William ShomosRichard H. Larson Distinguished Professor of Music (Voice), Director of Opera
Area of Focus: Music, Voice
William Shomos is the Richard H. Larson Distinguished Professor of Music (Voice) and Director of Opera at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. There he has staged a wide variety of productions ranging from traditional fare (The Marriage of Figaro, La Bohème) to world premieres and new works such as O Pioneers! (White), Dead Man Walking (Heggie), and A Wedding (Bolcom). His staging of Tyler White's O Pioneers! received regional and national acclaim and was aired on Nebraska Educational Television (NETV). His productions of Dead Man Walking, Così fan tutte and Street Scene won first place in the National Opera Association's Opera Production Competition. Shomos has staged several works with Pensacola Opera and Nevada Opera. Between 2003 and 2005, he spent three seasons with the Des Moines Metro Opera as stage director in the company's Apprentice Artist program, while also assistant directing mainstage productions. Between 2006 and 2009, he directed productions with La Musica Lirica in Novafeltria, Italy. Shomos has also directed outreach programs for both the Des Moines Metro Opera and Opera Omaha. From 2011-2013, he returned to the Des Moines Metro Opera to direct in the Apprentice Artist Program. In 2013 he served as Assistant Director for a production of Wagner's Tannhäuser in Tirana, Albania--the land of his heritage. In that same production he also sang the role of Wolfram von Eschenbach.
Shomos returned in the summer of 2016 to La Musica Lirica to direct a production of Verdi's Falstaff. In 2017, he staged a new production, Ulysses: An American Mythology, an updated dramatic and musical realization of Monteverdi's Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria for Opéra Louisiane.
In May of 2016, he began to realize one of his long-standing goals: to tour opera through rural Nebraska. Supported generously by the James C. and Rhonda Seacrest Tour Nebraska Opera Fund, and empowered by a wonderful cast, musical staff, and crew, UNL Opera toured a production of The Marriage of Figaro throughout the state. The successful tour was the first of a multi-year project to bring live opera to new audiences. In October of 2017, UNL Opera followed up with a touring production of Moore's The Ballad of Baby Doe to North Platte.
As a singer, Shomos has performed numerous leading baritone roles including Wolfram in Tannhäuser, Marcello in La Bohème, Captain Corcoran in H.M.S. Pinafore, and the title role in Sweeney Todd. In 2006, he appeared as a faculty artist with UNL Opera's production of The Most Happy Fella featured at the Waterford International Festival of Light Opera in Waterford, Ireland, where he was awarded "Best Male Singer" for his portrayal of Tony Esposito. As a recitalist, Shomos toured throughout the country as a part of internationally renowned accompanist John Wustman's project to present the Complete Songs of Franz Schubert. In 2010, he performed Winterreise with Wustman at UNL. In 1999 he sang a performance of the Complete Mörike Songs of Hugo Wolf, which the Omaha World Herald declared to be "a towering accomplishment that will stand as one of the region's musical high points of the year and even the decade." Recent oratorio work has included the baritone roles in Ein deutsches Requiem, Messiah, and Elijah. In 2016, he had the good fortune to perform one of his dream roles, Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha, with Lincoln's own TADA Theatre.
William Shomos holds degrees from the University of Illinois (DMA), Northwestern University (MM), and Knox College (BA).
In his free time, Bill enjoys hanging out with his wife Mary Beth, and their two daughters Elena and Madeline, and sons-in-law Zachary Smith and Clinton Bartek.