Sister Angelica &The Impresairo
Wednesday, July 15 at 7:30 PM at Northwest College, Powell, Wyoming
Riders to the Sea & Gianni Schicchi
Thursday, July 16 at 7:30 PM at the WYO Theater, Sheridan, Wyoming
Sister Angelica &The Impresario
Saturday, July 18 at 7:30 PM at the Babcock Theater, Billings
Riders to the Sea &Gianni Schicchi
Sunday, July 19 at 2:00 PM at the Yellowstone Country Club, Billings
Douglas Nagel, Producer & Stage Director
Dennis Rupp, Guest Stage Director
Sandi Rabas, Music Director & Pianist
Puccini’s only comic opera, Gianni Schicchi (Johnny Skee-kee)
is a satire surrounding the death of a rich uncle who leaves his
wealth to charity. The relatives engage clever con-man Schicchi to
out-maneuver the will and make them rich, while his daughter pleads
to marry into the money-grubbing family. Schicchi gets the
son-in-law, and the money. One of opera’s most beloved arias, Oh, my
beloved Daddy, is pivotal to the plot.
Casting and Synopsis
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Riders to the Sea
Maurya has lost her husband and five of her sons to the sea off the
rugged island of Aran on the west coast of Ireland around the turn
of the 20th century. She begs her last son not to undertake a
treacherous crossing and foresees his death. The opera closes with
Maurya's lament: They are all gone now, and there isn't anything
more the sea can do to me.
Casting and Synopsis
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
The story focuses on a small-time opera company with big-time
problems, spurred on by the rivalry between the resident diva and an
up-and-coming ingénue. The worn-out opera manager, the Impresario,
desires to retreat to the peace and quiet of farm life. He is
detained by a wealthy businessman who introduces him to an upstart
diva and the battle begins.
Casting and Synopsis
Puccini takes you through a heart wrenching tale of piety, passion,
and penance. Sister Angelica is a Florentine noblewoman forced to
enter a convent by her family at the birth of her love-child. After
seven years in penance, she greets her aunt, visiting on a business
matter. The princess coldly delivers devastating news: the child has
died. Seized with agony and desire to be with her son, Angelica ends
her life. Her miraculous salvation concludes the opera.
Casting and Synopsis
Rimrock Opera hits road for one-act fest
Posted: Friday, June 5, 2009 12:00 am
Rimrock Opera presents four performances throughout the
region as part of its One Act Festival this summer. Each
performance will feature two of four one-act operas:
Puccini's "Sister Angelica" (tragedy) and "Gianni
Schicchi" (comedy), Vaughan Williams' "Riders to the
Sea" (tragedy), and Mozart's "The Impresario" (comedy).
The operas, directed by Rimrock Opera's general
director, Doug Nagel, and longtime Rimrock Opera
performer Dennis Rupp, will feature 34 singers, most of
whom are local. All operas are sung in English, with
piano accompaniment by Sandi Rabas.
begins at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 15, at the Northwest
College Music Building in Powell, Wyo. They remain in
Wyoming for a performance at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July
16, at the WYO Theater in Sheridan as a benefit for the
Sheridan Arts Council.
Rimrock Opera then takes the
festival to the Babcock Theatre, Billings' original
opera house, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 18. Admission
to the Babcock show is $15. The final performance will
be at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 19, at the Yellowstone Country
Club. The cost for the show is $25, which includes a
For more information, including
synopses and complete casting, visit
www.rimrockopera.org or call 671-2214.
Weekly Webb: Opera voices to soar again at Babcock
Jaci Webb Of The Gazette Staff | Posted: Friday, July
17, 2009 12:00 am
It has been several decades since opera was performed at
The Babcock Theatre and more than 10 years since the
downtown theater was used as a regular performing arts
venue. That's all about to change.
Spring Creek will perform its rollicking bluegrass
music, and Saturday night the Rimrock Opera Company is
bringing opera back to the Babcock with its One-Act
Festival. The place is booked for several shows for fall
and winter, and hopes are high that more are coming.
Kim Olsen, of O2 Architects and a partner in Babcock
LLC, is downright giddy about the upcoming shows at the
Babcock, which is undergoing a $3 million renovation
before it is turned back to the city of Billings in
2016. The schedule includes a performance Aug. 19 by the
jam band/bluegrass group Railroad Earth and a Sept. 11
Jazz for Peace event.
"I am just so pleased that
people want to use the building,'' Olsen said. "We don't
have everything done, but people are willing to take a
chance with us and put on performances and help us get
this thing rolling. What we're finding out is people
won't book it if it doesn't have a history, and it's
been abandoned for a while."
If it weren't for
the Thursday night boxing matches that have been going
on at the Babcock for several years, the building would
have deteriorated even further. The late Ruth Lipsker
Moss, whose family owned the Babcock since 1927, said in
2007 that the boxers helped her keep the doors open by
paying the heat bill.
But now, it's the opera
folks who will fill the theater's huge stage with comedy
and song. It's the kind of entertainment that A.L.
Babcock built the theater for in 1907. Olsen said the
one-time opera house helped define Billings as an
"That was what made a town in
this Western expansion. It made it go from a train stop
to a real place," Olsen said.
Ian Elliot, who ran
the Babcock during the 1990s, said the acoustics there
are second only to Cisel Hall at Montana State
"It's really a great space for
shows," Elliot said.
Douglas Nagel, general director
of the Rimrock Opera Company, was excited to bring opera
back to the Babcock.
"This is really a Billings
opera festival, so why not stage it at one of the first
opera houses?" he said.
Nagel chose mostly local
performers to showcase in the four operas that are part
of the festival. Saturday night's event will include
"Sister Angelica" and "The Impresario." A show on Sunday
at 2 p.m. at Yellowstone Country Club will include
performances of the operas "Riders to the Sea" and
"The thing that I think is
really empowering is that 25 of the 30 singers are
local, and 20 of them are making their solo debut,"
Nagel said about the festival. "I know they've all grown
and learned a lot. A lot of them were inspired by being
in the chorus of 'Carmen' and now they're getting a solo
Among the soloists debuting in the
festival is Jacquelyn Weitz, who spent 22 of her 25
years studying piano and in the past six years branched
out to vocal performance. She had so much fun singing in
the chorus of "Carmen" this spring with the ROC that
Weitz auditioned for and landed a soprano role in "The
"Everyone is just so supportive,"
Weitz said after rehearsal Monday night.
playing the title role in "The Impresario," a fun twist
because he runs the opera company in real life. Director
Dennis Rupp said that adds to the humor in the 30-minute
opera. Rupp is also directing "Sister Angelica," a
dramatic Puccini opera.
"The hard part about the
Puccini is I'm such a sap and I couldn't get through the
story without crying," Rupp said.
Nagel said the
One-Act Festival will give opera newcomers a chance to
taste both a tragedy and a comedy, and to wear their
flip-flops to the opera.
"This is just a fun, casual
experience. Wear whatever you want and just come
experience opera at one of Billings' first opera
houses," Nagel said.
CASEY RIFFE/Gazette Staff
Michelle Kei Ishuu, left,
and Kristin Van Luchene rehearse Wednesday for this
weekend’s Rimrock Opera One-Act Festival at the Babcock
From left, Amanda Leonard, Kimiko
Wittkopp and Christina Pezzarossi will be among the
singers in this weekend’s Rimrock Opera performances.
Many people make 1-act operas great
Posted: Monday, August 3, 2009 8:05 pm
In July, Rimrock Opera Company produced four one-act
operas for the One Act Festival. Financial support from
many individual and corporate sponsors allowed Rimrock
Opera to bring this show to Billings, Powell, Wyo., and
Sheridan, Wyo. The Wyoming performances were at the Wyo
Theater and Northwest College.
In Billings, the
festival was staged at the Babcock Theatre and
Yellowstone Country Club. For the first time in decades,
opera was seen in the old "opera house" of Billings, the
Babcock Theatre. Don and Kim Olsen's renovations for the
old theater are progressing nicely and more musical
events are being scheduled there.
wishes to thank the volunteers, singers, directors and
everyone else who worked to make the One Act Festival a
success. Tutti bravi to all.
Rimrock Opera Board of
Sheridan enjoyed having Rimrock Opera perform
Posted: Wednesday, July 22, 2009 12:00 am
I was delighted that Billings' Rimrock Opera continued
its excellent outreach program and brought its One-Act
Opera Festival to Sheridan on July 16. Their performance
of the tragic "Riders to the Sea" and comedic "Gianni
Schicchi" was enjoyed by many Sheridanites at the WYO
Theater in historic downtown Sheridan.
It's a real
treat to have a cultural event such as this to mix with
the country and jazz music in our rural town. The
audience was a mix of long-time opera fans and folks new
to this wonderful form of entertainment. A big applause
to Rimrock Opera director Doug Nagel, all of the cast
and sponsors who made this wonderful display of
classical arts in our town possible.
Rebecca Colnar Mott
One Act Festival July 2009
Rimrock Opera’s One Act Festival
Music Direction by Sandi Rabas
Stage Direction by Dennis Rupp & Doug Nagel
Accompanied by Sandi Rabas
Kimiko Bennion, Janie Rife, Christa Salomon, Jacqueline Marie Weitz, Carly
McKenzie, Brianne Roney, Amanda Leonard, Ashley Miller, Michelle Kei Ishuu,
Christina Pezzarossi, Erin Mikelle Walker, Sara Ricord, Judy Kniss, Erin Small
Mezzo-sopranos Jess Shultis, Mary Ryan, Michelle Berger,
Kristin Van Luchene, Danielle Dodge
Jacob Wittkopp, Scott Wichael, Nathan Raschkow, Philip Johnson
Baritones & bass-baritones Quentin Staton, Robert Aaron Taylor,
Chris Sheppard, Aaron Pagniano
Daren Small, Doug Nagel, Dennis Rupp