LOLA is committed to cultivating the future of opera by offering new approaches to experiencing this particular musical genre and type of singing. Our focus is on integrity in our approach to this art form, to the Austin community, and to each other.
LOLA is born: In the summer of 2014, LOLA was created by professional opera singer, arts administrator, and long-time Austin resident Liz Cass and opera director and Austin resident, Rebecca Herman with the idea of creating an all-female production of Puccini’s classic opera, La Bohème. They called this production La Femme Bohème. Liz and Rebecca assembled a team of highly skilled local talent and a show was born. La Femme Bohème opened to sold out houses. This production won 3 Austin Critics Table Awards.
Part of the LOLA mission is to meet people where they are and introduce them to opera. Our productions have attracted longtime opera aficionados and a large number of people having their first experience with the art form. In the Austin community and the world at large, it is very easy to go our respective ways and encounter not only our limited daily existence but also only those who exist in it. As an immediate and global community, It is vital for people from all walks of life to sit in a room and have a larger shared experience together.
Liz Cass Liz Cass, mezzo-soprano is an active operatic performer, founder and the Executive Producer of the award-winning LOLA, Local Opera Local Artists and holds the position of Executive Director of the Armstrong Community Music School. In addition, Ms. Cass serves as the President of the Seagle Music Colony Alumni Association board and as Secretary on the board of the Austin Classical Guitar Society.
Ms. Cass is originating the role of Dinah LeFarge in LOLA’s Lardo Weeping, by Peter Stopschinski and Terry Galloway. A role which prompted Jeanne-Claire van Ryzin of Sightlines to write “In a dizzy leap of virtuosic singing and theatrical performance, mezzo-soprano Liz Cass sings the heck out of Lardo Weeping.” Liz is also the originator of the mezzo role in Graham Reynold’s opera, Pancho Villa; From a Safe Distance for which Callum John Blackmore of Parterre Box wrote “Mezzo-soprano Liz Cass has a vibrant voice with a gutsy chest voice and an elegant upper register”. And Joanne Sydney Lassner of Opera News wrote “Her fruity mezzo was compelling whether amplified or not”. Other recent performance highlights: Schumann-Cass Cabaret for the Austin Chamber Music Festival, Mezzo soloist in Beethoven’s Missa Solmenis with the Georgetown Festival of the Arts, Mrs. Lowe and Dora in "The Manchurian Candidate" by Kevin Puts with Austin Opera, The Brahms Alto Rhapsody with Chorus Austin, mezzo soloist in Handel’s Messiah at the Teatro Nationale and Casa Santo Domingo in Guatemala and "Pancho Villa; From a Safe Distance" with PuSh Festival in Vancouver and the Prototype Festival in NYC.
Upcoming projects include: Concerts with LOLA in Austin and West Virginia, Giovanna in Rigoletto with Austin Opera, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas in collaboration with LOLA and Panoramic Voices and Lardo Weeping official premier in Austin in the Fall of 2020.
Rebecca Herman enjoys directing and assistant directing at numerous companies around the United States. Upcoming engagements include directing Magic Bullets (Queen City Opera), and assistant directing La Finta giardiniera (Portland Opera). In 2018 she directed Tchaikovsky's Iolanta (Queen City Opera), returned to DMMO’s directing staff for a third summer, and directed Otello, a semi-staged concert (Austin Opera). Recently she directed We Might Be Struck By Lighting and La Clemenza di Tito: A Retelling (LOLA Austin). Other credits include directing Don Giovanni, and The Daughter of the Regiment (Austin Opera); assistant directing Turandot, The Magic Flute, and Rigoletto (Michigan Opera Theatre); and directing the very first all-female version of La Boheme aka. La Femme Boheme (LOLA Austin). Rebecca received an M.M. in Opera Direction (The University of Texas at Austin) and both a B.A. in English Literature and a B.M. in Opera/Vocal Studies (Lawrence University).