In solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement,

Opera Omaha curators Melanie Bacaling and Chabrelle Williams introduced a new series, Amplifying the Black Experience (A.Bl.E.) in 2020. The series seeks to honor, celebrate, and bring awareness to the multifaceted stories of the Black community.

A.Bl.E. launched last October with the digital premiere of dwb (driving while black), co-presented by Opera Omaha and Baruch Performing Arts. The screening was enhanced with a community panel discussing, “Black American Truths,” facilitated by Chabrelle Williams. This series will continue with new digital offerings in the new year, including the music video premiere of “Hold Fast to Dreams”, streaming late January.

Black American Truths

Streamed live on Oct 26, 2020

Can't view the video? Watch on YouTube

“Hold Fast to Dreams”

Can't view the video? Watch on YouTube

The future is bright with possibilities. We are resilient, we are brilliant, we are our dreams.
-Melanie Bacaling and Chabrelle Williams, A.Bl.E. co-curators.


Melanie Bacaling

Originally from Chicago, IL, Melanie Bacaling (sher/her) is an active director, stage manager, and producer in the opera industry. She is currently Boston Lyric Opera’s Production and Digital Content Associate and the Co-Curator and Line Producer for Opera Omaha’s Amplifying the Black Experience series. She was named an Emerging Artist, Director for Boston Lyric Opera’s 18/19 and 19/20 seasons. Boston Lyric Opera also appointed Ms. Bacaling as the Company Intimacy Advocate, where she is developing protocols for consent-based practices in the opera rehearsal room. Ms. Bacaling has held production engagements with Santa Fe Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera Omaha, Washington Concert Opera, Aspen Opera Center, Sun Valley Music Festival, The Boston Conservatory, and Longy School of Music. Her upcoming engagements include joining the staging staff at LA Opera for the Fall 2021 season. Recently, she produced We Need to Listen, a series of conversations highlighting the racial inequities that exist in classical music and opera, and she curated and produced a podcast for BLO called at its (s)core, which seeks to delve into the inner workings of the opera industry and highlight voices of the BIPOC and LGBTQIA communities. Also a vocalist and pedagogue, Ms. Bacaling holds a MM in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from the Boston Conservatory.

Chabrelle Williams

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Soprano Chabrelle Williams is not only a dynamic presence on the stage, but also a civically minded artist offstage. Before taking on this role as a co-curator for Opera Omaha, she was one of their first Holland Community Opera Fellows. Her musical range scales from opera to gospel and her talents have taken her to both National and International venues. In addition to opera, Chabrelle also enjoys the more intimate experience of performing oratorio and art song. Some highlights in her performing career include: the soprano solo in Verdi's Requiem with Citymusic Cleveland, Sadie Donastrag Griffith/Cousin Blanche in Champion by Terence Blanchard, the title role in Puccini’s Suor Angelica, Elle in La voix humaine, La Contessa in Le Nozze di Figaro, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni and Fiordiligi in Cosi fan tutte.

Most recently, Chabrelle performed the role of Marina in Katie the Strongest of the Strong with the HGOCo: Opera To Go! series. Chabrelle looks forward to premiering the role of Esther in Ricky Ian Gordon and Lynn Nottage's new opera Intimate Apparel in the Fall of 2021!