Make Him Laugh!

Notes from Kristine McIntyre, director of Flight: 

As a director, you always want the composer to love the show. If the opera is a comedy – a rare thing among modern operas – then the bar feels even higher. You need to make them laugh.

So you can imagine how I felt in Austin a few years ago when Jonathan Dove sat down to watch a room run of Flight. He hadn’t yet seen the show, though he’d told me a few horror stories about previous productions: in Germany, the director didn’t think it was a comedy, so everything was very slow and very serious and very German. I figured that since we weren’t doing the High Germanic Art version, we stood a pretty good chance at success. But I can’t even describe to you my utter joy when I heard laughter from Jonathan’s end of the tech table. Real, genuine laughter. I’ve never heard a sweeter sound.

FLIGHT is that rare show that can make you laugh out loud and choke back tears almost all at once. It’s my kind of comedy – sharp, witty, physical and ultimately very human. It’s a piece that exposes all sorts of human foibles and then invites us to look a little deeper and appreciate the marvelous complexity of the human psyche. In the space of a few hours, all of the characters are transformed and each of them goes on an intense spiritual journey without ever leaving the airport terminal. Everything happens in this show: amnesia, birth, death, marital separation, new beginnings, sexual exploration, grief, joy and the discovery of a common cause. Like a great episode of M*A*S*H, the show pivots from comedy to tragedy and back again – turning on a dime in a way that takes your breath away, all the more because you never saw it coming. And all of this against the backdrop of one of the most innovative and entertaining scores in contemporary opera.

There’s a moment in Act 3 where slapstick comedy is suddenly followed by music so ethereal, so surreally lovely that your mouth hangs open in delight. I won’t tell you more – you’ll know it when you see and hear it. You’ll remember that I warned you. And it will make you wonder at the sheer musical and dramatic brilliance of a piece that is both so ordinary and so transporting. And yes, you’ll laugh, too.


Related Events:


Come Fly With Me! Opera as Journey
Thursday, May 31 at 7:00pm
Cloud Room, Des Moines International Airport

Join us for a unique experience at the Cloud Room of the Des Moines International Airport as director Kristine McIntyre previews DMMO’s new production of Jonathan Dove’s FLIGHT. Enjoy musical excerpts from the opera and stay afterward for a themed reception. Take a journey at the airport without ever having to go through security!

Flight (2).jpg

Jonathan Dove’s FLIGHT
June 30, July 8, 10 and 13

Flight is an opera bustling with the endless possibilities of air travel. Inspired by the true story of a refugee stranded for 18 years in the Charles de Gaulle airport, eight strangers find themselves stuck overnight together in an airport due to a sudden and severe electrical storm. Whether seeking to rekindle a marriage on the rocks, start a new career or pursue a holiday romance, Flight‘s characters remind us of our constant human need to recreate ourselves and our relationships.

Jonathan Dove’s inventive score and dramatist April de Angelis’ deeply human libretto create an original modern-day operatic comedy and a breakthrough theatrical experience.

Learn more>
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Artist Bios:


Kristine McIntyre has directed over 80 different operas across the nation. With a background in theatre, the stage director specializes in contemporary American opera. McIntyre returns to DMMO this summer to direct Jonathan Dove’s Flight and will be previewing the sky-high opera at a free event in the Cloud Room of the Des Moines International Airport on May 31 at 7:00pm. Event link. This will be McIntyre’s 11th production with DMMO. Previous productions include: As One (2017), Billy Budd (2017), Soldier Songs (2017), Manon (2016), Jenůfa (2015), Three Decembers (2014), Dead Man Walking (2014), Peter Grimes (2013), Eugene Onegin (2012), La Bohème (2011).


Jonathon Dove will be making his premiere at Des Moines Metro Opera this season. The Cambridge alum is known best for his over 20 operatic works which have been performed on stages throughout the world. With a background in accompaniment and arranging, Dove brings opera and the voice to a new level of fresh modernism. Flight, which was commissioned in 1998 by Glyndebourne and has been broadcast in the U.S., Europe, and Australia, was his first commission and is his most famous work to date.


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