Douglas NagelDouglas Nagel

Douglas Nagel, who has served the Arts Community in Billings, Montana since 2000, has submitted his resignation from the Rimrock Opera Foundation Board of Directors and the NOVA Center for the Performing Arts Board of Directors. Mr. Nagel served as Vice President of the Board of Directors of NOVA for 5 years and was the Artistic Director of Rimrock Opera from 2000-2013. Click here to see photopgraphs of Doug taken during his career.

Mr. Nagel has been instrumental in founding and promoting opera in Billings and our region. He is currently Associate Professor, Vocals, at the College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences, Department of Music, Montana State University Billings.
According to former Rimrock Opera Chorus Master and Musician, Edward Harris: “Until the founding of Rimrock Opera in 1999, opera was a scarce commodity in Billings. If you were a Billings opera fan, you had to travel to enjoy fully staged grand opera with professional voices and full orchestral accompaniment. If you wanted to sing in an opera, you had very few local options.”

Other than a few traveling productions over the decades, and two locally produced operas, opera was non-existent in Billings. In a burst of venturesome programming, Billings Symphony Orchestra conductor George Perkins directed a Billings production of The Magic Flute in 1978. Included in the local cast in his first operatic experience was Douglas Nagel as Papageno. Perkins later directed a lavish local production of The Mikado which featured sets designed by famed artist Hall Diteman.

In 1998, Pablo Elvira came to Billings and met with the active members of the Billings Opera Guild. With his experience in the opera world he was an extremely helpful resource and convinced the Guild that an opera company in Billings could be a viable entity. Large numbers of Billings opera fans had been traveling to the Intermountain Opera Company productions for years, added, "If it can be done in Bozeman-it certainly can be done in Billings."
The Billings Opera Guild changed the organization’s name to Rimrock Opera and its focus changed from purchasing the old Babcock Theater, originally an opera house, to producing shows at the Alberta Bair Theater.

Opera star Pablo Elvira offered his talents to sing in the premiere Rimrock Opera Company production of Rossini's Barber of Seville. The cast included artists David Cody, Anne Basinski, and Douglas Nagel.

The inaugural show, The Barber of Seville, sold enough seats to pay all the bills and still have money left over in the bank - a feat seldom accomplished in the opera world.

After the matinee on November 21, 1999 the Board met to discuss, with cast member Douglas Nagel, his willingness and availability to serve as Rimrock Opera’s first Artistic Director. Douglas agreed to the position.

Thus began decades of enhancing the cultural life of this region with high quality main stage opera productions and making opera available to everyone through education and music.

Over twenty-four grand scale opera productions and multiple One Act Operas, traveling opera school shows that toured northern Wyoming and all of Montana were produced with Douglas Nagel as Rimrock Opera Artistic Director. Douglas was also Stage Director for many productions and sang in numerous shows.

The grand scale operas include:
2000 – Madama Butterfly
2001 – The Merry Widow
2002 – Tosca
2002 – Carmen
2003 – The Magic Flute
2003 – Don Giovanni
2004 – Hansel & Gretel
2004 – Nosferatu WORLD PREMIERE
2005 – La Boheme
2005 – La Traviata
2006 – Die Fledermaus
2006 – Madama Butterfly
2007 – Cosi fan tutti
2007 – Girl of the Golden West
2008 – The Elixir of Love
2008 – The Marriage of Figaro
2009 – Carmen
2009 – The Barber of Seville
2010 – La Bohème
2010 – The Merry Widow
2011 – Tosca
2011 – Rigoletto
2012 – The Crucible
2013 – Aida

From MSUB website -
Billings native Douglas Nagel received his Bachelor of Music from the University of Wyoming and Masters of Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Douglas has also produced and directed operas at Sacramento, Longview, Santa Barbara, Billings, Medford, Boise, Palo Alto, and Las Vegas, including Hoffmann, Gigi, Pajama Game, Pirates, Tabarro, Schicchi, Hand of Bridge, L’Egisto, Riders to the Sea, Roman Fever, Scarf, Telephone, Impresario, L’Ormindo, Butterfly, Tosca, Pasquale, Magic Flute, Carmen, Merry Widow, Marriage of Figaro, Bohème, Fledermaus, Susannah, Mr. Choufleuri, Buoso’s Ghost, Bastien, Lantern Marriage, Hänsel and Gretel, Traviata and Così.

As a dramatic baritone, Nagel sang with opera companies in San José, Virginia, Idaho, Eugene, Bozeman, Palo Alto, Santa Barbara, Cooperstown, El Paso, Oakland, San Luis Obispo, Phoenix, Tucson, Mobile, Cedar Rapids, Fort Collins, Des Moines, Springfield, Buffalo, Crested Butte, and Bear Valley. His repertoire included Scarpia, Zuniga, Pizzaro, Michele, Renato, Giovanni, Pasquale, Germont, Thomas Putnam, Dutchman, Figaro, Trulove, Blitch, Magnifico, Bartolo, Sharpless, Timur, Wotan, and Onegin. The role of John the Baptist in Salome was one of Nagel’s signature roles, making his European debut in Germany, and later repeating the role in Columbus, Virginia, and Philadelphia. In the world premiere of Nosferatu, Doug sang Count Orlock (Dracula), produced by Albany records.

No stranger to concert work, Nagel has sung with orchestras in Berkeley, San Francisco, San José, San Mateo, Helena, Denver, Billings, and at Royal Albert Hall in London with the BBC Orchestra.
Douglas has twice sat on the National Endowment of the Arts grant committee, and has judged for the National Council Auditions of the Metropolitan Opera. Nagel is active as a member of The National Association of Teachers of Singing, Through the MSU Billings exchange program, Doug has taught voice at Xuchang University, China.

Rimrock Opera, NOVA Center, and the greater artistic community have greatly appreciated Mr. Nagel’s talents, gifts and dedication.
Click Here for photographs of Doug taken during his career.

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