Because great works of art build bridges into our communities and lives, Des Moines Metro Opera created the Staging Connections Series to further explore the intersection between operatic performances and a multitude of connected disciplines. In the months leading up to our 45th Summer Festival Season, we are pleased to present an exciting slate of engagement opportunities connected to our upcoming productions. We hope you will join us as often as you can.
SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT Film Screening
May 18 – 7:00pm
Fleur Cinema and Café
4545 Fleur Drive, Des Moines
After fifteen films that received mostly local acclaim in his native Sweeden, the 1955 comedy Smiles of a Summer Night (Sommarnattens leende) at last ushered in an international audience for legendary film director Ingmar Bergman. In turn-of-the-century Sweden, four men and four women attempt to navigate the laws of attraction. During a weekend in the country, the women collude to force the men’s hands in matters of the heart, exposing their pretensions and insecurities along the way. Chock-full of flirtatious propositions and sharp witticisms delivered by such Swedish screen legends as Gunnar Björnstrand and Harriet Andersson, Smiles of a Summer Night is one of cinema’s great erotic comedies. This film was the inspiration for Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s Tony award winning musical A Little Night Music. This screening will be introduced by local film critic and opera enthusiast Nick Renkoski.
BILLY BUDD Film Screening
May 25 – 7:00pm
Fleur Cinema and Café
4545 Fleur Drive, Des Moines
The H.M.S. Avenger is headed into battle against the French fleet during the Napoleonic Wars, and the dark shadow of two recent mutinies in the English fleet concern Captain Vere (Peter Ustinov). He relies on his cruel and often sadistic Master-at-Arms John Claggart (Robert Ryan) to maintain what he believes to be tenuous order and discipline aboard the ship. When a new seaman, Billy Budd (Terence Stamp), is pressed into service from a passing merchantman, his innocent, happy-go-lucky attitude quickly endears him to both his messmates as well as the Captain and places him at the epicenter of a struggle between good and evil. Billy Budd is a 1962 CinemaScope film produced and written by Peter Ustinov and it earned its star Terrance Stamp, an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Based on Herman Melville’s short story that later inspired Benjamin Britten’s 1951 opera of the same name, this screening immerses you in the nautical world of the 18th Century British Navy. This screening will be introduced by local film critic and opera enthusiast Nick Renkoski.
THE INFINITE SEA: Nelson’s Navy, Melville and the Making of Billy Budd
June 1 – 7:00 pm
State Historical Museum of Iowa Auditorium
600 E Locust Street; Des Moines, 50319
Join us for a fascinating exploration of the world of Herman Melville and Benjamin Britten story of Billy Budd. Stage Director Kristine McIntyre will offer insights on the opera and provide a behind-the-scenes glimpse into Des Moines Metro Opera’s new production of this epic work. She will be joined by Dr. Dawn Coleman of the University of Tennessee Knoxville. Dr. Coleman’s research interests include 19th Century American literature and she also serves as a book review editor for Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies for the Melville Society. Together they will explore the world of Nelson’s Navy and the story of Billy Budd, sailor. The event is sponsored by the Des Moines Metro Opera Guild Council.
THE RIDDLE OF TURANDOT: Exploring Puccini’s Enigmatic Final Masterpiece
July 8 – 11:00am
Salisbury House & Gardens Common Room
4025 Tonawanda Drive, Des Moines
“My opera will be staged incomplete. Someone will come onto the stage and say to the public: ‘At this point the composer died’”. And so it went for Giacomo Puccini, the composer of masterpieces La Bohème, Tosca and Madama Butterfly. His grand opera setting of this ancient fairy tale set in an Imperial China of legend remained incomplete upon his death in 1924 and premiered unfinished in 1926. The traditional ending that audiences have come to love was added for the 2nd performance and has become a standard part of the piece. Join Maestro David Neely (the Marshall and Judy Flapan Principal Conductor and Music Director) and members of Des Moines Metro Opera’s Apprentice Artist Program to explore and learn more of the remarkable story behind this epic opera. Stay after to tour the beautiful Salisbury House and Gardens. Light refreshments will follow.
SAVE THE DATE:
June 9, 1:30pm – Apprentice Scenes Program #1
June 10, 12:00pm – Threads & Trills – Costume Show/Luncheon
June 17, 1:30pm – Apprentice Scenes Program #2
June 24, 5:00pm – A Little Night Gala – Opening Night Celebration
June 28, 1:30pm – Apprentice Scenes Program #3
July 1, 1:30pm – Apprentice Scenes Program #4
July 8, 1:30pm – Apprentice Scenes Program #5
July 12, 7:00pm – Stars of Tomorrow
July 15, 1:30pm – Apprentice Scenes Program #6