Post-18 months of pandemic quarantine and shutdown, OITR returns with edgy and thoughtful programming, including contemporary and classic operas.

 LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – After 18 months of no live programming due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Opera in the Rock (OITR) is thrilled to return to the stage with its 2021-2022 Season with four show runs beginning in late August and ending in May 2022. OITR is Arkansas’s premier professional opera company. 

The 2021-2022 Season opens with the one-act contemporary opera, Scalia/Ginsburg: an Opera by Derrick Wang presented in partnership with the Clinton Foundation at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock. The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra is providing a chamber septet under the leadership of Artistic Director Geoffrey Robson. The opera features the seemingly unlikely friendship between the late Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia. Although their interpretations of the Constitution could vary widely, the justices shared a deep love of opera. The opera’s theme, “We are different, we are one” reminds the audience that we all have more in common with each other than we think. 

Scalia/Ginsburg runs Friday, August 27 through Sunday, August 29, 2021, with four ticketed public performances in the Great Hall at the Clinton Presidential Center, including two evenings and two matinees. Tickets will be $40 each for general admission (price does not include 3% processing fee.).

Friday, August 27, 2021 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, August 28, 2021 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, August 29, 2021 2:30 p.m. 

Starring local favorite artists Matthew Tatus and Shannon Rookey in the title roles, audiences should be prepared for a romping good time inspired by judicial opinions with diverse operatic influences. The role of the Commentator is performed by lyric bass Michael Colman who has played the role numerous times including most recently at the Chautauqua Opera in New York. Additional logistical details will be released the week of July 26 including ticketing information.

Next in the 2021-2022 Season is your favorite night on the town, Divas in the Rock, this time featuring Mary Bridget Davies as the iconic Janis Joplin at the University of Arkansas Pulaski Technical College’s Center for Humanities and the Arts (UA-PTC CHARTS) on Friday, October 8, on the North Little Rock campus. Davies received a TONY Award nomination in 2014 for her work in A Night with Janis Joplin

Joplin was a lover of operatic works, most notably Porgy and Bess. Her grit and distinctive mezzo-soprano voice can be remembered through the popular songs “Piece of my Heart,” “Me and Bobby McGehee,” “Mercedes Benz” and “Summertime” by George Gershwin. 

In 2022, OITR will partner with the Argenta Community Theater (ACT) in producing Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music February 1-6 in North Little Rock. Sondheim creates a stunning tour de force when he adapts Ingmar Bergman’s comedy of manners, Smiles of a Summer Night, and turns it into a musical of masterful execution and elegance. 

Closing out 2021-2022 will be the mainstage production of Gaetano Donizetti’s Anna Bolena May 22 – 20, 2022 at UA-PTC CHARTS in North Little Rock. OITR welcomes the return of internationally acclaimed soprano Francesca Mondanaro accompanied by musicians from the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra conducted by Geoffrey Robson. In her 2019 portrayal of Madama Butterfly with OITR, Mondanaro’s voice was a “beast with strength to spare” (Arkansas Times). Her portrayal of the ill-fated Tudor queen and wife of Henry VIII will prove to be just as thrilling for Arkansas audiences.

Anna Bolena will be directed by Ella Marchment, who is widely acclaimed as one of Europe’s most original and progressive stage directors. Marchment is also the director for OITR’s August 2021 production of Scalia/Ginsburg. Reflecting on her work with OITR, Marchment has said, “After spending the last decade directing operas in Europe, on a road trip through the States I was fortunate enough to cross paths with Opera in the Rock. I now think of this company as my U.S. home and am greatly looking forward to building productions themed on pivotal moments of political history for both the U.S. and U.K. (my new and old home countries). For this reason, the combination recognizes the place where I have come from and the place I now call home.” 

For news and updates including forthcoming ticket sale release dates, follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @OperaInTheRock.


About Opera In The Rock:

Opera In The Rock is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to enrich the cultural life of Arkansans through professional opera performances emphasizing collaboration and diversity to build future audiences for this rich art form. 

Opera In The Rock is one of only 150 accredited Professional Company Members of Opera America and is the only opera company in Arkansas with this prestigious designation. Visit to learn more.