Poster Design by Melanie
Fabrizius -- Graphic Designer Billings Gazette
Photo: LARRY MAYER/Gazette Staff
Performers in the current Rimrock Opera "Cosi" sing for students in Amy
Logan's chorus class at Skyview High School Wednesday afternoon. The opera
singers are, from left, Curt Olds, Dennis Rupp and Adam Flowers.
Performances are March 23 and 24 at the Alberta Bair Theater.
For more of this story, click
The Cast for Così fan tutte (Women
Conductor (Directs the music of the opera)
Artistic Director of Sacramento Opera, CA
Director/Producer (Directs the action on the stage)
Douglas Nagel of
Fiordiligi (Soprano), Ladies of Ferrara and sisters living in
of Billings, MT
Diedra Walker of
Guglielmo (Baritone), Officer, in love with Fiordiligi
formerly of Montana, living in New York City
Ferrando (Tenor), Officer, in love with Dorabella
Adam Flowers of
San Francisco, CA
Despina (Soprano), Chambermaid of the ladies
Amy Logan of
Don Alfonso (Bass), an old Philosopher
Dennis Rupp of
Local performers joining international
vocalists has become a mainstay of Rimrock Opera stagings
Homegrown talents thrive in Rimrock Opera
JACI WEBB Of The Gazette Staff | Posted: Thursday, March 15,
2007 11:00 pm
In the second act of the
Rimrock Opera Company's production of "Cosi fan tutte," a Butte
native and a Lander, Wyo., veterinarian's assistant, croon the
loveliest of Mozart duets.
It's a treat for opera fans
because it's one of the sweetest moments in the opera and these
two fine vocalists nailed every note in a rehearsal earlier this
week. But what makes the scene even more amazing is something
we've all come to expect from the ROC - its knack for showcasing
international vocalists as well as local performers. And, in
some instances, they are one in the same.
Olds, who grew up in Butte, is playing Guglielmo, one of the
leading roles in the Italian opera "Cosi fan tutte," which
roughly translates to "Women are Fickle." He is one of the rare
vocalists who successfully performs in both opera and stage
musicals. He has toured with the New York City Opera and
performed on Broadway in "Riverdance" during his career. Yet
every time he prepares for a role, he said it's different
because of the vocalists he is paired with.
what your experience level is, you have to find a balance," Olds
A bus-load of friends, family and opera fans will
travel from Butte to see Olds perform next week at the Alberta
"This is a good opera to see because Mozart
achieves perfection in writing," Olds said.
Walker makes her stage debut as a leading lady in her role as
Dorabella, the woman Guglielmo falls for in the second act. The
two of them have some stage chemistry despite the fact that they
met just days ago when they started full-cast rehearsals at West
Walker, who works as a veterinary assistant
in Lander, Wyo., has studied under her famous opera-singing
father, John Walker. After being a guest soloist in last
spring's ROC production of "Die Fledermaus," Walker landed a
role in "The Night Harry Stopped Smoking," performing in more
than 90 shows of the touring school production.
entire cast has been rehearsing their music on their own - some,
like Billings native Lisa Lombardy for 10 months - to prepare
for this production. It's up to artistic director Douglas Nagel
and music director and conductor Timm Rolek to find vocalists
who not only fit the physical description of their roles, but
who will sound good together.
Rolek, who has been involved in
two previous ROC operas, said the duet shows the two are perfect
together for their roles. And, he said, the music, specifically
their duet, is some of the most beautiful ever written by
"And the comedy in the music is just infectious,"
said Rolek, who is artistic director of the Sacramento Opera.
Nagel starts looking for vocalists sometimes years before
they actually perform with the ROC. And, many times, as in the
case of bass Dennis Rupp, who plays Don Alfonso, once they
perform with the ROC in Billings, they keep coming back.
Rupp has performed in several ROC operas, including the world
premiere of "Nosferatu."
"They asked me to come for 'Nosferatu,'
now they can't get rid of me," Rupp said.
Tenor Adam Flowers
is making his debut with the ROC as Ferrando, a role he
performed six years ago with Opera San Jose. He said the role is
challenging because of its high tenor notes, but once he's in
it, it makes all the extra effort worthwhile.
Logan, who teaches choir at Skyview High School and directs
Rimrock Opera Chorus for Kids, plays the role of Despina, a
cunning maid in "Cosi fan tutte." Logan first got involved with
ROC in 2002, when she played clarinet in the orchestra, and is
now making her main stage debut as a lead vocalist with ROC.
The camaraderie of the cast is half the fun of being in a big
production, performers say.
"It's amazing coming together
as a cast," Lombardy said. "We've all been working on our parts
for so long, but separately. It's fun to see how it all comes
JAMES WOODCOCK/Gazette Staff
Performers in the upcoming Rimrock Opera production of Mozart's
"Cosi fan tutte" include Dennis Rupp, who plays Don Alfonso,
flanked by Lisa Lomardi as Fiordiligi, left, and Diedra Walker
JAMES WOODCOCK/Gazette Staff
Adam Flowers, and Curt Olds look over music with music director
and conductor Timm Rolek. Rimrock Opera Company will present "Cosi
fan tutte” on Friday, March 23, and Sunday, March 25, at the
Alberta Bair Theater.
About the opera
“Cosi fan tutte,’’ which translates to
“Women are Fickle,’’ was written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and
first performed Jan. 26, 1790, in Vienna. Sung in Italian, it
will have English super titles above the stage when it is
performed by the Rimrock Opera Company.
“Cosi” tells the
story of an elderly cynic, Don Alfonso, who discusses women with
two young officers Ferrando and Guglielmo. The two young men
insist that their sweethearts are virtuous and they agree to
accept Alfonso’s wager that he can prove the ladies fickle if
they do what he says for the next 24 hours.
sisters Fiordiligi and Dorabella revel in their love for the
young officers, showing lockets with their pictures. But, as
part of the scheme, Alfonso comes in with bad news ?the men have
been called to their regiment.
Meanwhile, the maid
Despina offers the sisters advice about forgetting old lovers
with the help of new ones. The sisters reject her advice and
Dorabella becomes outraged. But it isn’t long before the two
officers, disguised as Albanians, arrive to woo the sisters,
according to Alfonso’s instructions. After a mock poisoning, the
sisters’ hearts start to open to the strangers.
Rupp, who plays Alfonso in the production, said highlights of
the show include Lisa Lombardy’s aria as Fiordiligi.
“It’s a tour de force,’’ Rupp said.
include a duet between Dorabella, portrayed by Diedra Walker,
and Guglielmo, portrayed by Curt Olds, in the second act,
according to music director/conductor Timm Rolek.
the duet is some of the most beautiful music ever written,’’
Laughter, music lift 'Cosi fan tutte'
JACI WEBB Of The Gazette Staff | Posted: Saturday, March 24,
2007 11:00 pm
We don't usually associate
opera with belly laughs, but that unique dichotomy of silliness
and beautiful music makes Rimrock Opera Company's production of
"Cosi fan tutte" soar.
Billings soprano Lisa Lombardy,
playing the role of Fiordiligi, is a marvel. The challenging
vocal range of the part, paired with the need to ham it up as
the target of a madcap prank, could have soured the performance
of a lesser artist. But for Lombardy, who most recently played
Musetta in a Helena production of "La boheme," it was a career
Billings Skyview vocal teacher Amy Logan was
so much fun to watch Friday night as the cunning maid Despina
that you almost forgot she had such an evil bent. She and her
friend, Alfonso, played by opera stalwart Dennis Rupp, connive
to lure Fiordiligi and her sister, Dorabella, played by Wyoming
vocalist Diedra Walker, away from their lovers.
character dons the goofiest of disguises to carry out their
plot, from an Albert Einstein lookalike doctor who treats
patients with a huge magnet to a bumbling notary with a sideways
mustache. Logan eases effortlessly among all three characters,
showing off her fine soprano voice. Walker shows a penchant for
character roles in her outstanding debut as main stage lead.
"Cosi fan tutte," one of Mozart's most popular operas,
challenges the premise that women are fickle. Two men, convinced
their lovers are faithful, take on a bet with Alfonso to prove
their ladies are true. So, disguised as Albanians, they set out
to woo each other's lady. They shouldn't have tried so hard.
Butte native Curt Olds plays one of the young men, Guglielmo,
and Adam Flowers plays the other, Ferrando. Flowers' expressive
face brought down the house just by raising an eyebrow, and his
vocal range was incredible. Olds filled his role with cheeky
charm and warm vocals. The two wore garish turbans with horns
sticking out the front and huge handlebar mustaches.
in Italian with English titles projected above the stage, the
work was sprinkled with odd witticisms like this one from
Guglielma, "Our mustaches could be called the triumph of
manhood. Love's plume." One of the show's musical highlights had
the two men trading jibes in a staccato duet in Act I.
28-piece symphonic orchestra, directed by Timm Rolek, was vital
to the production, which was under the artistic direction of
Billings native Doug Nagel.
Just more than 800 people took in
the performance Friday night. Among them were first-time opera
viewers Lisa Huertas and her son, Alec, who came to see Logan,
Alec's former teacher.
"The harmonies were just fabulous
and they were soaring on those notes," Huertas said.
added, "I thought it was a blast!"
Lombardy keeps value of life's gifts close
JACI WEBB Of The Gazette Staff | Posted: Thursday, November 9,
2006 11:00 pm
Lisa Lombardy said she had a
few false starts in her life.
A surprising revelation from a
vocalist and violinist with such poise and grace that she's
admired by many. Lombardy grew up in Billings, singing with her
two sisters, Barbara and Sonja. When she graduated from Billings
Senior High in 1971, she enrolled at Eastern Montana College to
study theater and music with hopes of teaching and performing on
But she quit school, turned off by the prospect
of teaching, and eventually she earned a nursing degree at
Montana State University. There were years when she didn't pick
up her violin and didn't sing on a stage when she was starting
her nursing career in Billings.
Now, she's doing it all -
teaching voice; singing soprano in Saturday night's Billings
Symphony Orchestra and Chorale concert; playing violin in the
BSO when she's not singing; and preparing for a leading role in
the upcoming opera "Cosi fan Tutte."
Lombardy is comfortable
with Mozart's "Requiem," having performed it in 1991 with the
Billings Symphony Orchestra and Chorale. She prepared to sing it
with the Bozeman Symphony in 1987, but was involved in a traffic
accident the day before the performance and was forced to
"I didn't have my seatbelt on and the impact of
the accident pushed me into the windshield. At the time, I was
more worried about not being able to sing 'The Requiem,' than I
was concerned about becoming a quadriplegic," Lombardy said.
Lombardy made a full recovery and was lucky to get a second
chance at performing "The Requiem." Now she's ready to sing it
again and hopes the audience will be drawn to the poignancy of
"It is the last thing Mozart wrote and he
didn't live to finish it," Lombardy said. "There is just so much
in it; we all have to face our own mortality. It draws out our
emotions. I hope the audience can get the depth of what is going
on in the music."
While she practiced the piece, Lombardy
said she kept in mind that she will be performing it with three
other vocalists and must "be sensitive to how they'll be doing
it." The vocalists will rehearse for the first time together
today and Lombardy said it's essential that each vocalist is
Lombardy first auditioned to perform
violin with the BSO in the 1970s when George Perkins was at the
helm and later auditioned with Uri Barnea. She now plays violin
under the direction of Anne Harrigan in an orchestra that she
said has evolved since the 1970s.
"We have such a rich
culture for the arts here. We have so many things going on and
the level of talent has risen."
And one of her most
promising students, Chris Johnson, is finding his own way in the
world of performing arts. For a woman who thought she never
wanted to teach, Lombardy said she finds great satisfaction in
seeing Johnson grow as a vocalist.
""It's so interesting how
life flushes its way out," Lombardy said.
Costume designer Jill Port details one
of her creations in advance of Rimrock Opera's production of
Mozart's "Cosi fan tutte," which hits the ABT boards for
performances Friday and Sunday.
Rimrock Opera Company. All rights