Des Moines Metro Opera announces repertory for 45th Summer Festival and 2nd Stages Series

Michael Egel, General and Artistic Director of Des Moines Metro Opera, has announced the repertory for the 2017 Summer Festival Season and 2nd Stages Series.

“I believe that every arts leader’s top job is to create a portfolio of “wow” projects that inspire energy and excitement,” said Michael Egel, General and Artistic Director at Des Moines Metro Opera. “I am pleased to announce our new ‘wow’ projects for 2017—our 45th Anniversary Season. The Season will include a company premiere of a production designed by Isaac Mizrahi, an on-site performance at Camp Dodge in Johnston, and the company premiere of an epic work by Benjamin Britten that has long been a dream of mine.”

For the 45th Summer Festival Season, three full-scale works will be presented in 15 performances between June 23 and July 16, 2017, at the Blank Performing Arts Center in Indianola, Iowa. The 45th Summer Festival Season continues Egel’s vision of producing one or more company premieres every summer.

Watch the video announcement below!


The following operas will be featured on the mainstage during the Company’s 45th Summer Festival (with subscription tickets available October 1, 2016):

turandot-webpageGiacomo Puccini’s TURANDOT – sung in Italian (New Production)
June 23, 30, July 8 – 7:30pm; June 25, July 13, 16 – 2:00pm

The season opens with Puccini’s final opera Turandot, an epic fairy tale set in a China of legend. A pairing of a most unusual score bursting with iconic music and visual spectacle, the production will feature Alexandra LoBianco in the title role and tenor Jonathan Burton as Calaf.

night-music-webpageStephen Sondheim’s A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC – sung in English (Company Premiere)
June 24 – 8:00pm; July 5, 7, 15 – 7:30pm; July 2 – 2:00pm

Musical theatre icon Stephen Sondheim’s works have received many of their most acclaimed productions in opera companies. His Tony Award-winning musical A Little Night Music creates a stunning tour de force by taking Ingmar Bergman’s film Smiles of a Summer Night and turning it into a musical of masterful elegance. Des Moines Metro Opera is proud to present this company premiere in a production with scenery and costumes by American fashion icon Isaac Mizrahi starring Kelly Kaduce as Desiree Armfeldt and Joyce Castle as Madame Armfeldt.

billy-budd-webpageBenjamin Britten’s BILLY BUDD – sung in English (Company Premiere)
July 1, 11, 14 – 7:30pm; July 9 – 2:00pm

The third opera of the Summer Festival Season is a new production of a company premiere that has been in development for several years. Benjamin Britten’s searing maritime opera Billy Budd will be presented in partnership with the Benjamin Britten Estate and Steuart Bedford. Des Moines Metro Opera will present a newly orchestrated version of the opera that has previously only been seen in the world’s largest opera houses. Leading the all-male cast is baritone Craig Verm in the title role and Roger Honeywell as Captain Vere.


The new season will also continue the Company’s 2nd Stages Series, another part of Egel’s new vision for the organization. Now entering its 4th year, this series is an initiative designed to present operas in non-traditional spaces in Des Moines proper. As part of the 2nd Stages Series, the Company will present the following productions:

David T. Little’s Soldier Songs – sung in English (Company Premiere) – Presented in collaboration with Camp Dodge (tickets available September 1, 2016)
January 27, 28 – 7:30pm; January 29 – 2:00pm; Freedom Center – Camp Dodge

Soldier Songs is an evening-length multimedia event from composer David T. Little that combines elements of theatre, opera and rock-infused concert music. Gripping and realistic, Soldier Songs traces the shift in perception of war from the age of 6 to the age of 66. We follow the lead character through the phases of life from boy to man: playing war games and violent video games as a youth, enlisting and serving in the military and the real-life horrors of war. Adapted from interviews with veterans of five wars, the work explores the ideas versus the realities of the Soldier, the exploration of loss and exploitation of innocence.

Astor Piazzolla’s María de Buenos Aires – sung in Spanish (Company Premiere); Presented in collaboration with NOCE Jazz and Cabaret Club (Tickets available February 1, 2017)
July 6 – 8:00pm; July 13 – 7:00pm and 9:00pm 

María de Buenos Aires is the steamy story of María, the young prostitute who “was born on the day God was drunk.” As María falls in love with tango, she is pulled into a surreal world that blurs religion, dance and rebirth. Piazzolla’s nuevo tango score and Horacio Ferrer’s mesmerizing poetry create an ethereal realm in this immersive production utilizing the backdrop of Des Moines’ new nightclub.

Audiences are encouraged to secure tickets early as seats for the 2nd Stages Series performances will be limited and performances customarily sell out.


Past subscribers are eligible to renew their Summer Festival Season subscriptions now. Beginning October 1, new subscriptions will be on sale to the general public. Subscribers can save up to 25% over buying single tickets and have the benefit of reserving their seats before single tickets go on sale. Full production and ticket information will be available by visiting desmoinesmetroopera.org after September 1 or by calling Des Moines Metro Opera’s box office at (515) 961-6221. Summer Festival Season subscriptions range in price from $110 to $252. New this year we are offering a motorcoach mini-subscription starting at $124 including travel and tickets to two shows.

Single tickets will go on sale February 1, 2017, and start at $37. Discounted tickets are available for groups of 10 or more adults and for students in kindergarten through college for mid-week performances.



Des Moines Metro Opera is a nationally recognized progressive opera company that has taken its place among America’s leading opera festivals. Founded in 1973, it is the state’s largest performing arts organization, annually producing over 100 performances in the metro area and around the state and region. Last year, 77,000 people experienced Des Moines Metro Opera programming via mainstage performances, educational programs and statewide television and radio broadcasts. In 2013 Opera News magazine called Des Moines Metro Opera an “Essential Unexpected U.S. Summer Opera Venue.”

The Company’s Summer Festival Season runs from May through July of each year during which three operas are performed in repertory for 15-16 mainstage performances. The Summer Festival Season takes place in the 466-seat Pote Theater at the Blank Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. Each season, the Company welcomes audiences from more than 35 the states, most Iowa counties, and several foreign countries. The 2017 Summer Festival Season runs from June 23 through July 16, 2017, at the Blank Performing Arts Center in Indianola. Featured will be Puccini’s Turandot, Sondheim’s A Little Night Music and Britten’s Billy Budd.

The Company develops audiences of all ages through five educational programs. The OPERA Iowa Educational Touring Troupe and the Apprentice Artist Program for singers are two of the long-standing, flagship programs of the education division. Des Moines Metro Opera serves more than 40,000 people each year across the state though its educational programming.

Des Moines Metro Opera serves its city as a cultural leader through unique community programming and collaborations. The 2nd Stages Series creates collaborative performances designed to engage audiences in creative spaces. This season’s 2nd Stages Series productions will feature Little’s Soldier Songs at the Camp Dodge in Johnson, Iowa, and Piazzolla’s María de Buenos Aires at Noce Jazz and Cabaret Club.

More information about Des Moines Metro Opera is available at desmoinesmetroopera.org.

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