DMMO Announces Casting for 45th Summer Festival Season

Des Moines Metro Opera’s (DMMO) General and Artistic Director, Michael Egel, is pleased to announce the full casting for the Company’s 45th Summer Festival Season, which runs from June 23 through July 16, 2017, and offers 17 performances of four different operas. “Curating a diverse and compelling repertory that will appeal to both local ticket-buyers while building on DMMO’s growing audience of cultural tourists is one of the hallmarks of the Company. This year we mark the occasion of our 45th Anniversary Season with a remarkable set of works including three new productions and three titles which are new to the Company,” said Egel. Furthering the Company’s commitment to add new works to its repertory each year, the festival season includes Company premieres of Benjamin Britten’s rarely performed epic, Billy Budd, Stephen Sondheim’s elegant and witty A Little Night Music and Astor Piazzolla’s scintillating María de Buenos Aires as well as a new production of Giacomo Puccini’s grand Turandot.

The season features many notable returning artists, including Alexandra LoBianco and Jonathan Burton as Turandot and Prince Calaf in Turandot; Craig Verm as Billy Budd and Roger Honeywell as Captain Vere in Billy Budd; Kelly Kaduce as Desiree Armfeldt, Joyce Castle as Madame Armfeldt, Troy Cook as Fredrik Egerman and Lee Gregory as Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm in A Little Night Music. Elise Quagliata returns to sing the roles of María in María de Buenos Aires and Charlotte Malcolm in A Little Night Music. After an absence of 33 years, Stephanie Sundine returns to DMMO to serve as Stage Director for Turandot; Sundine memorably sang the title roles in the Company’s productions of Ariadne auf Naxos in 1980, Tosca in 1981 and Aïda in 1984. Kristine McIntyre returns as Stage Director for Billy Budd. DMMO Music Director and Principal Conductor David Neely leads the productions of Turandot and Billy Budd. The season also features 44 members of the Apprentice Artist Program, now in its 43rd year. “Des Moines Metro Opera has become known in recent years as a summer home for stunning vocalism, showcasing some of today’s most rapidly-rising young vocalists. This season will build on that reputation,” said Egel.

Notable company debuts include Zachary James as Claggart and Thomas Hammons as Dansker in Billy Budd; Lauren Snouffer as Anne Egerman in A Little Night Music; Vanessa Vasquez as Liù and Federico De Michelis as Timur in Turandot. Matthew Ozawa and Eric Melear make their Company debuts as Stage Director and Conductor for A Little Night Music.

The productions of Turandot, A Little Night Music and Billy Budd will be performed in rotating repertory in the intimate 466-seat Pote Theatre at the Blank Performing Arts Center in Indianola, Iowa. María de Buenos Aires will be presented at the Temple Theater in downtown Des Moines as part of the Company’s popular 2nd Stages Series, an initiative committed to creating collaborative performances designed to engage new audiences in unique spaces. Each opera of the festival will be performed in the original language of composition with English supertitles projected above the stage. The Des Moines Metro Opera Festival Orchestra, made up of professional musicians from across the country, will accompany all three mainstage productions. As always, Des Moines Metro Opera will continue to provide free opera previews prior to each performance.

Subscriptions to the 45th Summer Festival are currently available and start at $105 for a three-opera package. Single tickets go on sale Wednesday, February 1, 2017, with prices starting at $37. To purchase tickets or for more information about the summer festival, visit or call 515.961.6221.

Complete mainstage production information for the 45th Summer Festival Season:

*Debut artist


TURANDOT | Giacomo Puccini (1924)

New production. Previous productions in 1988 and 2002.

Six performances: June 23, 25(m), 30; July 8, 13(m), 16(m)

Sung in Italian with English supertitles.


Conductor: David Neely

Director: Stephanie Sundine

Scenic Designer: R. Keith Brumley

Lighting Designer: Barry Steele

Chorus Master: Lisa Hasson


Princess Turandot: Alexandra LoBianco

Calaf: Jonathan Burton

Emperor Altoum: Ryan Connelly

Timur: Federico De Michelis*

Liù: Vanessa Vasquez*

Ping: Michael Adams

Pang: Brian Frutiger

Pong: Chris Carr

A Mandarin: Timothy Bruno*

Puccini’s final opera is an epic fairy tale set in Imperial China where the beautiful Princess Turandot reigns with an icy heart and three impossible riddles. In order to win her hand, suitors must answer all correctly or face death by beheading. When a mysterious stranger emerges, the proud Turandot finds herself confronted with the most profound riddle of them all—love.



A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC | Stephen Sondheim (1973)

Company premiere.

Five performances: June 24; July 2(m), 5, 7, 15

Sung in English with English supertitles


Conductor: Eric Melear*

Stage Director: Matthew Ozawa*

Scenic & Costume Designer: Isaac Mizrahi*

Lighting Designer: Nate Wheatley

Choreographer: Todd Rhoades


Desiree Armfeldt: Kelly Kaduce

Fredrik Egerman: Troy Cook

Anne Egerman: Lauren Snouffer*

Henrick Egerman: Quinn Bernegger*

Madame Armfeldt: Joyce Castle

Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm: Lee Gregory

Charlotte Malcolm: Elise Quagliata

Petra: Melanie Long

Frid: John Graham

Mr. Lindquist: Charles H. Eaton

Mrs. Nordstrom: Jocelyn Hansen*

Mrs. Anderssen: Grace Kahl*

Mr. Erlanson: Christian Sanders

Mrs. Segstrom: Stephanie Schoenhofer

Stephen Sondheim’s stunning tour de force musical whisks us away for a weekend in the country where old flames rekindle and love affairs ignite among a famous actress and her weekend guests. Winner of six Tony awards—including Best Musical, Best Script and Best Score—this bittersweet comedy features the hit “Send in the Clowns,” with sets and costumes by iconic American fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi.



BILLY BUDD | Benjamin Britten (1951)

Company premiere. New production.

Four performances: July 1, 9(m), 11, 14

Sung in English with English supertitles


Conductor: David Neely

Stage Director: Kristine McIntyre

Scenic Designer: R. Keith Brumley

Costume Designer: Jonathan Knipscher

Lighting & Projection Designer: Barry Steele

Chorus Master: Lisa Hasson


Billy Budd: Craig Verm

Edward Fairfax Vere: Roger Honeywell

John Claggart: Zachary James*

Mr. Redburn: Dennis Jesse

Mr. Flint: Federico De Michelis*

Lieutenant Ratcliffe: Kristopher Irmiter

Red Whiskers: Steve Sanders

Donald: Michael Adams

Dansker: Thomas Hammons*

Novice: Christian Sanders

Novice’s Friend: Emmett O’Hanlon*

Squeak: Ryan Connelly

The Bosun: Timothy Bruno*

Maintop: Chris Carr

Arthur Jones: Ted Pickell*

1st Mate: Brandon Hendrickson

2nd Mate: Jesse Stock

One of opera’s most grandly scaled masterpieces, Billy Budd tells the story of the persecution and destruction of a young sailor by a predatory master-at-arms. From rollicking sea shanties to bombastic choral episodes, Benjamin Britten’s searing opera will roar to life in a spectacular new production that transforms a British man o’ war into a crucible for human faith and error. Through a partnership with the Benjamin Britten Estate, this production of Billy Budd will premiere a new performing edition of the opera with revised orchestration by leading Britten scholar and conductor, Steuart Bedford. “Bedford’s new orchestration reduces the wind and percussion sections of Britten’s original version. It has been in development for several years and Des Moines Metro Opera is pleased to present its premiere this season,” said Egel.

For additional information or to request season photography, contact Scott Arens at or 515.961.6221.

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