Floating Opera started in the early '90's as a recording project with the participation of many of the best musicians in Lincoln, Nebrasaka, including many who have recorded for major labels. We released a self-titled cassette in 1993, which had limited distribution, but received strong reviews. The CD Everybody's Somebody's Monster, distributed by ismist records in early 1997, has also received strong reviews. Our next release was the EP It's Not Easy Listening Anymore, and our new release is the full-length Burning Lighthouse

In 1997 we were asked to put together a live performance for a Nebraska Public Television special. We got together eleven musicians and put on a very credible live show, which has been aired several times thoughout the state. In fact, the show went so well that we've performed regularly (but not frequently) since then. Over the years the performing group has consisted of various combinations of Lori Allison (vocals, guitar, songwriting), Chris Wilson (violin, cello and vocals), Heidi Ore (vocals), Richard Rebarber (keyboards, songwriting), Paul Tisdale (drums and trumpet), Ron Albertson (drums), Jon Taylor (guitar), Scott Stanfield (guitar), Benjamin Kushner (guitar), Eric Aspegren (bass, guitar), Dave Boye (bass), Terry Pieper (bass), Alyssa Storey (cello), Kristi Pfabe (violin), Leanne Dynnason (violin), and Justin Kohmetscher (trumpet). The recordings have an even wider range of musicians.

NETV photos by Larry W. Sheffield

The backgrounds of the musicians in Floating Opera, both musical and personal, are unusually varied. Some have strong credentials in very loud music, some have extensive classical training and experience, and several are veterans of successful bands which have recorded on major labels. Here are some particulars about a few of the musicians:

Lori Allison was the lead singer for the band The Millions, which had CD's released on Smash/Polygram and Dream Circle. The Millions were the most successful band in Nebraska for many years, and received substantial national press coverage and airplay. Lori's bandmate in the Millions, Harry Dingman, plays guitar on some of the recordings, and does the really striking artwork for the group which you can find throughout our web pages.

Most of the Floating Opera songs are written by Charles Lieurance and Richard Rebarber. Charles is a writer and poet, was lead singer for the bands The Black Dahlias, and The Honey Hush. Richard writes the music for Charles Lieurance's lyrics, and produces, engineers and plays keyboards on the recordings. Richard has also arranged for other musicians, including two songs on Mercy Rule's Providence CD (Relativity Records). Richard studied composition, music theory and electronic music technology at Oberlin College, and pays the bills with his job as Professor of Mathematics at the University of Nebraska. (If for some perverse reason you'd like to download some of his research papers in infinite dimensional control theory, go to www.math.unl.edu/~rrebarbe.)

Ron Albertson (drums), Heide Ore (vocals) and Jon Taylor (guitar) were the band Mercy Rule, who released Providence on Relativity Records and have the great CD The Flat Black Chronicles (produced by Lou Giordano) out on Caufield Records. Flat Black Chronicles was originally recorded for MCA, who inexplicably passed on the final product, further convincing this writer that the major labels have gone to hell in a handbasket. They were featured in Rolling Stone's 1994 end-of-the-year issue as some of the most promising new artists, on a short list with Sheryl Crow, Coolio and Counting Crows. Ron Albertson has also be in the band Liars, whose record They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top was one of 2002's most acclaimed records (Pat Noecker, who has played bass with Floating Opera, has also played with Liars.) Chris Wilson plays violin for the Omaha and Lincoln Symphonies, and numerous short-term gigs like Mannheim Steamroller. She also sings and plays several other instruments. Paul Tisdale played drums for many years in the successful punk band Sideshow, and records and performs very peculiar but enjoyable music under the moniker Clean Plate Club.


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