Des Moines Metro Opera

The Des Moines Metro Opera (DMMO) is based in Indianola, Iowa, a town of approximately 14,000 located 12 miles south of Des Moines, Iowa. DMMO was founded by Dr. Robert L. Larsen and Douglas Duncan in 1973.[1] A summer opera festival, the company usually performs three operas in rolling repertory during June and July.[2] Although created as an opera company for the Midwest, the company's audience base has grown over the years. As of 2008 it claims audiences from some 35 states and several foreign countries.[3] The company also sends its educational arm, Opera Iowa, to sites throughout the state from fall through spring. Typically a troupe of several singers, a pianist and technical director, Opera Iowa has also traveled for educational performances in nine neighboring states and participated in exchange programs with like organizations in Japan and China.[4]

An important function of the Des Moines Metro Opera is its apprentice program (The James M. Collier Apprentice Artist Program). Every summer the program affords approximately forty young singers an opportunity to study the work of seasoned performers and to work with opera coaches and directors. The apprentice artists perform in the chorus, prepare short scenes, and in some cases understudy principal singers and perform small solos in main-stage productions. More than 1,000 singers have passed through the apprentice program since its inception in 1975.[5]

Most of DMMO's opera productions are performed at the Blank Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of Simpson College. With 488 seats arranged in a semicircle, the Blank Center provides an intimate setting for opera. This intimacy is enhanced by an unusual stage design which features a semicircular stage in front of the orchestra pit, in addition to the traditional proscenium stage behind the orchestra pit. This semicircular stage, or "playing circle", is separated from the front row of audience seats by only a railing. Bridges crossing over the orchestra on each side allow performers to move between the two stage areas. Occasionally, DMMO has presented productions at a larger venue, the Civic Center in Des Moines. Initially committed to producing opera in English, DMMO first presented a foreign-language production, Tosca, in 1998 at the Civic Center in Des Moines. [6] Since then, the company's season typically includes one opera in English and two operas in other languages (Italian, German or French), all presented with supertitles. The season also usually includes an opera written in the twentieth century.

Singers who had their start at DMMO include: John Osbourn, Kimm Julian,[7] Jane Redding, Beverly Thiele, Theodore Green, and Lauren Flanigan.[8] In 1986 DMMO premiered a new opera of Shakespeare's The Tempest with music by Lee Hoiby and a libretto by Mark Shulgasser.[9] The opera was broadcast on Iowa Public Television.

Although the running of DMMO has passed down through the hands of several business managers over the years, from its inception in 1973 through the 2010 season, Dr. Robert L. Larsen was the sole guiding artistic force for the company. In this capacity, he selected the operas (subject to Board approval), cast all principal singers and apprentices, and both directed and conducted each performance. In addition, he created scene assignments for all apprentices, which are performed publicly as an aspect of their educational activities. In the fall of 2010 Michael Egel was appointed Artistic Director to replace Robert Larsen. Robert Montana continues as Managing Director. Larsen remains with the company as Director Emeritus in a lifetime appointment.[10]

Productions

[6]

1973

La Rondine, G. Puccini
Albert Herring, B. Britten
Prima Donna, A. Benjamin / The Medium, G.C. Menotti

1974

Falstaff, G. Verdi
Madama Butterfly, G. Puccini
The Crucible, R. Ward

1975

Il Trittico, G. Puccini
The Magic Flute, W.A. Mozart
The Rake's Progress, I. Stravinsky

1976

The Barber of Seville, G. Rossini
Manon, J. Massenet
Susannah, C. Floyd

1977

The Tales of Hoffmann, J. Offenbach
Così fan tutte, W.A. Mozart
La traviata, G. Verdi

1978

La bohème, G. Puccini
The Consul, G.C. Menotti
Carmen, G. Bizet

1979

Die Fledermaus, J. Strauss
A Midsummer Night's Dream, B. Britten
Rigoletto, G. Verdi

1980

Il trovatore, G. Verdi
Don Pasquale, G. Donizetti
Ariadne auf Naxos, R. Strauss

1981

Tosca, G. Puccini
The Ballad of Baby Doe, D. Moore
Lucia di Lammermoor, G. Donizetti

1982

Otello, G. Verdi
The Elixir of Love, G. Donizetti
Don Giovanni, W.A. Mozart

1983

Cavalleria rusticana, P. Mascagni / I Pagliacci, R. Leoncavallo
The Merry Widow, F. Lehár
The Daughter of the Regiment, G. Donizett

1984

The Marriage of Figaro, W.A. Mozart
Dialogues of the Carmelites, F. Poulenc
Aida, G. Verdi

1985

Faust, C. Gounod
La Cenerentola, G. Rossini
Of Mice and Men, C. Floyd

1986

Falstaff, G. Verdi
The Tempest, L. Hoiby
Romeo and Juliet, C. Gounod

1987

La bohème, G. Puccini
The Flying Dutchman, R. Wagner
The Turn of the Screw, B. Britten

1988

The Barber of Seville, G. Rossini
Turandot, G. Puccini
The Magic Flute, W.A. Mozart

1989

The Tales of Hoffmann, J. Offenbach
Die Fledermaus, J. Strauss
The Crucible, R. Ward

1990

Boris Godunov, M. Mussorgsky
Martha, F. von Flotow
La traviata, G. Verdi

1991

Madama Butterfly, G. Puccini
Peter Grimes, B. Britten
The Abduction from the Seraglio, W.A. Mozart

1992

Hansel and Gretel, E. Humperdinck
Lucia di Lammermoor, G. Donizetti
Der Rosenkavalier, R. Strauss
The Girl of the Golden West, G. Puccini

1993

Don Pasquale, G. Donizetti
A Masked Ball, G. Verdi
The Saint of Bleecker Street, G.C. Menotti

1994

Carmen, G. Bizet
Rigoletto, G. Verdi
Regina, M. Blitzstein

1995

Sweeney Todd, S. Sondheim
The Ballad of Baby Doe, D. Moore
The Marriage of Figaro, W.A. Mozart

1996

La bohème, G. Puccini
Macbeth, G. Verdi
Così fan tutte, W.A. Mozart

1997

Don Giovanni, W.A. Mozart
La Rondine, G. Puccini
Albert Herring, B. Britten

1998

Tosca, G. Puccini
The Merry Widow, F. Lehár
Fidelio, L. von Beethoven
Summer and Smoke, L. Hoiby

1999

The Barber of Seville, G. Rossini
Il trovatore, G. Verdi
Street Scene, K. Weill

2000

Norma, V. Bellini
Orpheus in the Underworld, J. Offenbach
The Consul, G.C. Menotti

2001

La bohème, G. Puccini
La traviata, G. Verdi
Il Trittico, G. Puccini
Vanessa, S. Barber

2002

Turandot, G. Puccini
Salome, R. Strauss
Candide, L. Bernstein

2003

Falstaff, G. Verdi
Faust, C. Gounod
The Crucible, R. Ward
Amahl and the Night Visitors, G.C. Menotti

2004

Madama Butterfly, G. Puccini
La Cenerentola, G. Rossini
Ariadne auf Naxos, R. Strauss

2005

The Tales of Hoffmann, J. Offenbach
Lucia di Lammermoor, G. Donizetti
Gloriana, B. Britten
Amahl and the Night Visitors, G.C. Menotti

2006

The Magic Flute, W.A. Mozart
The Rake's Progress, I. Stravinski
Rigoletto, G. Verdi

2007

Carmen, G. Bizet
A Midsummer Night's Dream, B. Britten
Otello, G. Verdi

2008

Un ballo in maschera, G. Verdi
Regina, M. Blitzstein
L'elisir d'amore, G. Donizetti

2009

Tosca, G. Puccini
Der Freischütz, C. von Weber
The Barber of Seville, G. Rossini

2010

Le nozze di Figaro, W.A. Mozart
Macbeth, G. Verdi
Susannah, C. Floyd

2011

La bohème, G. Puccini
Don Pasquale, G. Donizetti
Dialogues of the Carmelites, F. Poulenc

References

  1. ^ Des Moines Metro Opera, A 35-Year Perspective, Des Moines, Iowa: Des Moines Metro Opera, 2007, pp. 24, ISBN 978-0-615-17627-7 
  2. ^ Kellow, Brian (June 2003), "Letter From Des Moines", Opera News 67 (12): 44–46 
  3. ^ Morain, Michael (June), "Wizard of Iowa", Opera News: 36 
  4. ^ Des Moines Metro Opera, A 35-Year Perspective, Des Moines, Iowa: Des Moines Metro Opera, 2007, pp. 28, ISBN 978-0-615-17627-7 
  5. ^ Morain, Michael (June), "Wizard of Iowa", Opera News: 37 
  6. ^ a b Des Moines Metro Opera, A 35-Year Perspective, Des Moines, Iowa: Des Moines Metro Opera, 2007, pp. 27, ISBN 978-0-615-17627-7 
  7. ^ "Simpson Singers Achieving National Success", Simpson Magazine: 9, Winter 1991 
  8. ^ Des Moines Metro Opera Plans Mascheranda Gala Ball - Entertainment News Story - KCCI Des Moines
  9. ^ TEMPEST Lee Hoiby - synopsis libretto summary roles opera performances composer resources CD DVD VHS book
  10. ^ Morain, Michael (2010). "Des Moines Metro Opera names Egel as director". DesMoinesRegister.com. http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20100921/ENT04/9210362/1047/ENT01/Des-Moines-Metro-Opera-names-Egel-as-director. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 

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