Billings Opera Stars August 2001
Opera lovers have treat in store
CHRISTENE MEYERS Gazette Arts & Entertainment
Editor | Posted: Thursday, July 19, 2001 11:00 pm
A Billings connection is the common bond that
unites a group of singers from all over the country
and Europe. They are returning next month to produce
a benefit for Rimrock Opera Company.
Alberta Bair Theater will be the scene as 14
professional singers, all native sons and daughters,
will perform an evening of arias and ensembles from
The 8 p.m. show is Saturday,
Aug. 4, and company executive director Douglas Nagel
says it will be a winning evening, start to finish.
Nagel, just back in Billings to help rehearse
the ensemble, says the region has produced an
amazing number of singers who have gone on to
They are returning to the
Magic City to rehearse an opera lover’s potpourri –
favorite arias and ensemble pieces from such famous
operas as “The Merry Widow,” “Tosca,” “Carmen,” “Lakme,”
“The Magic Flute,” “La Boheme,” “The Pearl Fishers,”
“Samson and Dalila,” and more.
will feature the range of internationally known and
regional opera performers. Besides Nagel, who will
also wear his performer’s cap, are Michelle Berger
Johner, Cassandra Norville, Lois Bent, Robert Orth,
and Kiel Klaphake. Other stars performing are Ed
Harris, Anita Rawlinson, Alissa Rose, Leonard Orth,
Leslie Jorden, David Barnett, Heather Gottschalk,
and Dale Orth.
Lloyd Mickelson, past
president of the Rimrock Opera Company, says, “We
hope the Billings community will come out to support
these artists who have a Billings connection and
pursued their interest in opera, many on a grand
Opera singers offer stellar selections
CHRISTENE MEYERS Gazette Arts & Entertainment Editor
| Posted: Thursday, August 2, 2001 11:00 pm
This Saturday night marks a red-letter day for opera
in Billings. Opera fans will hear past hits and
future sure-fire favorites.
The Aug. 4, 8
p.m. opera fest at the Alberta Bair Theater features
“The Billings Opera Stars”
features 14 people, returning to their native
Billings for an evening of arias and ensembles from
favorite operas, including upcoming Rimrock Opera
Company productions slated for the next few
Listeners will hear cuts
from “The Merry Widow,” “Tosca,” “Carmen,” “Lakme,”
“The Magic Flute,” “La Boheme,” “The Pearl Fishers”
The evening will feature company
artistic director Douglas Nagel singing a bit and
doing emcee duties with broadcaster Lynne Turner
Fitzgerald assisting. Pianists Sandi Rabas and Jane
Orth will accompany.
“We’re proud to kick off
the 2001 season with this evening,” Nagel said.
“Then we follow with ‘The Merry Widow’." Next year,
“Carmen” and “Tosca” are on tap.
Nagel, the singers are Michelle Berger Johner, Anita
Rawlinson, Robert Orth, Cassandra Norville, Lois
Bent, Kiel Klaphake, Alissa Rose, Leonard Orth,
David Barnett, Heather Gottschalk, Ed Harris, Lesley
Jorden and Dale Orth.
The list of credits is
impressive as the cast assembles from various points
around the globe. Here are highlights:
Rose is studying at the Hochschule fur Musick,
Mezzo-soprano Berger Johner,
who lives in Switzerland, has been contracted to
sing Carmen in the ROC’s production of Carmen in
2002. She is widely known in Europe.
Mezzo-soprano Bent has studied with John Churchwell
of the Metropolitan Opera.
recently returned to New York after performing on
many European stages.
Baritone Nagel is
remembered for his performance of Dr. Bartolo in the
ROC’s first production of “The Barber of Seville.”
Baritone Harris is a long-time music director,
teacher, arranger, composer in Billings. He has been
both a soloist and narrator.
Rawlinson sang the role of Berta in the ROC’s
production of “The Barber of Seville” and will be
featured in the upcoming ROC production of The Merry
Baritone Leonard Orth portrayed the
role of Prince Yamadori in ROC’s production of “Madama
Baritone Robert Orth has sung
with major opera companies including New York City,
San Francisco, Chicago, Toronto, Washington D.C.,
Houston, Seattle, Los Angeles and Denver. He lives
Tenor Barnett is the director of
the Billings Symphony Chovale. He directed and sang
in choruses for the ROC’s productions of “The Barber
of Seville” and “Madama Butterfly.”
Jordan has sung are Nedda in “I Pagliacci,”
Marcelina in “Fidelia,” Zerlina in “Don Giovanni”
and Pamina in “The Magic Flute.”
Gottschalf has studied in Vienna and sung the role
of Flora in “La Traviata” with the Intermountain
Opera of Bozeman.
Tenor Klaphake has recently
returned to the U.S.A after performing Raoul,
Viconte de Chagny, in the Hal Prince production of
the “Phantom of the Opera” in Hamburg, Germany.
Baritone Dale Orth was last seen in the Billings
Studio Theatre’s production of “The Medium.” He is a
member of the Billings Repertoire Singers.
©2000-2011 Rimrock Opera Company. All