Opera Omaha expanding its range through community engagement programs

Teresa Riss remembers the year: 1994. That’s when "Puccini" and "Madama Butterfly" first breezed into her life. A college student at the time, she’s been hooked on opera and Opera Omaha ever since: “I love the music. I really do. Italian opera is my favorite.”

Lauren Medici was a teenager when it clicked for her: “I saw 'La Bohème' when I was in high school, and I said, ‘I get it. I really like this.’”

She links her first exposure to one of Opera Omaha’s long-standing community engagement programs, Student Dress Rehearsals. Years later, Medici thinks of that experience often. She has to. She is now the director of Opera Omaha’s engagement efforts.

“Our community engagement programs give people a different point of entry for opera or maybe even spark an interest someone didn’t know they had,” Medici says.

Opera Omaha, the only professional opera company in Nebraska, is set to soar in the months ahead with another series of high-powered mainstage productions: "Pagliacci," "The Elixir of Love (L'elisir d'amore)," "Les Enfants Terribles" and "Faust."

The company’s array of community programs supports those mainstage productions – and goes beyond them – engaging thousands across the metro each year, providing opera introductions, enlightenment and new perspectives. Accessibility is the overarching goal.