Vanity at Versailles

Rameau’s colorful ballet “buffon” made a splash at its premiere at Versailles in 1745, and now the marsh nymph prepares to make her debut on DMMO’s mainstage. It’s strange to imagine how an opera that is primarily an exercise in comeuppance was commissioned for a wedding celebration. Platée was composed for the nuptials of the…

Long Live the Queen

While Eugene Onegin is his most popular opera, The Queen of Spades may be Tchaikovsky’s best. In it, the composer of The Nutcracker and Swan Lake tackles Pushkin’s eerie Russian ghost story. If any composer embodies the essence of “Russianness,” it is Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky, whose music often evokes his country’s landscape and is characterized…

Attend the Tale

Des Moines Metro Opera founder Robert L. Larsen explains how Sondheim’s musical thriller came from Broadway to Des Moines Metro Opera’s stage. The origin of this strange tale may have been a recorded murder in the later 18th century in the area of Fleet Street in London. A version appeared in serialized form for The…