Former Opera Omaha conductor relishes return for 'Sweeney Todd'

For the past three years, noted musician and conductor Hal France has been at the University of Nebraska at Omaha teaching musical theater classes.

He’s probably better known, however, for his 10 years as the executive director of Opera Omaha (from 1995 to 2005) and his extensive freelance career as a guest conductor with noted opera companies across the country.

His last appearance with Opera Omaha was in 2018, as the conductor for Giuseppe Verdi’s “Falstaff.”

Now he’s back behind the baton for the company as the conductor of Stephen Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” premiering Friday at the Orpheum Theater.

He’s thrilled to be working on such an iconic example of musical theater — one that has many elements of opera — as he settles into his still-evolving gig as an instructor at UNO.