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Des Moines Metro Opera announces 2014 Season and Second Stages Series

Posted September 25, 2013 in Downtown, Community Web Exclusives

Indianola, IA –On the heels of the highly successful 41st Festival Season that included 92% audience capacity, the company’s customary balanced budget and that Opera News International Magazine recently called the “strongest in recently memory”, General & Artistic Director Michael Egel and the Board of Directors have announced the company’s artistic plans for the upcoming fiscal year.  “Our 2014 year has something for everyone”, said Egel.  “Our Summer Festival Season repertory includes the long awaited return of a timeless operatic classic offered with two operas that will be company premieres – the first is a modern masterpiece that I am thrilled to introduce to our audiences and the second is a sparkling farce by opera’s greatest comedic composer.  In addition, two Des Moines area performances will launch the company’s Second Stages Series including a family classic for the holiday season in December and a visceral and raw adaptation of one of opera’s greatest masterpieces.”

For the 42nd Summer Festival Season, three, full-scale grand operas will be presented in 15 performances between June 27 and July 20, 2014, and will follow the company’s successful formula of presenting an artistically balanced season that includes a combination of a well-known masterpiece and two rarely-performed works. The 42nd Summer Festival Season will also continue Mr. Egel’s vision of producing at least one company premiere every summer.  He has chosen the following operas for DMMO’s 42nd Summer Festival Season:

Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata – sung in Italian

Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking – sung in English

Gioachino Rossini’s Le Comte Ory – sung in French

The company will continue to use English supertitles projected above the stage for every performance and provide free opera previews prior to each performance. Past subscribers are eligible to renew their subscriptions now and starting October 1, new subscriptions will be on sale to the general public. Subscribers save an average of more than 12% over buying single tickets and have the benefit of reserving their seats before single tickets go on sale to the public on March 1, 2014.

“The 2014 Summer Festival Season is one of our most ambitious and compelling,” Egel says. “It’s a season of firsts, a season of interesting and creative ideas and a season of broad audience appeal that can satisfy both long-time subscribers and first-time ticket buyers. I’m very excited.”

La Traviata is one of the most popular pieces by one of opera’s most beloved composers. She was the toast of Paris – a woman adored by a glittering society and the men who kept and wanted to keep her. But when a handsome stranger offered her real love, her precarious existence unraveled. That is the story of La Traviata’s Violetta. Alexandre Dumas’ novel The Lady of the Camellias as told through Verdi’s immortal music creates the consummate operatic experience. “You have romance, you have drama, you have Verdi with perhaps his greatest piece, certainly one of his most popular,” says Nick Renkoski, Director of Marketing and Communication at Des Moines Metro Opera. “It’s a perfect opera and a perfect first opera.” La Traviata is being produced at Des Moines Metro Opera for the first time since the 2001 season.

The 2014 Summer Festival continues with Le Comte Ory by Gioachino Rossini. In the midst of mischief, mayhem and disguise, the rowdy bachelor Count Ory hopes to win Countess Adèle for himself. Little does he know of the surprises waiting for him. A sparkling and sexy romp, the work is ostensibly a comic opera with a farcical story and contains some of Rossini’s most colorful corchestral music. “This has been a rarely-performed piece for a long time that just now is beginning to get the recognition it deserves,” Egel says. “It’s a comedy by the master of operatic comedy and we’re proud to present it in 2014.” Le Comte Ory is a Des Moines Metro Opera premiere.

Dead Man Walking, written by Jake Heggie in 2000, is a Des Moines Metro Opera’s first foray into 21st Century opera. Since its premiere, Dead Man Walking, the first opera by Heggie and librettist Terrence McNally, has become one of opera’s most performed new works. Commissioned by San Francisco Opera, it is based on the prize-winning book by Sister Helen Prejean and tells the modern-day story of a nun who becomes the spiritual advisor to a condemned man on death row in Louisiana. “The time is right to explore the world of new works,” says Egel. “And this is the right piece, a powerhouse experience which will last with our audience members for a long time.” This intense and powerful piece is a Des Moines Metro Opera premiere.

The 2014 Season will see the introduction of Des Moines Metro Opera’s Second Stages Series. Conceived as an expansion of the company’s very successful Summer Festival Season, the Second Stages Series will build on Des Moines Metro Opera’s rapidly expanding capacity as a true community partner and will expose audiences to this remarkable art form through operatic presentations in unorthodox spaces. Creative place-making is a core component of Des Moines Metro Opera’s mission to introduce live performance to audiences in the Midwest and to bring great art to as many people as possible, with that in mind the Second Stages Series was conceived.

As part of the Second Stages Series, Des Moines Metro Opera will provide productions of:

Gian Carlo Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors sung in English on December 6 and 7, 2013 at Hoyt Sherman Place

Peter Brook’s The Tragedy of Carmen sung in English on July 10 and 19, 2014 at the Des Moines Social Club

For the Holiday season of 2013, Des Moines Metro Opera will present Amahl and the Night Visitors, by Gian Carlo Menotti as an additional production within the beautifully decorated Hoyt Sherman Place Theater on December 6 and 7, 2013.  In many places around the world, this opera rings in the Holiday season.  Originally composed for television in 1951, the story takes place during the first century in the town of Bethlehem where a crippled boy named Amahl is visited during the night by three kings who are following the Star of David to visit the Christ Child. Ultimately, Amahl too joins the kings on their trek to pay respects to the newly born baby.  Family members of all ages will love Amahl and the Night Visitors and follow the adventures of Amahl and The Three Kings as they witness a holiday miracle. This production is presented in honor and memory of Wendy Waugaman, who was a remarkable president of the Des Moines Metro Opera Board of Directors and a passionate entrepreneur in bringing new audiences to this dynamic art form.   American Equity is the presenting premier sponsor and Wendy’s many friends and colleagues are working together with Des Moines Metro Opera to bring this production to the stage in her memory.

On July 10 and 19 of 2014, Des Moines Metro Opera will present a 90-minute adaptation of one of the world’s most familiar and well-known operas, Bizet’s Carmen, adapted by Peter Brook as The Tragedy of Carmen.  This performance will feature principal singers and a chamber orchestra in a fully realized production, but tailored for a smaller venue.  This performance will be staged at the Des Moines Social Club, which will have been newly remodeled from its original art deco style Des Moines Fire Station.  Des Moines Metro Opera is proud to partner with the Des Moines Social Club and recognizes the potential it offers to enrich the cultural life of Greater Des Moines and its capacity to make our community even more marketable to employers.  This performance of Carmen will be one of the first theatrical performances in the newly remodeled facility and we are proud to be among the first of Des Moines’ major cultural attractions to work consistently with the Des Moines Social Club.

Subscribers have the ability to add The Tragedy of Carmen to their subscriptions now before single tickets to this most popular of operas are available on March 1, 2014.

The 2014 Opera year will be highlighted by special events, including the annual Wine and Food Showcase, Central Iowa’s original brewery, winery and restaurant exhibit, on February 21, 2014 at the Downtown Des Moines Marriott, which will, as always, bring together some of the finest food and spirits  from Central Iowa restaurants, wineries and distributors.

Current subscription holders can renew their tickets now. New subscriptions will go on sale to the general public on October 1, 2013. Single tickets will go on sale March 1, 2014. All tickets will be available by visiting or calling Des Moines Metro Opera’s box office at (515) 961-6221. Season subscriptions for La Traviata, Le Comte Ory, and Dead Man Walking range in price from $110 to $245 with The Tragedie of Carmen available as add-ons for $40. Tickets for Amahl and the Night Visitors are available now from $30 – $40 for adults and from $10 – $20 for children (K-12). Discounted tickets are available for groups of 10 or more adults and for students in kindergarten through college for mid-week performances. For more information please call (515) 961-6221 or visit

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