Omaha Performing Arts

This year, Omaha Performing Arts celebrates its 5th anniversary. Executive Director Joan Squires said 1.7 million people have attended programs at the Orpheum and the Holland Center over the past five years.  

The Family series is a new addition to the season. Squires said first up are the Yamato Drummers of Japan, “which is a group that combines percussion with athletic abilities.” Squires described the next production, Cirque Mechanics Boom Town, as “Cirque de Soleil meets the gold rush.” 

Omaha Performing Arts’ Jazz series begins in December with Grammy Award-winner Chris Botti, who performed at the Holland for New Year’s Eve a few years ago. Squires called Botti, “an amazing jazz trumpeter.” Following Botti’s performance, is a concert featuring legendary pianist and composer, Herbie Hancock.

Omaha Performing Arts will offer two extra concerts for music lovers. Doc Severinson and his Big Band perform big band classics, pop tunes and jazz numbers in February, while Bela Fleck and the Flecktones perform in April, playing everything from jazz to bluegrass.

The Dance series begins with traditional family favorite, The Nutcracker, performed by the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet. Squires said the production will feature 60 young people from the community. Another highlight is dance company Momix’ May production titled Botanica, where the flora and fauna of the garden come alive.  

Huey Lewis and the News start the Popular series with a concert in October featuring music from the ‘60s and ‘70s. Broadway legend Patti LuPone presents her one-woman show onstage at the Holland Center in February.

The 1200 Club performances are held in the Scott Recital Hall and feature tableside seats and refreshments.  Upcoming performers include five-string banjoist Alison Brown and David Wax Museum playing a blend of traditional Mexican folk, American roots and indie rock.

Ticket information is available at 402-345-0606 or 

Omaha Symphony

The Omaha Symphony shines this season playing pieces from Sibelius and Ravel to Liszt and Beethoven. Music Director Thomas Wilkins says the new season begins the decade countdown toward the Symphony’s centennial. He says the orchestra offers music from Brahms twice this season on the Masterworks series. Guest violinist Jennifer Koh will play Brahms’ “Violin Concerto” in March while the Symphony’s first concert features Brahms’ “2nd Piano Concerto.”

Another highlight is guest conductor Jeffrey Kahane’s arrival in January.  Kahane is going to do a play-conduct which means he will be the guest soloist as well as the conductor and will do both simultaneously.

Wilkins’ favorite is the Chamber series. He said this year the Symphony decided to find great repertoire first and then create themes based on the music instead of the other way around. The first concert is called Wind Serenade and features Dvorak’s “Serenade in d minor” and Mendelssohn’s “1st Symphony,” which he wrote when he was only 12 years old.

But if you like a little visual content with your classical music, check out the Sights and Sounds series. This season offers the chance to enjoy film classics such as Psycho and The Wizard of Oz with live musical accompaniment, though you may never shower again. And the kids will enjoy hair-raising fun with the Symphony Spooktacular featuring magician Keith West. And who could resist the siren lure of animated classics from Looney Tunes with musical accompaniment from the symphony? 

Symphony Pops offers performances from country superstar LeAnn Rimes and that perennial crowd favorite, Christmas with the Symphony returns in December. The Symphony Rocks series highlights music from Ray Charles and Fleetwood Mac. Wilkins said he enjoys offering different types of concerts because it showcases the orchestra’s versatility.

Tickets are available at 402-342-3560 or

Opera Omaha

Opera Omaha invites the public to “experience greatness” this season.  Communications Director Brad Watkins said the opera is, “Focusing on great singers, great stories and great ways to experience them.”

This is Opera! starts the season on October 15th.  The production focuses on the big hits of the last 200 years in opera.

Watkins said the concert will be, “semi-staged with set pieces and costume pieces and will feature the Opera Omaha chorus.” Guest singers include soprano Elizabeth Blancke-Biggs and tenor Arnold Rawls.

In November, the Opera presents a new production of Hansel & Gretel featuring sets and lighting by Jim Othuse of the Omaha Community Playhouse and libretto by Jane Hill, Interim Artistic Director for Opera Omaha.

“It’s a good way to expose kids to opera. It is The Nutcracker for the Halloween season,” Watkins said. 

The Scottish Rite Masonic Center is the setting for The Marriage Contract in February. The Opera will offer pre-show refreshments prior to each performance.  

Gilbert & Sullivan’s operetta The Mikado wraps Opera Omaha’s season and features live musical accompaniment from the Omaha Symphony. Former Artistic Director Stewart Robertson returns to conduct the performance.

Tickets are available at 402-345-0606 or

Leave a comment