Meet the Artist(s): Set Designer, Peter Dean Beck and Lighting Designer, Donald Thomas

Mar 7, 2012

The Wednesday installment of our Meet the Artist series presents you with a two-for-one preview of the professionals behind the set and lighting design for The Mikado. Set Designer, Peter Dean Beck and Lighting Designer, Donald Thomas are today’s featured artists. Any staged production relies on the expertise, professionalism, and skill of the people working backstage. The magnificent performances of the actors onstage are only part of the show. The set and lighting create the mood and place of a performance and allow the actors to perform safely and to their full potential.

Enjoy reading about our featured artists, Peter Dean Beck and Donald Thomas.

Beck’s biography and photos of his past work are found here:

“Peter Dean Beck has designed scenery and/or lighting for over two hundred fifty productions around the country. Among his opera credits are Falstaff, Turandot, Manon, Don Giovanni, Madama Butterfly, Hansel and Gretel, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Romeo et Juliette for such companies as Atlanta Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Virginia Opera, and Chautauqua Opera. He has designed productions of Andrea Chenier, L’Italiana in Algeri, Macbeth, Elektra, and Tristan and Isolde for Hawaii Opera Theatre, where he has been principal designer for twenty-five seasons. He has also been designing opera productions for the University of Colorado for sixteen seasons. His other musical theater credits include West Side Story, Guys and Dolls, Candide, The King and I, and Fiddler on the Roof. He designed The Indigo Girls Project for Atlanta Ballet and Nutcracker for Ballet Hawaii. He designed a double bill of le Rossignol and Cavalleria Rusticana for Sakai City Opera in Japan and lit Cav/Pag in Macao and Don Carlo in Hong Kong.”

Thomas’ biography, photo, and a link to photos of his past work is found here:

“One of opera’s leading Lighting Designers, Donald Edmund Thomas has designed productions for companies worldwide including L’Opera de Montreal, Seattle Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Opera de Puerto Rico, Dallas Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Virginia Opera, Opera Pacific, the Florentine Opera in Milwaukee, Baltimore Opera, Opera Carolina, New Orleans Opera, Arizona Opera, Opera Columbus, Fort Worth Opera, Kentucky Opera, Opera Delaware, Toledo Opera and Sarasota Opera. He is the Principal Designer for the Summer Opera Theatre Company (Washington, DC), a position he has held since 1990, designing over 25 productions. He also serves on the Board of Directors of that Company.

In the 2010-2011 season, productions included Carmen at Lyric Opera of Kansas City, La Voix Humaine/I Pagliacci for Opera Cleveland, and Don Giovanni and DiChiera’s Cyrano at Florida Grand Opera. Engagements from the 2009-2010 season included Tosca at Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Otello at Palm Beach Opera, Aida at the Atlanta Opera, and Tosca at Michigan Opera Theatre. In the recent 2008-2009 season, lighting productions included Sweeney Todd with Augusta Opera, Rigoletto and Candide with Toledo Opera, Sleuth, Beehive and Evita at the Maltz-Jupiter Theatre in Florida, Rigoletto with Palm Beach Opera, Il Trovatore with the Atlanta Opera, Tosca with Arizona Opera, and Faust with Madison Opera. In the 2007-2008 season, productions include the world premiere of David DiChiera and Bernard Uzan’s Cyrano with Michigan Opera Theatre and Opera Company of Philadelphia, as well as I Pagliacci for the Seattle Opera, and La Tragedie de Carmen for the Augusta Opera.

His next lighting productions include Carmen at Seattle Opera, Le nozze di Figaro with the Lyric Opera Baltimore, The Mikado at Opera Omaha, Tosca at Fort Worth Opera, and I Pagliacci with Michigan Opera Theatre.

Additional noted productions from recent seasons include La Fanciulla del West and Manon Lescaut at the Seattle Opera, Roméo et Juliette with Michigan Opera Theatre, Carmen with the Virginia Opera, Roméo et Juliette for Atlanta Opera, Le Nozze di Figaro for the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Cosi Fan Tutte for Opera Pacific, Aida and Madama Butterfly for Palm Beach Opera, and Faust with Virginia Opera, Toledo Opera, and Palm Beach Opera.

As frequent lighting designer with Florida Grand Opera, Mr. Thomas has designed productions of La Gioconda, Katya Kabanova, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Lucia di Lammermoor, and Cavalleria Rusticana/I Pagliacci. With L’Opera de Montreal he has designed Il Trovatore, Otello, Carmen, La Gioconda, Die Zauberflöte, and Le Nozze di Figaro. Starting in 1992, he has designed over 30 productions for the Baltimore Opera, including Les Pêcheurs des Perles, Norma and Falstaff and the Werner Herzog productions of Tannhauser and Die Zauberflöte. Among the 52 productions he designed for the Florentine Opera since 1985 are Porgy and Bess, Die Fledermaus, La Bohème, Hänsel und Gretel, Abduction from the Seraglio, Eugene Onegin, La Cenerentola, Die Walkure, Elektra, Rigoletto, Der Fliegende Hollander, Turandot, The Consul, The Pirates of Penzance, Carmen and La Fille du Regiment.

Mr. Thomas also works extensively in theater, having designed Alcazar de Paris on Broadway, Fiddler on the Roof for the Theatre Now National Tour, A Moon for the Misbegotten for American Repertory Theatre, Savages for Center Stage Theatre, and The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny for the Yale Repertory Theatre. For the Maltz-Jupiter Theatre in Florida he designed recent productions of Barefoot in the Park, Deathtrap, and Man of La Mancha. He will design their 2008 productions of The Full Monty and Master Class. Mr. Thomas has an MFA from the Yale School of Drama in lighting and scenic design. Examples his work can be seen at”

Join us for Opera Omaha’s production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado on Friday, April 13 at 7:30pm or Sunday, April 15 at 2:00pm to experience the set designed by Peter Dean Beck and the lighting designs of Donald Thomas. Visit or call 402-346-4398 to reserve your seats today!

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