National Opera Week Events for All Ages Celebrate Puccini's 'La Bohème'

Omaha World Herald: Go

Opera Omaha will launch its celebration of National Opera Week on Friday, seven days before the premiere of its season opener, Giacomo Puccini’s “La Bohème.”

The company has several free events planned for the annual observance, many centered on the beloved Puccini work. Opera America coordinates National Opera Week each year, and this year’s honorary chairman is fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi.

Local events include:

» “Midday Music,” 12:15 p.m. Friday, Opera Omaha Rehearsal Studio at 1850 Farnam St. “La Bohème” director Crystal Manich and conductor Leonard Vordoni will offer a 30-minute crash course on their coming performance, which opens Nov. 4 at the Orpheum Theater and repeats Nov. 6. They’ll talk about the tragic story of young Bohemians living in the Latin Quarter of Paris in the 1840s and provide behind-the-scenes specifics about the Opera Omaha production, which premiered at Hawaii Opera Theatre in 2003. Cast members will perform, and the audience will have a chance to ask questions.

» “Behind the Curtain,” with Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska, 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Opera Omaha Rehearsal Studio. Scouts ages 5 to 14 will learn how to produce an opera from local artist Paula Wallace, wardrobe assistant Melissa Koza, assistant stage manager Alaina Bartkowiak and three young “La Bohème” performers. The Scouts will create their own set designs and practice staging.

» “Operation Storytime,” 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, Omaha Children’s Museum, 500 S. 20th St. Opera Omaha Managing Director Shannon Walenta will give an operatic twist on a reading of a favorite children’s book. Children ages 4 to 8 are welcome. One child will win a copy of the book. The reading event is free, but museum admission is not: Unless you have a museum membership, admission is $12 for adults and children older than 24 months and $11 for senior citizens.

» “Sole e Amore: An Evening of Puccini Inspirations,” 6 p.m. Tuesday, Omaha Conservatory of Music, 7023 Cass St. Soprano Karina Brazas and pianist Hal France will perform songs spanning the late 19th century through the 20th century.

» “Voice From Afar: An Evening of New Experimental Music,” 8 p.m. Nov. 3, House of Loom, 1012 S. 10th St. Amanda DeBoer Bartlett will perform “Lohn,” a piece for soprano and electronics by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, who is the first female composer in more than a century to have her work performed by the Metropolitan Opera. Saariaho’s “L’Amour de Loin” will open in New York in December. Bartlett also will sing other 21st century works inspired by Saariaho’s music. The program will be presented in partnership with Omaha Under the Radar.

Walk-ins are welcomed at events, but reservations are encouraged at