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 Enriching. Entertaining. Local.

 

About the Nebraska Opera Project

The Nebraska Opera Project seeks to offer exciting performance opportunities to high school and college students as well as emerging and seasoned performers with connections to Nebrsaka. We are formerly known as the Omaha Opera Project, but have broadened our name in order to highlight our talented musicians who come from all over our wonderful state!

In collaboration with these artists we seek to produce creative, innovative and engaging performances in traditional and non-traditional settings alike. All performances are affordable and individuals of all ages are encouraged to attend.

 

Opera and classical music are where the greatest depths of human emotion are displayed and can be shared with everyone. Everyone can relate to opera and classical music. Let us show you how!

Check out our GoFundme Page!

If you are interested in making a contribution to our initiative, you may donate at: 

https://www.gofundme.com/2dqrnyc

 

To send light into the darkness of men's hearts-such is the duty of the artist.”  -Robert Schumann


Don't miss our Christmas Caroling event in the Old Market

Saturday, December 2nd from 5-8 pm

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We will begin at Dolce Ice Cream and Desserts and travel to restaurants and shops at the Old Market

See you there!

Join the NEbraska Opera Project

December 15th-17th

as we team up with the

Omaha Conservatory of Music

and

The Omaha Academy of Ballet

to bring you

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For more information and to Purchase tickets please go to http://www.omahacm.org/

Thank you to our Sponsors!

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Want to become a Sponsor for the Nebraska Opera Project? Donations are easy and tax-decuctible!

Email NEoperaproject@gmail.com for more information on Corporate and private Sponsorship

 

 

 

Meet the Cast of Amahl and the Night Visitors

 
Mary Carrick, Mezzo-Soprano, Playing the role of the Mother on Friday Dec. 15th and Sunday Dec. 17th Mary is delighted to make her debut with the Nebraska Opera Project. A familiar face and voice across the Omaha metro, she transitions between opera, musical theater, and cabaret. Recently, Mary originated the role of Old Catherine in the world-premiere of Stranger from Paradise, a collaboration between Opera Omaha and the Great Plains Theater Conference. Other Opera Omaha credits include Elle in the one-woman opera, La Voix Humaine, Giovanna in Rigoletto, and Gertrude in Hansel & Gretel. Mary has been seen at The Rose as Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music and Sour Kangaroo in Seussical: The Musical (Omaha Entertainment & Arts Award).  Several other area credits include My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra, Madame Flora in The Medium, Lady Thiang in The King and I, Jenny in Company, and Jessie in 'night, Mother.  Mary is a Touring Artist with the Nebraska Arts Council and performs as a solo artist across the Midwest in cabaret and concert settings. In 2014 she released her solo album Let’s Fly in 2014 featuring music by Cole Porter, Harold Arlen, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Craig Carnelia and other songwriters.  www.marycarrick.com

Mary Carrick, Mezzo-Soprano, Playing the role of the Mother on Friday Dec. 15th and Sunday Dec. 17th

Mary is delighted to make her debut with the Nebraska Opera Project. A familiar face and voice across the Omaha metro, she transitions between opera, musical theater, and cabaret. Recently, Mary originated the role of Old Catherine in the world-premiere of Stranger from Paradise, a collaboration between Opera Omaha and the Great Plains Theater Conference. Other Opera Omaha credits include Elle in the one-woman opera, La Voix Humaine, Giovanna in Rigoletto, and Gertrude in Hansel & Gretel. Mary has been seen at The Rose as Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music and Sour Kangaroo in Seussical: The Musical (Omaha Entertainment & Arts Award).  Several other area credits include My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra, Madame Flora in The Medium, Lady Thiang in The King and I, Jenny in Company, and Jessie in 'night, Mother.  Mary is a Touring Artist with the Nebraska Arts Council and performs as a solo artist across the Midwest in cabaret and concert settings. In 2014 she released her solo album Let’s Fly in 2014 featuring music by Cole Porter, Harold Arlen, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Craig Carnelia and other songwriters.  www.marycarrick.com

Elizabeth Joy Kelly is pleased to make her debut with the Nebraska Opera Project. In May of last year, Ms. Kelly joined Opera Omaha for the world premiere of Stranger from Paradise. During the month of July, she studied Gounod’s Juliette with the Utah Vocal Arts Academy. In October, Ms. Kelly performed with the Omaha Symphony for a week of educational outreach concerts featuring The Pizza Guy Identity. Ms. Kelly is excited to join in this collaboration of Amahl and the Night Visitors to share opera with a wider audience. Ms. Kelly is originally from Central Maine and holds a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Temple University (2010) and a Bachelor’s degree from Houghton College (2008) in both music and art.

Elizabeth Joy Kelly is pleased to make her debut with the Nebraska Opera Project. In May of last year, Ms. Kelly joined Opera Omaha for the world premiere of Stranger from Paradise. During the month of July, she studied Gounod’s Juliette with the Utah Vocal Arts Academy. In October, Ms. Kelly performed with the Omaha Symphony for a week of educational outreach concerts featuring The Pizza Guy Identity. Ms. Kelly is excited to join in this collaboration of Amahl and the Night Visitors to share opera with a wider audience. Ms. Kelly is originally from Central Maine and holds a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Temple University (2010) and a Bachelor’s degree from Houghton College (2008) in both music and art.

Michelle Monroe, Soprano, Playing the Role of Mother Saturday, December 16th  Michelle Monroe earned her Master of Music in Voice Performance from the University of Northern Iowa and her Bachelor of Music Education from Northern State University. Monroe is a dedicated teacher and versatile performer, appearing as soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah, Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with the Grinnell Oratorio Society as well as Haydn’s Theresienmesse with the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony. Her opera credits include Blanche (Dialogues des Carmélites), Mrs. Gleaton (Susannah), Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Die Knusperhexe (Hänsel und Gretel), Belinda (Dido and Aeneas), and in the monodrama Black Water by Jeremy Beck. Her Young Artist Programs include the Johanna Meier Opera Theater Institute, Music for Singers in Germany, Blooming Voce Summer Opera Workshop, and the Midwest Institute of Opera. While in Germany, she had the opportunity to perform with the Mittelsächsisches Theater in Freiberg, Germany and to study Hugo Wolf’s Mörike-Lieder. Monroe won first place in the South Dakota NATS competition in 2012 and was a finalist in the Iowa NATS competition in 2015 at the graduate level. She earned first place at the UNI Graduate Symposium two consecutive years for her research and performance of selections from Aaron Copland’s Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson and Jake Heggie’s Eve-Song. For her performance of Jake Heggie’s Eve-Song, one judge commented, “She truly committed to the emotional arc of the piece, her intonation was clear and beautiful. She... was truly engaging. She was easily the best performer of the evening.”

Michelle Monroe, Soprano, Playing the Role of Mother Saturday, December 16th 

Michelle Monroe earned her Master of Music in Voice Performance from the University of Northern Iowa and her Bachelor of Music Education from Northern State University. Monroe is a dedicated teacher and versatile performer, appearing as soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah, Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with the Grinnell Oratorio Society as well as Haydn’s Theresienmesse with the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony. Her opera credits include Blanche (Dialogues des Carmélites), Mrs. Gleaton (Susannah), Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Die Knusperhexe (Hänsel und Gretel), Belinda (Dido and Aeneas), and in the monodrama Black Water by Jeremy Beck.

Her Young Artist Programs include the Johanna Meier Opera Theater Institute, Music for Singers in Germany, Blooming Voce Summer Opera Workshop, and the Midwest Institute of Opera. While in Germany, she had the opportunity to perform with the Mittelsächsisches Theater in Freiberg, Germany and to study Hugo Wolf’s Mörike-Lieder.

Monroe won first place in the South Dakota NATS competition in 2012 and was a finalist in the Iowa NATS competition in 2015 at the graduate level. She earned first place at the UNI Graduate Symposium two consecutive years for her research and performance of selections from Aaron Copland’s Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson and Jake Heggie’s Eve-Song. For her performance of Jake Heggie’s Eve-Song, one judge commented, “She truly committed to the emotional arc of the piece, her intonation was clear and beautiful. She... was truly engaging. She was easily the best performer of the evening.”

Claire Donahoe (Amahl) has participated in music for several years. She was a member of the Archdiocesan Children's Choir from 2010 to 2016, and took part in plays at St. Cecilia's Elementary School. She has been active in theater and music at Duchesne Academy, where she is a junior. Claire has been in Duchesne's productions ofThe Tempest, As It Is In Heaven, Charlotte's Web, and had the title role of Charlie Brown in Duchesne's production of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown in the fall of 2016. Within the community, Claire has been a member of the UNO Bach Festival Honor Choir in 2017, the Nebraska Wesleyan Honor Choir in 2017, and is a member of the 2017 Nebraska All State Chorus. She currently studies under Mr. Stephen Bouma, and is a member of Duchesne's Sacre' Chorus, String Ensemble, and Handbell Choir. Claire is also a cantor at her parish, St. Cecilia's Cathedral. After being a part of Nebraska Opera Project's Suor Angelica in 2016, she looks forward to the upcoming production of Amahl and The Night Visitors!

Claire Donahoe (Amahl) has participated in music for several years. She was a member of the Archdiocesan Children's Choir from 2010 to 2016, and took part in plays at St. Cecilia's Elementary School. She has been active in theater and music at Duchesne Academy, where she is a junior. Claire has been in Duchesne's productions ofThe TempestAs It Is In HeavenCharlotte's Web, and had the title role of Charlie Brown in Duchesne's production of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown in the fall of 2016. Within the community, Claire has been a member of the UNO Bach Festival Honor Choir in 2017, the Nebraska Wesleyan Honor Choir in 2017, and is a member of the 2017 Nebraska All State Chorus. She currently studies under Mr. Stephen Bouma, and is a member of Duchesne's Sacre' Chorus, String Ensemble, and Handbell Choir. Claire is also a cantor at her parish, St. Cecilia's Cathedral. After being a part of Nebraska Opera Project's Suor Angelica in 2016, she looks forward to the upcoming production of Amahl and The Night Visitors!

Matt Willkom is producer and co-host of Spirit Mornings on Spirit 102.7 FM (spiritcatholicradio.com), where he enjoys a wide spectrum of roles, from delivering the news, to creating pop music parodies. He is a cantor at several area churches, specializing in Gregorian Chant and English plainchant. Matt had the privilege of travelling throughout Ireland as part of the University of St. Thomas Liturgical Choir (St. Paul, MN), and enjoys, whenever possible, incorporating Irish pub songs on the guitar when emceeing an event. His stage experience includes principal roles in several musicals, such as Lancelot (Camelot), Marcellus Washburn (The Music Man), and Mr. Applegate (Damn Yankees). Matt is pleased to be making his debut with the Nebraska Opera Project.

Matt Willkom is producer and co-host of Spirit Mornings on Spirit 102.7 FM (spiritcatholicradio.com), where he enjoys a wide spectrum of roles, from delivering the news, to creating pop music parodies. He is a cantor at several area churches, specializing in Gregorian Chant and English plainchant. Matt had the privilege of travelling throughout Ireland as part of the University of St. Thomas Liturgical Choir (St. Paul, MN), and enjoys, whenever possible, incorporating Irish pub songs on the guitar when emceeing an event. His stage experience includes principal roles in several musicals, such as Lancelot (Camelot), Marcellus Washburn (The Music Man), and Mr. Applegate (Damn Yankees). Matt is pleased to be making his debut with the Nebraska Opera Project.

 

 Auditions are currently closed please email us at NEoperaproject@gmail.com for any inqueries regarding auditions

 

Ever wonder...

 

What is an opera singer?

How do they learn to sing like that?

Are all opera singers sopranos?

Why Would someone choose to learn to sing opera?

 

Well, you are not alone! And we are here to answer these and many more questions for you.

 

Modern day opera singers are somewhat misunderstood. If you ask someone what image they most associate with opera or an opera singer they will most likely say, "a fat lady with horns singing so high and loudly that she can break a glass", right? (Be honest). Here are some answers to your burning "opera questions":

What Kind of Education and training do opera singers RECEIVE?

Opera singers are regular people who choose to study classical voice and at some point develop an interest in opera in particular for a plethora of reasons. After deciding to study opera, a singer will apply and audition for a college which offers a degree path in Vocal Performance. While studying for a degree in Vocal Performance, singers study: comprehensive music theory, comprehensive music history, foreign languages (Italian, German and French are typically mandatory), foreign language diction (not only the language itself but HOW to pronounce the languages properly), acting, vocal music literature, vocal pedagogy (how the voice works and how to teach it to others) piano as well as various other "typical" studies including English, Math and Social Sciences courses. Not all opera singers have Vocal Performance degrees though many do.

Upon completion of an Undergraduate degree in Vocal Music Performance, a singer will then apply for a Graduate Vocal Music program. Many Graduate Vocal Music programs are highly competitive. While studying for a graduate degree, singers focus intensely on performing and/or teaching. During Undergraduate and Graduate programs, singers typically take part in intensive study programs called Young Artist Programs. Many singers take part in many paid and unpaid Young Artist Programs through the course of their Young Artist careers (typically between the ages of 20-30). Young Artist Programs may take place in the summer or be year-long or multi-year long Artist-in-Residence engagements. Upon completion of Graduate programs and Young Artist Programs singers are usually ready to pursue a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree or to begin auditioning for artist managers, regional or larger opera houses throughout the nation and abroad.

Do opera singers sing loudly because they are big people?

Thanks in part to the introduction of the MET in HD performances (Metropolitan Opera Performances broadcast live in movie theaters throughout the nation) there has been an increased pressure for opera singers to be slim and attractive. However this is not necessarily a modern idea. We have many writings from composers such as Mozart and music critics and reviewers of the past who have pointed out the physical beauty of many male and female opera singers as one of their greatest attributes. 

Opera singers come in all shapes and sizes just like any other professional. The SIZE of a voice is not necessarily determined but the SIZE of the person but rather how the singer uses their voice. Much of the technical education of an opera singer involves the singer learning how to use their body or parts of it to help increase it's ability to resonate well. James McKinney defines vocal resonance as "the process by which the basic product of phonation is enhanced in timbre and/or intensity by the air-filled cavities through which it passes on its way to the outside air." (source: McKinney, James (1994) The Diagnosis and Correction of Vocal Faults, Nashville, TN: Genovex Music Group).

That got a little technical. Just know that an opera singer's voice has less to do with how they look and are built and more to do than with how they have learned to use their voice.

do all opera singers sing high notes?

Not really. Due to their technical expertise, many opera singers have extended upper and lower ranges which allow them to access notes most other people can not reach and some only dogs can hear (just kidding). But there are many different types of voices in operas. Most voices are classified using the German fach system (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fach for more in depth information). The fach system uses four main categories to describe operatic voices with MANY subcategories which help to more narrowly define voices. The four main fachs are: Soprano and Mezzo-Soprano for female voices and Tenor and Baritone for male voices. Again these are the main four categories but there are many others as well as hybrid voices. In a nutshell Soprano and Tenor voices are the higher voices and Mezzo-Soprano and Baritone voices are lower. 

Why would someone choose to become an opera singer? Isn't it a dying art?

The only real answer to this is because they love it and they connect with it. Many people think they do not like opera but often times that is because they have not been exposed to it or maybe have not really learned much about it. Which makes sense. Opera is not necessarily widely accessible in today's society. Youtube and many online resources have helped a great deal but with the increase of internet access to opera and other classical media there has been a decrease in attendance of live operatic and classical music performances. Many times people are afraid to approach opera because they think they will not understand it because it is often in a foreign language (though not always) without knowing that most performances will have English subtitles or sur-titles running while the performers are singing in an alternate language AND/OR there will be a detailed synopsis to accompany the performance. People may shy away from opera because they think they may be long and boring. Some are. Just like some movies are very long and boring but most are so relatable and applicable to even our modern lives they fly by like an instant. Our modern minds are used to being able to pause things, we're used to being able to get up and walk around, we're used to doing multiple things at one time. It can be hard to sit quietly and focus and really think about what the composer and or performers are trying to communicate with you. Even the PERFORMERS will admit that. We can lay partial blame on our culture at large for this.

But opera isn't dying. It's changing. Performers and directors of opera and opera houses alike are learning that audiences are changing so they may have to also. Here at the Omaha Opera Project, we not only recognize that but are passionate about that. We love that we have the opportunity to take part in this evolution and can not wait to help our audiences through it as well.

 

A Big Thank You to Marian High School

For making our first show, Puccini's Suor Angelica, a huge success! See photos from the performance below.

Get Involved!

 

The Nebraska Opera Project is always in need of your help! Advertising materials, advertising material distribution, costume alterations, office supplies, Professional Performer home-stays, financial assistance and more! Please email us neoperaproject@gmail.com or connect with us on Facebook to find out how YOU or someone you know can be a part of The Project.

 

Would you like to help us financially? Please check out our GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/2dqrnyc 

 

Having a party? Need some entertainment? In return for a generous donation to the Nebraska Opera Project, we will provide singers and accompanist for your event. Bring the Nebrasla Opera Project into your home or office for an exciting musical experience! Please call or email us today to make a donation and schedule an event.

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Contact us:

Kathryn Bisanti, General Manager

phone: (515) 210-4397       email: NEoperaproject@gmail.com

 

Lauren Henderson-Turner, Artistic Director

phone: (402)301-1298        email: NEoperaproject@gmail.com

 

Find us on Facebook as well!