Opera Omaha Will Present Contemporary Tragicomedy, “Flight.”


April 21st, 2017

Opera Omaha will show Flight, directed by James Darrah, Friday, April 21 and Sunday, April 23.

Flight tells the story of a diverse bunch of travelers trapped in an airport during inclement weather. A couple sorts out their relationship while flight attendants engage in a romantic tryst. All of their narratives are tied together by the story of a refugee living in the terminal of the airport, played by internationally performing countertenor Nicholas Tamagna.

Tamagna talked about his role as the trapped refugee.

“My character is sort of the catalyst throughout the opera for the other characters to sort of discover what it is that they want, what it is they’re striving for, where they are journeying to, which is sort of the general theme of the opera,” Tamagna said. “Everyone is stuck in this place where they’re supposed to be able to go from there to their next destination, whatever it is, they’re their dreams to be with the person they love or to rekindle their marriage or to figure out what they want in this next phase of their life.”

Composed by John Dove, Flight is loosely based on the real story of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, the Iranian refugee who, due to political complications, lived in the Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport for almost 20 years—the same story inspired Steven Spielberg’s film, The Terminal. The refugee’s origin is ambiguous in Flight, but the plot of the 1998 opera resonates today.

According to Tamagna, Flight brings unique rhythms and harmonies to the stage.

“The piece does reference lots of different composers, but it also has its own unique style,” Tamagna said. I think that Jonathan Dove has his own sound. We hear things in it that reference other styles of music or different composers. I certainly hear a lot of Sondheim and Bernstein and there’s moments that feel a little bit French. There’s moments that feel almost G.N.S.”

“There’s the odd little corners in it that kind of reminds you of different things but it definitely hangs on a very specific thing which is doves own unique sort of harmonic language and rhythmic language what I think makes it sound very contemporary is that he uses a lot of rhythms that are sort of akin to dance.”

Tamagna also spoke on what he believes to be the themes of Flight.

“I’d have to say this is a piece about human connection and having that idea of marrying music with human connection,” Tamagna said. “And the idea of what people want in their life and what they’re striving for and what’s real and what isn’t to them and then also this concept of the outsider, which is very much who I am. I think it’s very topical right now.”

Opera Omaha will also host informative “Prelude Talks” just before each performance, giving guests an overview of the music, story, and history of Flight.

For more information about Flight, showing April 21 and 23, and the accompanying prelude talks, visit operaomaha.org.


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