ONE Festival 2020

Led by Opera Omaha General Director Roger Weitz and ONE Festival Artistic Director James Darrah, ONE 2020 amplifies the Omaha creative spirit by curating a yearly group of interdisciplinary, world-class artists and providing them the time, space and resources to create new opera collaborations on location with local partners. Each of the festival’s creatives is an Artist-in-Residence, partnering across respective mediums to push beyond their own disciplines and craft multiple live performances and events during five intense residency weeks.

Together, this carefully selected group of artists work to bring to life a two-week festival inclusive of two new staged opera productions and a series of performance events that explore the boundaries of opera while saturating the community with films, lectures, and intimate musical and theatrical experiences. The ONE Festival’s past projects include the 2018 new production of the world premiere opera, Proving Up by Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek, the 2019 debut of Playground by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Ellen Reid and poet Zackary Drucker, as well as new productions and explorations of work by a wide range of diverse artists that include Philip Glass, Anne Sexton, Charles Gounod, G.F. Handel, Kate Bush, John Adams, Luigi Cherubini, and Pauline Oliveros.

With an emphasis on continual experimentation and new work, ONE 2020 fosters an environment that encourages and celebrates bold risks and transformative storytelling with such familiar stories as Salome, John the Baptist and Romeo and Juliet, but also new realms of cinema, poetry, costume design and interactive, participatory music-making. Presented this year in intimate and unexpected venue through new community collaborations, the 2020 festival places its artists and audience in direct dialogue, continuing the festival’s mission to activate music and sound within Omaha’s culturally vibrant city.

ONE Festival Leadership

Roger Weitz

Opera Omaha General Director
A native of Omaha, Nebraska, Roger Weitz assumed the post of General Director of Opera Omaha in 2011. He holds a degree in music from Carleton College where he studied voice and sang in multiple ensembles. For seven years he worked for Chicago Opera Theater as the Artistic Administrator under the leadership of General Director, Brian Dickie. Following this post, Roger accepted a Fellowship at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., a highly selective international arts administration program led by Kennedy Center President, Michael M. Kaiser. Following the Fellowship in D.C., Roger returned to Chicago Opera Theater where he served in a new capacity as the company’s General Manager for three years prior to the move to Omaha. Over the course of his career, Roger has managed the planning and creation of over 50 new productions, working with illustrious artists and creative teams from across the United States and abroad. As General Director, Roger works closely with Opera Omaha’s Board of Directors on strategic planning for the organization in addition to developing and leading the implementation of the company’s artistic vision.

James Darrah

ONE Festival Artistic Director
Director James Darrah has recently directed Flight, Semele, Agrippina and John Adams’ A Flowering Tree at Opera Omaha. Some of his recent engagements include directing the world premiere of Missy Mazzoli’s adaptation of Lars von Trier’s Breaking the Waves for Opera Philadelphia, direction/ design for an original music video for Joyce DiDonato’s new album In War and Peace, his European directorial debut with Teatro Nacional de São Carlos in Lisbon, Portugal for Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride, and an installment of San Francisco Symphony’s trailblazing SoundBox series. Other projects include an ongoing collaboration directing new productions with conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and his three year Pelléas Project with Louis Langrée and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Earlier this year he directed the Debussy Pelléas et Mélisande as part of the grand re-opening of Cincinnati’s Music Hall in collaboration with Cincinnati Opera. His production of Mazzoli’s Breaking the Waves was nominated for Best World Premiere in the 2017 International Opera Awards. He returns to Opera Omaha as the Artistic Director of the new ONE Festival and will direct the world premiere production of Proving Up by Missy Mazzoli. He is a native of San Antonio, Texas and is based in Los Angeles, California.