Young love, rekindled love, plotting couples, and a dinner that erupts into chaos – what more could an audience want in an evening at the opera? Illustrious actress Desiree Armfeldt has captured the affection of two men, Count Carl Magnus and Fredrik Egerman…both are married. Jealousy and passion abound as the two battle for Desiree’s heart sparking their mistrusting wives to seek their own journey of passion. The plot reaches a zenith when all of the players gather for a weekend in the country where emotions run rampant.
This beautiful production, opening Saturday, June 24, was designed and directed by American fashion icon Isaac Mizrahi in 2010 in St. Louis. The production was remounted by Houston Grand Opera in 2014, but this time with director Matthew Ozawa and conductor Eric Melear at the helm. DMMO is thrilled to welcome this same team to Indianola to lead our production of this tremendous work.
We are also excited to welcome back soprano Kelly Kaduce, following her successful debut last season as Alice Ford in Falstaff, as Desirée Armfeldt and her real life husband Lee Gregory, last seen as Maximiliian in Candide during our 30th anniversary season, as Count Carl Magnus. Troy Cook returns as Fredrik Egerman, and the unforgettable Elise Quagliata, praised for her portrayal of Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking, will sing Countess Charlotte Malcolm. The audience favorite Joyce Castle will play the iconic role of Madame Armfeldt. Completing the cast is debut soprano Lauren Snouffer and tenor Quinn Bernegger as Anne and Henrik.
Clive Barnes of The New York Times wrote “It is the remembrance of a few things past, and all to the sound of a waltz and the understanding smile of a memory. Good God! – an adult musical!” after the show opened in 1973. Des Moines Metro Opera is pleased to offer this musical gem as a focal point of this summer and Stephen Sondheim’s masterpiece, based off of Ingmar Bergman’s film “Smiles of a Summer Night,” offers a sophisticated yet subtle counterpoint to the pageantry of anniversary season celebrations. Secure your tickets today for what is sure to be an unforgettable night in the theatre!
FUN FACT: Set in Sweden at the turn of the 20th century, A Little Night Music explores a particularly interesting geographic oddity that occurs around our planet’s poles during the summer and winter months, a phenomenon called Midnight Sun. During the summer months in areas north of the Arctic Circle, the sun is visible in the sky for nearly the entire day, with each day’s sunlight growing in duration until the summer solstice in late June when the sun never sets. This particular occurrence (and how it affects a person’s body and mind) fascinated Sondheim, who included several passages in the show about “perpetual sunset.” The text below opens Act II, sung by the Liebeslieders (a five-person “Greek chorus” that reflects on the action of the story and provides witty commentary):
“The sun sits low, diffusing its usual glow. Five o’clock, twilight. Vespers sound and it’s six o’clock, twilight all around, but the sun sits low, as low as it’s going to go. Eight o’clock, twilight. How enthralling! It’s nine o’clock, twilight. Slowly crawling towards ten o’clock, twilight. Crickets calling, the vespers ring, the nightingale’s waiting to sing. The rest of us wait on a string. Perpetual sunset is rather an unsettling thing.”
Shortly thereafter, the Liebeslieders reflect on the days immediately following the summer solstice when the sun finally dips below the horizon, “The light is pink and the air is still, and the sun is slinking behind the hill. And when finally it sets, as finally it must, when finally it lets the moon and stars adjust, when finally we greet the dark and we’re breathing “Amen!” Surprise of surprises, it instantly rises again…”