Award Winning Theater Director Debuts with Opera Omaha this Weekend
by Sarah Hookey Apr. 11, 2019
There's only one transformative, artist-packed weekend left of Opera Omaha's ONE Festival, to include the Opera Omaha debut of acclaimed theatre director Lileana Blain-Cruz as she directs the world stage premiere of a new performance edition of Gounod's Faust. A recent recipient of a 2018 United States Artists Award, grantee of a Knight Foundation award and past recipient of an Obie Award, Blain-Cruz is breathing vibrant energy into this updated production of Faust, a fascinating rendition that reimagines the classic, hedonistic tale.
Additionally, Conductor Steven White (Così fan tutte, 2017) returns to Opera Omaha to lead the Omaha Symphony in accompaniment, playing music from the opera that hasn't been heard in over 150 years. Restorations from Gounod's original score will introduce a trio in the opening scene, a moving farewell duet between Marguerite and Valentin and the original first aria composed for Méphistophél?s. This production will also feature use of Orpheum Theater's Organ, original to the venue circa 1927, which hasn't been played for public audiences since 1996.
Remaining Opera Omaha ONE Festival events include the last chance to see Artistic Director James Darrah'snew site-specific production of Philip Glass' Les Enfants Terribles which opened to a sold-out audience last weekend, choreographed by Gustavo Ramírez Sansano. In partnership with Film Streams, Ross Karre curates CINEsound, a series of Cinémathèque-inspired screenings exploring sound in film and featuring new scores to silent films performed live by members of International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE). ALSO, don't miss Ellen Reid's interactive musical sound sculpture installation, Playground, with one more opportunity to experience her new composition titled Run at Joslyn Art Museum, and Christopher Emile's multi-media dance and video work FOR RESEARCH ONLY at KANEKO.
Led by Omaha native and Opera Omaha General Director Roger Weitz (Chicago Opera Theater, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts) and Festival Artistic Director James Darrah, ONE amplifies the Omaha creative spirit by curating a cadre of interdisciplinary, world-class artists to rethink how contemporary opera is made. Each of the festival's handpicked creatives is an Artist-in-Residence, partnering across mediums to push beyond operatic norms. Together they bring to life two staged operas, a performance series exploring the operatic form, and various films, lectures, and intimate pop-up classical concert experiences.
Artist-driven and consciously curated, ONE Festival 2019 deconstructs the multi-disciplinary structure of opera through thought-provoking productions, exhibitions, installations, concerts and social gatherings that bring local and visiting artists together as one collaborative community. With an emphasis on experimentation and new work, ONE fosters an environment that encourages and celebrates bold risks and transformative storytelling. Often presented in intimate and unexpected venues, the festival places artists and audience in direct communication, further activating a culturally vibrant city.
Opera Omaha, the only professional opera company in Nebraska, began in 1958 as the Omaha Civic Opera Society, a volunteer association, and with tremendous community support became fully professional by 1970. Opera Omaha produces a season of original mainstage productions, presented at the historic Orpheum Theater, and smaller productions and musical events throughout the community. Opera Omaha is internationally known for its productions of eight world premieres and four American premieres of classical masterpieces and is highly regarded regionally for extensive community engagement and education programs. Opera Omaha's recently completed 60th anniversary season saw the launch of the ONE Festival, an innovative new spring festival, and a groundbreaking civic action initiative, the Holland Community Opera Fellowship - work that is key to Opera Omaha's ongoing transformation from a performing arts organization to a cultural resource for the community. Visit www.operaomaha.org for more information.