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Welcome! Welcome to the 2015 Spring/Summer issue of Vivace, Des Moines Metro Opera’s bi-annual newsletter. We are pleased to be able to provide you this pre-season update thanks to presenting sponsor Community Bank with additional support from the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau. Since last summer there has been much to celebrate. Des Moines Metro Opera received the 2015 Encore Award presented by Bravo Greater Des Moines at its annual gala. Our 2nd Stages Series production of Heggie’s Three Decembers in collaboration with Stage West Theatre Company was an artistic milestone. Our annual Wine and Food Showcase exceeded goals and expectations. The OPERA Iowa Educational Touring Troupe completed 29 years as Iowa's largest and most expansive program in arts education—serving nearly 26,000 children and adults. We take pride in our accomplishments. They are the result of efforts by a group of remarkable individuals who share DMMO’s commitment to be the very best. I’m often asked what factors go into consideration when creating a season. Besides casting and market appeal, striking the right balance between our operas is critical since so many in our audience see all three productions over a weekend—some choosing to come from great distances. Industry reports tell us that modern audiences are increasingly hungry to experience operas they have never seen before in favor of seeing a popular standard for the fourth or fifth time. Our recent efforts to feature titles new to our company have been well received, but we have no plans to abandon the great works of Mozart, Verdi and Puccini—as this season demonstrates. Choosing that perfect balance of repertory is just as important as detailed casting—and I believe Des Moines Metro Opera is very good at both!


The tapestry of titles for the 2015 Summer Festival Season is remarkable. We open the season with a vibrant and colorful new production of Mozart’s youthful masterpiece The Abduction from the Seraglio. Then we turn to the ever-popular Puccini for The Girl of the Golden West, an opera set in the American West during the Gold Rush, but still wrapped in an unmistakably Italian score. The season concludes with a company premiere of a rarely performed masterpiece, Janáček’s early opera Jenůfa, which will be our first production sung in Czech. In the 2nd Stages Series, we partner with the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden to present Catán’s Rappaccini’s Daughter in their stunning, newly remodeled facility. Because great works of art build bridges into our community, we created the Staging Connections series to explore the intersection between our season's themes and the disciplines highlighted by them. Details about these events can be found in the following pages for each production or at Both subscriptions and single tickets are on sale now, but don’t wait to purchase yours. Popular dates are filling up quickly. I look forward to seeing and greeting you at the opera this summer.

Michael Egel, General and Artistic Director

CONTENTS 3 5 7 9



A Look Back The Abduction from the Seraglio The Girl of the Golden West Jenůfa

Vivace newsletter, Spring/Summer 2015, is published bi-annually by Des Moines Metro Opera, Inc., 106 West Boston Avenue, Indianola, Iowa 50125-1836. Volume 2, Issue 2.











A Look Back


DEAD MAN WALKING “Powerful, gripping, thought-provoking and upsetting. I cried all the way home. So beautiful and disturbing.” —Linda Vanderpool, Des Moines, IA

LA RONDINE “Essential unexpected U.S. summer opera venue.” —Opera News






LA TRAVIATA “We attended last night, and the cast/ production was wonderful. This was our first exposure and we are coming back. Thank you for bringing great opera to the Midwest in the summer.” —Peter Dahlen, Northfield, MN

THREE DECEMBERS “The production of Three Decembers was truly an artistic tour de force. I was emotionally wrought, but in a way that challenged me to ask questions and dig deep." —Mary Kelly, Des Moines, IA

THE TRAGEDY OF CARMEN “Combine a new adventure and a new venue. The 2nd Stages program of The Tragedy of Carmen grabbed this first-time opera patron from the opening scene! Great costumes, amazing staging and the eclectic venue were a trifecta in my book.” —Kim Fankhauser, Des Moines, IA

LE COMTE ORY “Italy may have something they could learn from Indianola.” —Opera Today




Turkish Delights With The Abduction from the Seraglio, Mozart concocts an opera that dares as much as it delights BY DEAN WILLIAMSON, CONDUCTOR


brash young 25-year-old Mozart arrived in Vienna determined to take the city by storm. The Viennese opera scene of 1781 was a heady mix of burgeoning styles. Opera seria was considered old-fashioned. Italian comic opera was all the rage. “Rescue opera" appeared, where characters were saved from danger amidst glorious humanistic redemption. Also running parallel to these movements was the odd side road of "singspiel" (musical numbers mixed with spoken dialogue), the precursor to operetta and Broadway musical theater. Mozart quickly made his name and accepted a commission by Emperor Joseph II to write a singspiel for the German theater. Disdainful of the silly libretti of Italian opera, he conceived The Abduction from the Seraglio as a comedy with heart. Here is an opera that bursts at the seams with the energy and brilliance of a young Mozart throwing himself headlong into composing. Indeed, the infamous story of Joseph II complaining about too many notes is attributed to Abduction! Abduction made use of the fashion of the time for things Turkish or “Oriental.” The sound of the Janissary






or Ottoman Empire military band is prevalent in the orchestration. Mozart made liberal use of various types of percussion and the piccolo—his interpretation of the Turkish drums and wind instruments the Sultan’s musicians might have played. Mozart also understood the voice and adored singers (in fact, he married one). He took advantage of their unique abilities, such as wide leaps (Osmin) and agility (Konstanze). In Abduction each aria is a showpiece, and if that weren't enough he includes four soloists from the orchestra, making a concerto for five in the middle of an opera! Here is the bold young Mozart at his best, showing off to impress the people of Vienna. When conducting Mozart, I always experience moments of amazement on the podium, no matter how many times I’ve done that particular opera. He links the music with the soul of each character better than anyone had accomplished before. Abduction is full of daring harmonic shifts, stunning legato lines, wellplaced dissonances, and breathtakingly beautiful moments that capture the human spirit. •

DESIGNER NOTES JACOB CLIMER, SCENIC AND COSTUME DESIGNER Abduction is beautifully intricate, and I wanted to reflect that same level of detail in the costumes— layers of adornment that could be seen as frivolous but are actually integral to their form. The piece itself fetishizes notions of Eastern culture, so it became important that I make sure the divide between East and West wasn't only present but heightened, romanticizing both equally. For the set, I wanted to make sure it felt resplendent and rich without sacrificing how trapped the four Westerners feel. I needed to create a place from which escape was necessary but which still feels lovely and lavish.

Meet the Artists AMANDA WOODBURY, Konstanze In 2014 Ms. Woodbury scored two major competition victories. She was a Grand Finalist at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and was the Audience Favorite and received the 2nd Prize award at Placido Domingo’s international Operalia competition. Next season she sings Musetta in La Bohème at the Los Angeles Opera and Leila in The Pearl Fishers at the Metropolitan Opera. BENJAMIN BLISS, Belmonte The Prairie Village, Kansas, native made his Metropolitan Opera debut this December as Vogelgesang in Die Meistersing von Nürnburg. Mr. Bliss was the winner of the Zarzuela Prize at Operalia in 2013. Upcoming engagements include Belmonte for both the Glyndebourne Festival Tour and the Metropolitan Opera, as well as Tamino in The Magic Flute at the Los Angeles Opera. ASHLEY EMERSON, Blonde The role of Constance in Dialogues of the Carmelites has been a staple this year for Ms. Emerson, having sung it for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Washington National Opera. She also appeared at the Metropolitan Opera as Barbarina in Richard Eyre’s new production of The Marriage of Figaro. Other roles include the Maid in Powder Her Face and Tebaldo in Don Carlos for Opera Philadelphia.



STAGING CONNECTIONS MAY 14 7pm AMADEUS Film Screening, Fleur Cinema and Café Join us for a special screening of the Academy Award-winning film Amadeus (1984). The story is a fictionalization of composer Antonio Salieri’s envy and subsequent ruination of the young Mozart, and highlights The Abduction from the Seraglio. The film is rated R and will be introduced by local film critic and opera enthusiast Nick Renkoski. $5

THE ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart June 26* | July 3* | July 11 7:30PM June 28 | July 19 2:00PM *BEST AVAILABILITY

CONDUCTOR Dean Williamson STAGE DIRECTOR Chas Rader-Shieber

JONATHAN BLALOCK, Pedrillo Recent performances for Mr. Blalock include the world premiere of Huang Ro’s An American Soldier for Washington National Opera and the Burrowing Mole in Tobias Picker’s The Fantastic Mr. Fox for San Antonio Opera. Upcoming roles include the title role of Candide for Emerald City Opera and the title role in Adamo’s new opera Becoming Santa Claus for the Dallas Opera. MATT BOEHLER, Osmin Mr. Boehler's return to Des Moines Metro Opera (where he was an apprentice artist in 2000) follows his role debut as Méphistophélès in Faust for Michigan Opera Theatre, Sir Walter Raleigh in Roberto Devereux for Canadian Opera Company and the role of Bertrand in Iolanta at the Metropolitan Opera. He also debuts at the Dallas Opera next season in Adamo’s Becoming Santa Claus. DAVID ADAM MOORE, Pasha Selim Since his DMMO debut last season as Joseph De Rocher in Dead Man Walking, Mr. Moore has appeared as Melisso in Alcina with the White Box Gallery in New York, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte at Utah Opera and the title role in Eugene Onegin with Arizona Opera. His acclaimed baritone voice will also be heard this season in the role of Rappaccini in Rappaccini’s Daughter.






GOLDEN GIRL In The Girl of the Golden West, Puccini veers into new territory, but still remains true to his roots BY DOUG SHOLZ-CARLSON


a Vampira Indiana, the first Italian Western on film, directed by Sergio Leone’s father and starring his mother, opened in 1913. Three years prior, and at the height of his career, Giacomo Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West (The Girl of the Golden West) premiered at the Metropolitan Opera. In other words, Fanciulla is the first “Spaghetti Western.” That’s part of what is so much fun about this opera, but it’s not why I fell in love with it. Publicity for the New York premiere called Fanciulla the first American opera. It is arguably the first major European opera to premiere in America, but it is an Italian opera by one of the greatest Italian opera composers. I didn’t fall in love with it as an American opera. Puccini described Fanciulla as a redemption story. Perhaps we can fall in love with it for that reason, but even the composer’s claims merit scrutiny.





Our heroine Minnie has two suitors: one is Jack Rance, the sheriff who has loved her for years and who is honest and true to his word; the other is Dick Johnson who lies to her about his profession, his reason for coming to her and even his name. Can it really be called redemption for Minnie to prefer a lying bandit to an earnest man? Of course not, but Minnie isn’t looking for redemption. Nick the bartender puts it best when Rance asks him what she sees in Johnson: "She sees love. Love. Paradise. Hell. It is what it is. The whole damned world falls in love. The time has come—even for Minnie." Within these lines is the reason why I fell in love with The Girl of the Golden West. We appreciate the idea of redemption and are entertained by Westerns, but we come to the opera because

it opens our hearts. Love is unexpected and often undeserved. È quello che é—"It is what it is." The theme representing love in Puccini's score comes in without logic. It transports us every time.

THE GIRL OF THE GOLDEN WEST Giacomo Puccini June 27 | July 14 | July 17 7:30PM July 4 (Saturday) | July 12 (Sunday) 2:00PM

I fell in love with this opera because it’s complicated. These characters are tough and live in a violent world, and yet the story hinges on unexpected, undeserved forgiveness. This is an opera about grace. If you are new to this opera, sit back and enjoy the ride. Don’t look too hard for justice; don’t worry too much about logic. I hope that you, like me, will fall in love with The Girl of the Golden West. • Doug Sholz-Carlson is a Minnesota-based stage director, actor and fight choreographer and is the Artistic Director of the Great River Shakespeare Festive in Winona, MN.

Jonathan Burton DICK JOHNSON

Kristopher Irmiter JACK RANCE



ALEXANDRA LOBIANCO broadcasts on National Public Radio. “Opera was how I found myself. I loved the music, the characters and the stories. I fell in love with the visceral connection that operatic singing creates,” she says. That early exposure has led to a burgeoning career that has already taken her to Seattle Opera, Madison Opera and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Since Minnie is sometimes called "the Italian Brunnhilde," it isn’t surprising that this up-and-coming young soprano has already made forays into the formidable works by Richard Wagner. One of her earliest roles as a soprano was Sieglinde, and last season saw her role debut in Brunnhilde in Die Walküre in St. Louis (pictured left). At the center of The Girl of the Golden West stands Minnie, one of two women in a cast dominated almost entirely by men. The music written for this legendary role is among the most daunting in all of opera—requiring a dramatic soprano capable of easily and quickly moving between vocal, dynamic and dramatic extremes. The character itself was something new for Puccini. Unlike the sad, putupon, mostly doomed leading ladies of his six previous operas, Minnie is a tough cookie who takes a gun, and fate, firmly in hand. The role represents an ideal compromise between the tragic, doomed heroines of his earlier works and the femmes fatales he was exploring for his upcoming operas. That, and she has a happy ending! Making her Des Moines Metro Opera debut in this title role is dramatic soprano Alexandra LoBianco. Originally from St. Petersburg, Florida, LoBianco found her way into a love for opera through classical music

The idea of tackling the role of Minnie is exhilarating, and LoBianco is excited to add the role to a resumè that already includes two iconic Puccini heroines— Turandot and Tosca. “Puccini is a master storyteller and his music is incredible,” says LoBianco. On preparing for Minnie, she adds, “The music matches her character from the moment she steps on stage —she opens up immediately and we see that she has a very big heart.” Friends and mentors have noted common personality traits between artist and role, about which she says, “While I don’t own a saloon, I do love beer, play poker and was a marksman in my youth—I feel like the Annie Oakley of the opera world!” When asked to suggest an aspect of the role about which she is most excited, she says, “I was a competitive horseback rider when I was younger and I’m actually most excited about the possibility of riding a horse on stage!” Will she ride again or won’t she? Get your tickets to find out!








Like the bucolic milltown surrounding it, Jenůfa is much more than it appears BY KRISTINE MCINTYRE, STAGE DIRECTOR Woman in the Wilderness, 1923, Alphonse Maria Mucha (1860–1939). Mucha Foundation, Prague, Czech Republic


he opera Jenůfa has a way of sneaking up on you, of suddenly grabbing you by the heartstrings with moments of jaw-dropping beauty, often when you least expect it. You never see it coming, and, convinced that this is just a little village story with really pretty music, it’s easy to be lulled into thinking you know how it’s all going to go. But then the storytelling shifts, a melody emerges, a nerve is exposed, and the result is so beautiful, so perfect and so entirely unexpected that it literally takes your breath away. I had that experience a few weeks ago sitting in my studio in Portland while working on the big chorus scene of Act I. Števa has just come home drunk with half the village in tow. He’s celebrating the fact that he wasn’t drafted into the army, and this is good news for Jenůfa because she’s secretly pregnant with his




child and they need to get married right away. Števa’s a spendthrift and a good-for-nothing, and everyone with any sense can see that he’s all wrong for Jenůfa. Kostelnička, Jenůfa’s foster mother, knows it and she forbids the wedding unless Števa quits drinking for a year. Jenůfa pleads with Števa to talk to Kostelnička and explain the situation, but he refuses and is cruel to her. Jenůfa is in despair, almost at wit's end, when Grandmother comforts her by saying that everyone must endure some measure of sorrow. The kindly mill foreman echoes that sentiment and then the whole chorus joins in, and for the first time in the opera, everyone onstage is singing the same words and the same dark, beautiful music. The rowdy villagers have put their dancing and their popular songs aside and become a Greek chorus. Suddenly Jenůfa joins them, her voice rising above the rest—and for a

moment we are all in touch with some sort of mysterious eastern-European wisdom of the ages, soulful, grief-filled, and true. It’s a great example of what Peter Sellar calls “the irrational beauty of opera” and it’s one of the things that Janáček does best. I knew it was coming and I was still totally unprepared for the power of that scene. The poet Robert Frost once said that poetry is a way of taking life by the throat, and I think that’s what Janáček does in this extraordinary opera. The story is based on a play by Gabriela Preissová, who herself was inspired by real events and newspaper stories. Janáček was determined to do the play justice and write a real Moravian opera so he paid particular attention to the setting of the text. It’s all done in a very conversational style, and perhaps it’s this “everydayness” that lowers our defenses, so that the big moments seem to come out of nowhere. But before we realize it, the everyday has been transformed into the extraordinary and we are lifted into another realm entirely. The opera does take us by the throat— and doesn’t let us go until the final transcendent and ultimately joyful moments. •

JENŮFA Leoš Janáček July 7 | July 10 | July 16 | July 18 7:30PM July 5 2:00PM CONDUCTOR David Neely STAGE DIRECTOR Kristine McIntyre Go behind the scenes and be a part of history as Iowa Public Television cameras record Jenůfa on July 16 for later broadcast! This fascinating peek behind the camera work required to film opera in our theatre is a unique way to experience live performance.

STAGING CONNECTIONS JUNE 4 7pm National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library, 1400 Inspiration Pl SW, Cedar Rapids, IA Join us at the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids, IA, for a fascinating exploration of the music in the opera Jenůfa by Leos Janáček. Principal Conductor David Neely and Stage Director Kristine McIntyre will lead a presentation, including music performances by principal artists. Joining the discussion will be Klára Moldová, specialist in Czech language and literature and an instructor for the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Chicago. Refreshments will follow the presentations and performances. Free

Meet the Artists The musical and dramatic requirements set forth in the operas of Leoš Janáček are unlike anything else in the repertory. The efforts undertaken by cast, creative team and orchestra to prepare a new production of this beautiful score will yield tremendous rewards for artists and audience members alike as Des Moines Metro Opera expands its repertory to include its first Czech language production. Fortunately, the artists assembled for the production are more than equal to the task!

Audience favorite BRENDA HARRIS returns to portray one of Janáček’s most vivid characters— a domineering stepmother forced to deal with her unwed stepdaughter’s pregnancy and who is driven to perform a monstrous act. Since her most recent appearance in the title role of Elektra, Minnesota Opera audiences have heard Ms. Harris as Eleanor Iselin in the world premiere of The Manchurian Candidate. Soprano SARA GARTLAND returns to the company for her role debut as Jenůfa, a woman who discovers the transformative power of love and forgiveness. DMMO audiences will remember Ms. Gartland from her recent appearance as Juliette in 2013’s Romeo and Juliet. Since then, her career has taken her to the San Diego Opera, Utah Opera and the Austin Lyric Opera. In the 45 years since her professional debut, JOYCE CASTLE has appeared with every major opera company in the United States—including the Metropolitan, the Lyric Opera of Chicago and companies in Seattle, Santa Fe, Houston and Washington, D.C.­—and has performed in Spain, Japan, Belgium, Germany, Canada, Israel, Italy, Brazil and France. The legendary figure of opera will appear as Grandmother Buryjovka this summer, a return to DMMO since her acclaimed debut as Klytemnästra in 2013’s Elektra. This March, tenor JOSEPH DENNIS was named a Grand Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. In 2014 he made national headlines as the title role in the U.S. premiere of Dr. Sun Yat-sen for Santa Fe Opera —going from understudy to lead in under two weeks and performing the role in Chinese! Mr. Dennis makes his debut at DMMO in the role of Števa. Following this summer, Mr. Dennis becomes an ensemble member a the Vienna State Opera. Making his DMMO debut in the strenuous and challenging role of Laca, Števa’s jealous halfbrother, is tenor RICHARD COX. A former member of the ensemble at Frankfurt Opera, Mr. Cox joins the company following appearances this season at the Metropolitan Opera and with the San Francisco Symphony.






RAPPACCINI’S DAUGHTER STAGING CONNECTIONS MAY 17 “Deadly Cures: Medical Discoveries from Poisonous Plants” Presentation 2pm, Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden In Rappaccini’s Daughter, a scientist’s secret experiments with poisonous plants negatively affect his daughter. In real life, however, people have discovered ingenious ways to transform and make use of plant poisons in beneficial ways. Dr. Cassandra Quave, ethnobotanist and curator of the Emory Herbarium at Emory University, will give a lecture co-presented by the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden and Des Moines Metro Opera. $10 JUNE 1–AUGUST 31 “Plants of Life, Plants of Death. In This Garden They Entwine” Juried Art Exhibit and Gallery Show Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden “Plants of life, plants of death. In this garden they entwine,” sings Rappaccini. The magic and mystery that this line of text invokes will be represented in exclusively visual terms by Grand View University art students in this exhibit of art and images. The exhibit will be available prior to the performances and to visitors of the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden during regular business hours. Free

Based on a short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne, this one-act opera is the tale of a doctor who seeks to protect his daughter by keeping her locked in a garden where he experiments with poisonous plants. The gorgeous outdoor setting of the Koehn Garden at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden will make this an event not to be missed. Folding chairs will be available or guests can bring a blanket for ground seating. Inclement weather date set for July 13. Pre-performance dinners by Trellis will be offered at $25 per person for boxed dinners and $45 for plated dinners. For a menu, visit •

RAPPACCINI’S DAUGHTER Daniel Catán July 9 | July 12 8:30

Zulimar López-Hernández BEATRIZ

Mackenzie Whitney GIOVANNI

Complete cast and production information at








The education division at Des Moines Metro Opera is a source of pride for the company and consequently, is one of our most significant investments of valuable resources. Chief among the efforts is the OPERA Iowa Educational Touring Troupe which has taken to the highways, gravel See Opera in a Whole New Way! roads, streets and interstates of the Midwest for 29 years. Since its inception, OPERA Iowa has appeared before 800,000 children and adults in ten states, dozens of times in all 99 Iowa counties and even China and Japan! The program annually serves roughly 26,000 students—making it Iowa’s largest and most expansive program in arts education.

Photo courtesy of Business Publications Corporation.

The 2015 tour included performances of an operatic version of The Billy Goats Gruff featuring a strong antibullying message that was very popular with schools. Also for the first time in 2015, OPERA Iowa presented evening performances of Rossini’s Cinderella for See Operaaudiences. in a Whole Way! was seen in 18 community TheNew production communities, making it the most popular title in the tour’s history. Supporters like the Westminster Presbyterian Fine Arts Series in Des Moines added a touch of fun to the event by encouraging the youngest attendees to come dressed as their favorite princesses!

An OPERA Iowa residency is about learning and having fun through live performance and music, and the handwritten notes and drawings from students continue to roll in from our visits to places like Sioux City, Cedar Rapids, Algona, Spencer, Keokuk, Clarinda, Spirit Lake, Union, Oskaloosa, Orange City, Davenport, DeWitt and Des Moines. Some even come from teachers like Vicki Arnold in Iowa City, who wrote, “This is an experience these kids will never forget. They’ll have this to remember their whole lives, to make sure they know there is something out there called ‘opera’ and that it’s a good thing, that it’s special.” OPERA Iowa is booking for its winter/spring 2016 tour! For information on hosting The Billy Goats Gruff or Cinderella in your school or community, call 515-961-6221 or email

CORPORATE CONNECTION News flash! The vibrant arts scene enjoyed by Central Iowa residents and visitors is not happenstance. Government officials, philanthropic leaders, arts organization directors, and corporate partners collaborate to ensure a breadth and quality of arts offerings unparalleled in cities of similar size. We prove, every day, that working together, Des Moines gets it done and does it well. And when we each do a little bit...when we all do our's effortless. DuPont Pioneer has done its bit to support Des Moines Metro Opera for many years and in many ways. Why? It's simple really. Top talent is in short supply and in much demand around the world. Des Moines needs people who have a choice to choose Des Moines. So why do talented and interesting people choose Des Moines? I point to the world class arts we offer, such as the Des Moines Metro Opera, which is one of Central Iowa's premier arts organizations. In addition to the very successful annual summer opera festivals, DMMO also engages youth with such programs as the OPERA Iowa Educational Touring Troupe, the Apprentice Artist Program, Raising Voices-Rising Stars and OPERAtion Opera. In short, our highly acclaimed hometown regional opera company helps to attract and retain top talent and prepares young minds for success in the classroom. And DuPont Pioneer does their bit to ensure DMMO is able to do theirs. See—isn't that simple? Michelle Book DuPont Pioneer Community and Academic Relations


The Encore


One Omaha woman's passion for Des Moines Metro Opera inspires smiles for generations to come

Recently a Des Moines Metro Opera staff member opened the mail, as she does every day. This day, however, brought a surprise that made everyone in the office smile. Why, you might ask?

She did just that, meeting her love of travel, opera and the arts head on. The next six years included extensive trips around the United States, Europe, Egypt and beyond. After many great adventures, Annie passed away in 2013.

Smiling is what happens when one is able to see the impact Des Moines Metro Opera has had upon an individual. On this particular day, the company received news that a very generous gift had been left to the company by Annie French Zinn, a long-time patron from Omaha, Nebraska, who had been attending the Summer Festival for over 15 years. Her visit to Iowa was one of several travels she enjoyed annually.

Annie’s estate gift of over $135,000 will have a lasting impact on DMMO. All estate gifts benefit DMMO’s endowment fund—which helps to secure the dream of opera in Iowa for future generations. It is especially meaningful to receive a gift from one who travels to us from out of state but still acknowledges that opera is for all people. Annie Zinn’s remarkable gift challenges all who love opera to be a catalyst for continued sustainability by making a planned gift to Des Moines Metro Opera.


Annie Zinn was a special education teacher for the Omaha Public School System for many years. A great lover of the performing arts, Annie was especially fond of opera and art museums. In the later years of her life, she was diagnosed with a serious illness. Instead of “giving into the inevitable,” Annie made a decision to experience all of life she could with her remaining time. It was time to “live out her dreams.”

Earlier this year Des Moines Metro Opera welcomed two new faces to our year-round staff. DEANNA SARGENT joined the company as Director of Marketing and Communications following recent work at UnityPoint Foundation and St. Pius X Catholic School and Parish. ADAM BOGH, a graduate of Luther College in Music and Business, joined the staff as the Development Officer following his work at the Ames Center in Burnsville, MN.

Bravo Greater Des Moines presented its 2015 Encore Award to Des Moines Metro Opera at its annual gala on February 7. Each year the Encore Award is given to a Des Moines area organization that exemplifies Bravo’s core values of collaboration, accountability, regional impact, resourcefulness and passion for arts and culture. General and Artistic Director Michael Egel is pictured with Board President Adrienne McFarland at the Bravo Gala.

New productions and scenery are a customary part of each Summer Festival Season, but did you know that DMMO productions are making the rounds this year? Our 2014 co-production of La Traviata was presented by Virginia Opera in early March, and the company’s Dead Man Walking production was presented in Dayton, Ohio, in February. This season’s new production of Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio is being co-produced with Kentucky Opera who will present it in a later season.


A planned gift of any amount is important, easy to give, and is truly one that makes a difference. If you are interested in learning more about how you can “leave your legacy” to Des Moines Metro Opera, please contact Ellen Diehl, Director of Advancement and Operations, at 515-961-6992 or by email at •







4:30pm Drinks at the Polka Saloon

in the Act I set oņstage at the Blank Performing Arts Center

5:30pm Dinner at Hubbell Hall

featuring the Arias Auction and other highfalutin’ goods

7:30pm The Girl of the Golden West 10:30pm Dancin’ into the night at

the Outlaw’s Afterparty

Prepare to experience the rush of the “Gold West” at Des Moines Metro Opera’s Gold Rush Gala, followed by the opening night performance of Puccini’s The Girl of the Golden West! Tickets are $125 per person. Price includes dinner and cocktails (opera tickets are sold separately). Raise the stakes and sponsor an artist at your table for $100. Old West finery encouraged and admired, but ten-gallon hats must be removed for opera. WARNING: Gunshots may be fired!

Times and dates are subject to change. Call 515-961-6221 or visit for information or tickets.

MAY 30 DEATH BY ARIA Blank Performing Arts Center, 6:30pm $25 at the door, free for donors at the $1,000 Patron Level or above The 40 aspiring singers selected as 2015 Apprentice Artists open the season in the theatre lobby with their signature aria. Come early, leave if you must, but enjoy all (or a portion of) the evening's music!

APPRENTICE ARTIST SCENES PROGRAM Free JUNE 6 Des Moines Art Center, 4:00pm JUNE 12, 20, 27, JULY 3, 11, 17 Lekberg Hall, Simpson College, 1:30pm Members of the acclaimed Apprentice Artist Program prepare and perform more than 40 scenes and opera excerpts drawn from all corners of the operatic repertory—featuring works from all eras, styles and languages.

JUNE 13 THREADS & TRILLS COSTUME SHOW AND LUNCHEON Embassy Club West, 12:00noon $40/person Get a sneak peek at the costumes from the festival season and be treated to an excellent meal while enjoying arias and duets sung by principal artists.

JUNE 18 & 20 PEANUT BUTTER & PUCCINI Blank Performing Arts Center, 11:00am $10/person Our annual family opera adventure includes a kid-friendly opera, a peanut butter sack lunch and a backstage tour of the theatre.

JULY 5 CHAMBER MUSIC CONCERT Lekberg Hall, Simpson College Campus, 7:30pm Free Members of the festival orchestra perform selections from classical and contemporary works.

JULY 15 STARS OF TOMORROW Sheslow Auditorium, Drake University, 7:00pm $25/adults, $10/students Apprentice Artists and Festival Orchestra members present duets and ensembles. Tickets include a dessert reception following the concert.


Purchase online at or call 515-961-6221 and use code: SPRING43

2015 SUBSCRIPTION SERIES A1 Friday 6/26 or 7/3 | 7/10 | 7/17 Saturday 6/27 or 7/4 | 7/11 | 7/18 Sunday 6/28 or 7/19 | 7/5 | 7/12 Weekend 2 7/3 | 7/4 | 7/5 Weekend 3 7/10 | 7/11 | 7/12 Weekend 4 7/17 | 7/18 | 7/19 Build-Your-Own




$240 $205 $180 $120 $245 $215 $185 $130 $245 $215 $185 $130 $230 $195 $170 $120 $230 $195 $170 $120 $230 $195 $170 $120 $245 $215 $185 $130

SINGLE TICKETS 6/26 | 6/27 | 6/28 | 7/7 | 7/14 | 7/16

$82 $70 $58 $46

7/3 | 7/4 | 7/5 | 7/10 | 7/11 | 7/12 7/17 | 7/18 | 7/19

$95 $80 $66 $49


Rappaccini's Daughter 7/9 | 7/12

$40 general seating

located on Simpson College campus, Indianola, IA VIVACE



Change Service Requested

Des Moines Metro Opera, Inc. 106 West Boston Avenue Indianola, IA 50125-1836


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Des Moines Metro Opera_Vivace_Spring 2015.indd 1

4/10/2015 9:35:43 AM

Vivace Spring/Summer 2015  

Find out what's new at Des Moines Metro Opera! OUR MISSION Des Moines Metro Opera is a nationally recognized progressive opera company that...

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