This time of year is filled with excitement as the holiday season approaches. But eventually, the hustle and bustle will give way to a sense of joy and wonder that can be found in such abundance each December. I consider myself fortunate that two times each year I get to experience that sense of anticipation giving way to a wondrous event – once during the holiday season, and another as Des Moines Metro Opera prepares and then unveils each new Summer Festival Season. In the latter, that sense of anticipation mounts over the course of an entire year and results in the opportunity to share marvelous stories and music with appreciative friends and patrons like you.
This time around, I can barely contain my excitement. And with the repertory we have scheduled for our 45th Anniversary Season, can you blame me? We always work hard to create imaginative and appealing seasons for our audiences but this one feels very special to me personally. Our commitment to raising the curtain on works new to the organization diversifies our repertory and creates artistic vitality. I’m proud that our 2017 season includes two new pieces, both in English!
Britten’s Billy Budd has been on the wish list for a long time. DMMO’s premiere of a revised orchestration arranged by Britten’s associate and personal friend, Steuart Bedford, has been in the works for over three years. Our new production allows an examination of this grandly-scaled 20th century masterpiece in a way that feels new and exciting as we present a piece that was once possible only in the largest of opera houses. When our marvelous cast opens Billy Budd on July 1, they will present a moment we’ve all been waiting for and the Company will be able to put a checkmark next to a monumental bucket list item.
Sondheim musicals aren’t new to our repertory. We presented Sweeney Todd way back in 1995. His 1973 Tony Award-winning tour-de-force A Little Night Music is considered by many to be his finest creation and is certainly among the greatest of American musicals. Familiar tunes and sophisticated waltzes whisk us away for a weekend in the country with a marvelous cast of singing actors featuring important debuts and many audience favorites such as Joyce Castle and Kelly Kaduce. And if that isn’t enough, we will present this show with glorious costumes and unique scenery designed by American fashion icon Isaac Mizrahi.
When Alexandra LoBianco and Jonathan Burton made their house debuts in 2015’s The Girl of the Golden West, I knew that the discovery of these two world-class dramatic talents combined with the occasion of a 45th Anniversary meant it was time for Puccini’s Turandot to return to our stage for the 2017 Summer Festival Season. There is perhaps no opera better suited to mark a special occasion than this one. Featuring some of the world’s most popular melodies, our new production marks the directorial debut of an artist very special to the Company. Stephanie Sundine was our Aida, Ariadne and Tosca in the 1980s and has since become a successful and highly-regarded stage director. Together with Maestro Neely and an enormous cast and chorus, Turandot is an opera never to be missed!
Season tickets are moving quickly and the most popular dates will fill up soon so don’t wait to secure your seats at the best prices! In the meantime, I’ll work to control my excitement until June – it will be very difficult!