Opera Omaha’s new leader opens new season

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October 13th, 2011

Omaha, NE – This weekend is packed full of great events for both those curious about opera and the opera connoisseur. Opera Omaha also has a new face at the helm.

The new General Director of Opera Omaha is Omaha native Roger Weitz. He graduated from Westside Highschool and attended Carlton College in Minnesota. It was there that he discovered opera.

Roger Weitz took the helm of Opera Omaha in August. (Photo courtesy Opera Omaha)

“Growing up, music had always been a part of my life,” he said. “I sang in choirs, and I took piano lessons and always wanted to pursue music as a hobby, but had never imagined that I would actually pursue music as a career as well.”

In college, Weitz studied voice and said he began to appreciate the song repertoire in opera. “I knew that I did not want to be a professional singer, but decided that if I could work in opera without being a professional singer, that’s what I wanted to do.”

Weitz then began working for Chicago Opera Theatre, eventually becoming General Manager. When he heard about the opening at Opera Omaha, he jumped at the chance to return to his hometown. When he took over this summer, Weitz discovered that, in his absence, the arts scene in Omaha experienced a huge revival. “It had like a big explosion in interest in the arts.”

Opera Omaha opens its season this Saturday at 7:30pm in the Orpheum Theater. The first show is called This is Opera, a staged event emceed by Kaneko Executive Director Hal France and featuring highlights from 17 different operas. This sampler has something for everyone, from Verdi and Puccini to Strauss and Sullivan.

Opera Omaha opens the 2011-2012 season with a "sampler" performance from 17 different operas.

“It’s going to be wonderful for people who already know and love opera,” Weitz said, “but it’ll also be great for people who are not familiar with opera. It’ll be a great way to sample what there is out there. And in an evening that clocks under two hours, it could be a very interesting and safe way to give opera a try.”

For those opera lovers who just can’t get enough, earlier in that day is the season premiere of the Metropolitan Opera, live in HD. Donizetti’s Anna Bolena will show live at noon at Film Streams, Village Pointe Theater, and AMC Oakview 24 Theater.

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