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Opera Omaha Announces Third Annual ONE FESTIVAL

Opera Omaha Announces Third Annual ONE FESTIVAL

Opera Omaha announces its third annual ONE FESTIVAL. The ONE Festival is a place for wild dreams, wilder execution, and exploration of those ideas on a grand scale. Programming is driven by the artists, not the executives. With an emphasis on experimentation and new work-yet not tethered to premieres-ONE fosters an environment that encourages and celebrates bold risks and transformative storytelling. At a glance, one might assume this is happening in NYC or LA; but this opera hothouse sizzles in the dead center of our country, far from the coasts.

Led by Opera Omaha General Director Roger Weitz and ONE Festival Artistic Director James Darrah, ONE enters its third year in 2020. This spring, the Festival reinvents the understanding of familiar characters such as Salome, John the Baptist and Romeo and Juliet, but also delves into new realms of cinema, poetry, costume design and interactive, participatory music-making. Mr. Weitz says, "ONE Festival explores what an opera company can be in the 21st century."

A curated group of interdisciplinary, world-class artists descends upon Omaha for five intense weeks (the final two which are the Festival), where they are provided time, space, and resources to collaboratively create opera-and push opera into other forms. They are let loose in Omaha's culturally vibrant city, often in unexpected venues, where they directly engage with the community and local partners-who in return embrace the excitement of this creative energy.

ONE Festival is already having an impact. Its 2018 new production of Proving Up by Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek went on to NY's Miller Theatre and was followed by news that the Met Opera would commission Mazzoli. ONE's 2019 debut of Playground-an operatic and interactive sound sculpture by composer Ellen Reid and poet Zackary Drucker-is now enjoying life in galleries and museums around the country (Reid won the Pulitzer the last day of her ONE residency, and soon after won the Music Critics Association of North America's Award for Best New Opera). Past highlights include works by a range of artists including Philip Glass, R.B. Schlather, Anne Sexton, Charles Gounod, G.F. Handel, Kate Bush, John Adams, Luigi Cherubini, and Pauline Oliveros.

The Festival

(* ONE Festival debut)


(San Giovanni Battista)


New Production and Company Premiere
Music by Alessandro Stradella
Libretto by Girardo Ansaldi
Performed in Italian with English supertitles

March 25, 27 & April 5, 7:30pm
March 29 & April 4, 2pm

Midco Glass Building
1141 N. 11th Street

Tickets: $60 (general admission)

A dramatic and emotionally vivid telling of the final days of John the Baptist, this new production follows the saga of a spiritual leader reduced to a pawn in a lustful and deadly bargain between King Herod and his own stepdaughter Salome. Through the prism of these ancient characters, maverick director Christopher Alden asks a modern audience to explore the eternal tension in power dynamics between men and women in a unique found space with bold direction and contemporary design. Conductor and GRAMMY Award-winning early music specialist Stephen Stubbs (2014 Agrippina, 2016 Semele) returns to Opera Omaha to lead a stellar cast featuring the company debuts of countertenor Randall Scotting and soprano Liv Redpath, as well as the return of bass Andrew Harris (2018 Proving Up).

Conductor | Stephen Stubbs
Director | Christopher Alden
Scenic and Costume Designer | Marsha Ginsberg*
Lighting Designer | Amith Chandrashaker
Hair & Makeup Designer | Ronell Oliveri

Salome | Liv Redpath*
Herod | Andrew Harris
San Giovanni | Randall Scotting*
Consigliere | Chad Johnson
Herodiade | Heather Buck*

St. John The Baptist Prelude Recording - Available online March 18
This 20-minute recorded interview with Christopher Alden, and Stephen Stubbs gives the audience insight into the opera they are about to experience with information about the story, music, history and more. Visit to listen.

Talkback - April 4
A post-show discussion with cast and creative team members exploring themes and topics of this new production of St. John the Baptist.


(I Capuleti e i Montecchi)

New Production and Company Premiere
Music by Vincenzo Bellini
Libretto by Felice Romani
Performed in Italian with English supertitles

April 3, 7:30pm & April 5, 2pm

Orpheum Theater
409 S. 16th Street

Tickets: start at $19

Bellini's Bel Canto masterpiece is a seldom-seen telling of Romeo and Juliet, the infamous "star-crossed lovers" engulfed by rival political factions on the brink of war. Most commonly known through Shakespeare but inspired here from writings of the Italian Renaissance, I Capuleti gives thrilling voice to one of the world's most overwhelming and vital love stories. This new production by ONE Festival Artistic Director James Darrah is a dark and visually rich exploration of love and loss illuminated by a powerful ensemble of world-class artists, designers and dancers, including the return of soprano Andriana Chuchman (2015 A Flowering Tree, 2017 Flight) as Juliet. True to Bellini's original score, Romeo is performed by a mezzo soprano, the acclaimed Daniela Mack in her festival debut.

Conductor | Christopher Allen*
Director and Choreographer | James Darrah
Scenic Designer | Yuki Izumihara
Projection Designer | Adam Larsen
Costume Designer | Charles Neumann*
Lighting Designer | Pablo Santiago
Hair & Makeup Designer | Ronell Oliveri

Giulietta | Andriana Chuchman
Romeo | Daniela Mack
Tebaldo | Jesus Garcia
Capellio | Jeffrey Beruan*
Lorenzo | Matthew Burns
Dancers and Co-Choreographers | Lindsey Matheis and Sam Shapiro


Created by Mattie Ullrich

March 20, 29, and April 2, 7:30pm
March 21 & 28, 2pm

The Union for Contemporary Art
2423 N. 24th Street

Tickets: $25 General Admission

A unique blend of opera and installation art, MTHR/WMN is an original theatric creation devised for all ages. Utilizing the cast and creative team's personal stories, history and life experience, this premiere work journals the metamorphosis from womanhood to motherhood while exploring themes of modern childhood and the battle to teach our children restraint in technology-even while we continue to gorge.

ONE invites the public to directly participate in this world premiere experience from the mind of costume designer Mattie Ullrich. Participants are encouraged to rethink the idea of perfection while joining in a "craft hour" prior to the performance, taking apart and reconstructing toys to be used in the production design. Featuring original music from returning percussionist and composer Clara Warnaar, Ullrich (2017 Flight) devises a tactical art and music experience not to be missed.

Creator and Designer | Mattie Ullrich
Composer and Music Director | Clara Warnaar
Choreographer and Dancer | Lindsey Matheis

Soloist | Cecilia Violetta López
Soloist | Kate Pomrenke
Soloist | Kaitlin Zardetto



March 26 & 28, 7pm
March 29 & April 4, 5pm

Film Streams, Ruth Sokolof Theater
1340 Mike Fahey Street

Tickets: $30 General Admission

ONE's hit cinematheque-style series continues this year with its commitment to the ongoing exploration of cinema and its possibilities within the operatic form. CINEsound 2020 launches as a live musical and cinematic experience, featuring a series of shorts that highlight composers Philip Glass, Missy Mazzoli, Ellen Reid and Jimmy Lopez and illuminate the collision of opera and dance through film.

Each program features a live performance with violinist Jennifer Koh or countertenor John Holiday in special guest festival debut appearances. This uniquely curated cinema experience promises an exciting merger of new compositions, sounds, dance, and live film scoring by taking the audience through a prismatic odyssey of operatic short films and world premiere music videos.
Recognized for intense, commanding performances, delivered with dazzling virtuosity and technical assurance, superstar violinist Jennifer Koh makes her ONE Festival debut with a live performance of Missy Mazzoli's GRAMMY-nominated "Vespers for Violin" alongside the premiere of a special Director's Cut of VESPERS, the "enigmatic twist" (NPR) of the work's striking short film.

One of the opera world's fastest rising stars, countertenor John Holiday performs "Lumee's Dream" from Ellen Reid's 2019 Pulitzer Prize-winning opera p r i s m live, accompanying the piece's world premiere music video, directed and photographed by James Darrah in a special collaboration with Los Angeles Opera.


Director | Kevin Newbury
Composer | Jimmy Lopez
Production Designer | Vita Tzykun


Director | Mark Romanek
Composer | Philip Glass
Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo
Dancer Ron Myles


Director and Cinematographer | Michael Elias Thomas
Cast | Anthony Sorrells, Mark Wax


(Director's Cut Premiere)
Music by Missy Mazzoli
Director and Designer | James Darrah
Cinematography and editing | Adam Larsen
Live performance by violinist Jennifer Koh on March 26 & 28


(World Premiere)
Music by Ellen Reid
Text by Roxie Perkins
Direction and Cinematography | James Darrah
Editing | Adam Larsen
Live performance by countertenor John Holiday March 29 and April 4


Curated by Ross Karre and the International Contemporary Ensemble


Musicians from two world-class ensembles converge in Omaha to blend the traditional and contemporary and transform the way music is created and experienced with hands-on participation. Members from International Contemporary Ensemble return to their ONE residency with two revolutionary events: Collective Reverberations, a free, roaming sound exploration in multiple spaces at the Durham Museum inspired by the history of Omaha's historic Grand Central Station; and Cover Motets, a surprising reboot of classic baroque compositions that combines early music specialists from Seattle's Pacific MusicWorks with the new music dexterity of the International Contemporary Ensemble.

Musicians from the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) return to Omaha to present two evolutionary concerts, transforming the way music is created and experienced.


March 22, 1pm
Durham Museum
801 S. 10th Street

Free Admission
A family-friendly and free sound exploration about site-adaptation in Omaha's own historic Grand Central Station, featuring works by Phyllis Chen and Nathan Davis. Participants choose their own musical adventure in the full rich surroundings of the stunning Durham Museum as they encounter surprising performances and artists hidden throughout train cars, secret exhibits, and hands-on inclusion with the creation of one's own compositions in the Durham's stunning lobby.


March 24, 7:30pm
Witherspoon Hall at Joslyn Art Museum
2200 Dodge Street

Tickets: $35

Cover Motets takes the traditional song form of the motet and blends it with modern sensibilities of contemporary remixes and cover songs. An irreverent and exciting program of shifting baroque compositions and transformations, members from International Contemporary Ensemble and Pacific MusicWorks invite audiences to experience a visionary musical exploration of the classics as these two ensembles artistically collide and experiment at the beautiful Joslyn Art Museum. Featuring soprano Liv Redpath as guest performer.


Enhance the ONE Festival experience with this series of free concerts and events designed to open one's mind to opera and spark curiosity as one explores the multi-faceted dimensions of the creative life of the festival.


March 3, 10 & 17
Le Bouillon

Opera in Conversation features three sessions in advance of ONE Festival's productions, highlighting creatives, scholars, and other public figures that foster cross-disciplinary explorations of artists, big questions, and concepts in the ONE Festival.


March 20 | St. John the Baptist | Opera Omaha Event Space
March 27 | The Capulets and the Montagues | Opera Omaha Event Space

Curious about the operas? Unsure of what to expect? Stop by during lunch hour to get a quick taste of the story and live music, and open your mind to opera with some behind-the-scenes insight into the upcoming production from the creative team.


arch 21 & 27
Archetype Little Bohemia

ONE's popular evening sessions with its friends at Archetype Coffee in Little Bohemia return in an entirely new format, bringing more of the musical artists of the festival together with unexpected compositions and sound explorations highlighting the virtuosity of its artists-in-residence over shared drinks and conversation.


March 26
Buffet Cancer Center

ONE Festival Artist Cecilia Violetta López will perform a free concert for patients, families, staff, students, and the general public, highlighting ONE Festival programming. In partnership with UNMC Nebraska Medicine's Healing Arts Program.


March 31

This workshop production examines Shakespeare's greatest love story, Romeo and Juliet. Using a Juno's Swans all-female cast, while keeping the traditional character gender assignments intact, the performance will investigate those who dare to love in a world deeply entrenched in hate, discrimination, and senseless violence. An abbreviated exploration of the play, this unique physical reading will engage the audience in active discussion about identity and the human experience throughout the story. Inspired by the gender bending The Capulets and the Montagues, this dynamic event will bring a new perspective to the classic star-crossed lovers.

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