Weiße Rose (White Rose)[N 1] is a chamber opera in one act by Udo Zimmermann. The opera tells the story of Hans and Sophie Scholl, a brother and sister in their early twenties, who were guillotined by the Nazis in 1943 for leading Die Weiße Rose, a non-violent resistance group. The opera premiered at the Dresden Conservatory on 17 June 1967 with a German libretto by the composer's brother, Ingo Zimmermann, a well known journalist and writer in Germany. The opera was received fairly well. Zimmermann revised it the following year for a professional production in Schwerin.
A completely new and less conventionally narrative opera with the same title and a libretto by Wolfgang Willaschek was premiered at the Hamburg State Opera on 27 February 1986 and was a success with both audience and critics. The opera became an international success and has had performances at many of the world's leading opera houses and with leading orchestras including the Vienna State Opera, Komische Oper Berlin, Zurich Opera, the Salzburg Festival, and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra among many others. The United States premiere of the opera was presented by Opera Omaha in 1988 with soprano Lauren Flanigan as Sophie.
|Opera by Udo Zimmermann|
|Based on||non-violent resistance group Die Weiße Rose|
17 June 1967
|Cast||Voice type||Premiere of second opera, 27 February 1986|
Conductor: Udo Zimmermann
|Hans Scholl||tenor[N 2]||Lutz-Michael Harder|
|Sophie Scholl||soprano||Gabriele Fontana|
Opera Omaha is a major regional opera company in Omaha, Nebraska. Begun in 1958, the professional company is widely known for the International Fall Festival events it held in the 1980s and 1990s, which garnered international attention and served as the U.S. and world premieres for a number of notable works. One of these performances, the 1990 U.S. premiere of the 1841 work Maria Padilla, was among the primary debuts for noted soprano Renee Fleming. "I’ve been calling all my singer friends and saying, 'You’ve got to sing for this company.'" Fleming said at the time. It has "a lot of vision." In 2007, the Toronto Star said "Opera Omaha has grown into one of the continent's most enterprising regional opera companies." After attending the 1992 Fall Festival, Denver Post critic Jeff Bradley wrote that "this quiet prairie city on the Missouri River is becoming one of the most exciting operatic meccas in the country." The Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram in 1992 said Omaha had become "operatically speaking, one of the most exciting cities in America." Similarly, in 1988, the Christian Science Monitor said of Opera Omaha: The company "demonstrated that 'regional opera' is no longer a pejorative term, that companies such as Opera/Omaha offer a real service to their communities as well as the opera world." The company's beginnings were decidedly more humble, with its 1958 bill as the Omaha Civic Opera Company composed of four performances: Madama Butterfly, Hansel and Gretel, Oklahoma! and Tosca. Since its founding, singers such as Beverly Sills, Tatiana Troyanos, Samuel Ramey, Frederica von Stade, Catherine Malfitano and Richard Tucker have performed in this company's productions. Sills in 1975 performed the title role in Opera Omaha's production of Lucia di Lammermoor, which was the first production to grace the stage of the then-newly renovated Creighton Orpheum Theater, still the home of the company's main-stage productions.
In September 1989, the company presented a concert at the Ak-Sar-Ben (arena) by Placido Domingo, drawing 6,231 people, according to a local press account.
The Omaha Symphony Orchestra is the opera company's resident orchestra. Opera productions are sometimes under the direction of the company's music director, the baton of a guest conductor or the baton of the orchestra's own music director.
Opera Omaha is also home to the Opera Omaha Craftsman's Guild, the nation's only volunteer organized guild that is integral to Opera Omaha’s success since 1962. The Craftsman’s Guild members donate stagecraft skills in the areas of wardrobe, makeup/wigs, concessions, and parties.