorist Rambo in the inaugural performances of in The Death of Klinghoffer at the Opera de la Monnaie, Brussels, with subsequent performances in Lyon, Vienna, San Francisco, and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. His creations of these two seminal works can be heard on the Nonesuch recordings of Nixon in China and The Death of Klinghoffer.      

Recently, Hammons appeared in his signature role of Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Michigan Opera Theatre and New Orleans Opera; as Benoit/Alcindoro in La bohème with the Canadian Opera Company and Arizona Opera; Sacristan in Tosca with Portland Opera, Opera Lyra Ottawa, PORTOpera, Orlando Philharmonic, and Dayton Opera; Talpa in Il tabarro with the Opera Theatre of St. Louis; and Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro at Central City Opera and New Orleans Opera; George Benton in Dead Man Walking with Central City Opera and Dayton Opera. Favorite engagements have included a concert version of La bohème at The Hollywood Bowl under the baton of John Mauceri; a tour of Die Fledermaus with Seiji Ozawa in Japan; Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro at Barcelona’s famed Teatro Liceu; and most recently, his début with Lyric Opera of Chicago as Schigolch in Lulu. In other recent engagements, Mr. Hammons sang Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola at Tulsa Opera; and a reprisal of the role of Benoit/Alcindoro in La bohème with Palm Beach Opera.

He began his career as an Apprentice Artist at Santa Fe Opera in The Duchess of Malfi and has since appeared as Benoit/Alcindoro in La bohème, Maharajah in Menotti’s The Last Savage, Dansker in Billy Budd, and Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore. With Cincinnati Opera, performances include Benoit/Alcindoro in La bohème, Hermann Ortel in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Sacristan in Tosca, Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and Simone in Gianni Schicchi.

Additional notable performances include Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Vancouver Opera, Opera Colorado, Opéra de Montréal, and Opera Cleveland; Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro with Opera Colorado, Atlanta Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and Dayton Opera; Benoit/Alcindoro in La bohème with Opera Colorado, the Atlanta Opera, and the Pacific Symphony; Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore with Opéra de Montréal, Michigan Opera Theatre, and Dayton Opera; and  Sulpice in La fille du régiment with Opéra de Montréal. Mr. Hammons is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where he studied with renowned bass Italo Tajo.

Opera Omaha Debut: Opera Outdoors 2015

Juan Ahumáda, Parpignol

Juan Ahumáda, tenor, made his professional stage debut as Pedrillo in Hubbard Hall Opera Theater's production of Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail. He has since performed with the Russian Opera Workshop at The Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, Opera Omaha, Berks Opera Workshop and Capitol Opera Harrisburg. Recent roles have included Vaudemont in Tchaikovsky's Iolanta, Tamino in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, Alfred in J. Strauss's Die Fledermaus and Il Duca in Verdi's Rigoletto. This spring Juan makes his debut with The Metropolitan Opera as a Prisoner in Beethoven's Fidelio.

*Opera Omaha Mainstage Debut

THE OPERA OMAHA CHORUS

Soprano
Jensyn Bell
Tatiana Eskridge
Meagan Fowler
Elizabeth Joy Kelly
Susan Linnell
Caroline McKee
Cheyenne Nelson
Nora Ryan
Cammy Watkins
Amanda Zasada
 
Mezzo Soprano
Morgan Brown
Mary Carrick
Sydney Clifton
Emily Lindner
Laura Petry
Stephanie Pollock
Alma Ramos
 
Tenor
Danny Bos
Elijah Brown
Dillon Edwards
Elmer Ellefson
Jonathan Fischer
Ty Hebbert
Brian Jay
Gavin Rasmussen
 
Baritone/Bass
Alexander Brown
Matthew Brown
Chris Little
Eric Micks
Andrew Pratt
David Shellenberger
Matthew Sommer

RAGAZZI CHORUS (CHILDREN'S CHORUS)

Theresa Bochnicek
Lydia Bruckner
Ava Burk
Sophie Carrick
Gwen Corcoran
Allison Crain
Eva Ellefson
Keanu Ellefson
Evelyn Hill
Ruby Kraft
Bethany Krichau
Ava Larson-Gallegos
Nikolas Loontjer
Lyndon Pantos
Miles Pantos
Aidan Schmidtke
Sydney Schroeder
Kordelya Stewart
Vivian Thomasset
Madeleine Williams

Cody Jorgensen │Assistant Chorus Master - Ragazzi

OMAHA SYMPHONY

Thomas Wilkins │Music Director
Ernest Richardson │Resident Conductor & Principal Pops Conductor

1st Violin
Susanna Perry Gilmore, Concertmaster
Ann Beebe, Associate Concertmaster    
Elizabeth Furuta, Second Associate Concertmaster
Christopher Hake, Assistant Concertmaster
Rebecca Kia
Phyllis Duncan
Ricardo Amador
Anne Nagosky

2nd Violin
Keith Plenert, Principal  
Frank Seligman, Associate Principal
Kevin Tompkins, Assistant Principal
Scott Shoemaker
Tracy Dunn        
Daniel Fletcher
Juliet Yoshida
Marty Antonson 

Viola
Thomas Kluge, Principal
Brian Sherwood, Associate Principal
Margo Romig-Motycka
Judy Divis
Bozhidar Shopov
Sherrie Goeden                               

Cello
Paul Ledwon, Principal
Gregory Clinton, Associate Principal        
Samuel Pierce-Ruhland, Assistant Principal
Tim Strang

Bass
Will Clifton, Principal      
William Ritchie, Assistant Principal
Danielle Meier 

Flute
Maria Harding, Principal
Alyssa Griggs, Assistant Principal
Nicaulis Alliey 

Oboe
Alexandra Rock, Principal
Heather Baxter, Assistant Principal
Robert Jenkins                 

Clarinet
Carmelo Galante, Principal
Jaewon Kim, Assistant Principal
Thomas Aber

Bassoon                              
James Compton, Principal
Nicholas Nelson, Assistant Principal 

Horn
Brett Hodge, Principal
Ross Snyder, Associate Principal
Steve Schultz
Dan Kitchens 

Trumpet
Scott Quackenbush, Principal
K. Craig Bircher, Associate Principal
Daniel Nesbitt 

Trombone
Patrick Pfister, Principal
Jason Stromquist
Jay Wise

Tuba
Craig Fuller, Principal 

Timpani
Richard Jones 

Percussion
Ken Yoshida, Principal
Robert Burrows, Assistant Principal 

Harp
Mary Bircher, Principal 

Omaha Symphony Staff
T. Adam Goos, General Manager
Jessica Slais, Vice President of Artistic Planning & Chief Librarian
Jeff Baron, Assistant Stage Manager
Bradford Courage, Orchestra Manager
Mark Haar, Assistant Librarian
Rick Jones, Stage Manager
Jennifer Kreitz-Couch, Operations and Production Manager
Kristin Patch, Artistic Manager

Supernumeraries

Clint Beaver
Brendan Brown
Ron Chvala
Tony Wredt

ADDITIONAL EVENTS

FREE EVENT-Join us for this FREE 30-minute crash course into Puccini's romantic tragedy, La bohèmeMembers 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 La bohème. 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.

Enhance your La bohème experience by joining other opera goers for a pre-performance dinner and conversation at Sullivan’s Steakhouse. A member of the creative team will provide insight into Puccini’s beloved masterpiece.

To reserve your spot, please RSVP by Monday, October 31, 2016 to Laura Jaros by email at ljaros@operaomaha.org or by calling 402-346-7372. 

Checks can be mailed to Opera Omaha or payment can be taken over the phone.

Click here for more information.

Date: Friday, November 4, 2016
Time: 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Location: Sullivan’s Steakhouse
Parking: complimentary (vehicle must be moved by 11:00 p.m.)

Price: $50 includes dinner and gratuity with cash bar 

Make the most of your evening at the opera. Opera Omaha ticketholders can tune up for La bohème 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 La bohème 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 La bohème 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 La bohème ticketholders for the day listed on your opera ticket.

A CLOSER LOOK

Performance History
World Premiere: Turin, Teatro Regio, February 1, 1896
Opera Omaha Premiere: April 1962
Recent Opera Omaha Performances: April 2009

La Bohème Commercial

Details

Orpheum Theater  | Slosburg Hall


 Fri, Nov 4, 2016    7:30 p.m.


Sun, Nov 6, 2016  2:00 p.m.


Approx. 3hrs
Includes two intermissions

LISTEN

Production Sponsors

WOWT

SAC

Shine the Light on Hunger

Iowa West Foundation

In-Kind Sponsors

Le Petit Paris

Le Voltaire

Wilson and Washburn

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