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Go To The Opera With Iowa Public Radio This Summer

Duane Tinkey
Des Moines Metro Opera's 2018 performance of Jonathan Dove's "Flight."

For close to 50 summers, the Des Moines Metro Opera has been presenting knock-your-socks-off performances in Indianola. The DMMO, considered one of the major American summer opera festivals, produces more than 100 performances annually and receives rave reviews from the nationally acclaimed “Opera News” and “Opera Today.”

Since 2011, IPR Classical has traveled to Indianola to interview artists, produce and broadcast The Des Moines Metro Opera’s nationally-recognized mainstage performances.

Due to COVID-19, it was with a heavy heart the company had to cancel its live summer festival season. Instead, the opera is presenting a virtual festival. 

“In lieu of an in-person festival, Des Moines Metro Opera is teaming up with our friends at Iowa PBS to share online and televised presentations of our recent productions," artistic director Michael Egel said. 

Iowa Public Radio has more than 21 IPR audio productions of the DMMO’s award-winning opera performances in our opera library, and IPR Classical will broadcast four of Egel's favorite performances in collaboration with the DMMO’s upcoming 2020 Virtual Festival.

Hear DMMO performances on Iowa Public Radio Classical Saturday evenings at 7 on "At The Opera with IPR."

  • June 27 – IPR’s DMMO 2017 production of Puccini’s “Turandot”
  • July 4 – IPR’s DMMO 2011 production of Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale”
  • July 11 – IPR’s DMMO 2018 production of Jonathan Dove “Flight”
  • July 18 – IPR’s DMMO 2012 production of Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin”

During the DMMO’s 2020 virtual season, IowaPBS will broadcast the following productions, which you can also stream online.

  • June 28 – 2 p.m. IowaPBS production of Puccini’s “Manon”
  • June 28 - 4:30 p.m. - IowaPBS production of Lee Hoiby’s “Bon appétit”
  • July 5 – 2 p.m. IowaPBS production of Dvořák’s “Rusalka”
  • July 12 – 2 p.m. IowaPBS production of Benjamin Britten’s “Billy Budd”
  • July 19 – 2 p.m. IowaPBS production of Rossini’s “Le Comte Ory”

About the Operas

During the 2017 season, dramatic soprano Alexandra LoBianco graced the DMMO stage, taking on the challenging title role of the heartless princess in Puccini’s last masterpiece, “Turandot.”

Turandot eventually succumbs to the ardent and fearless Prince Calaf, sung by tenor Jonathan Burton. Burton’s show-stopping interpretation of one of opera’s most famous arias, “Nessun Dorma” is a DMMO performance not to be missed.

Two of IPR's favorites in the mix of Des Moines Metro Opera productions we're airing this summer stars Milford native and baritone extraordinaire John Michael Moore.

Moore was discovered and nurtured by Robert Larsen and Anne Larson at Simpson College. After graduating from Simpson, Moore graduated from the Metropolitan Opera’s exclusive Lindemann Young Artist program. Since then, his career has soared, taking him to prestigious opera stages across the world, including major roles at the Metropolitan Opera and the DMMO. The DMMO has cast him in at least three significant roles, two of which IPR will be rolling out during the DMMO’s 2020 Virtual Festival.

In the DMMO’s 2011 production of Donizetti’s farce, “Don Pasquale,” Moore stars as the devious Dr. Malatesta. Baritone Rod Nelman sings the lusty and crotchety title role, with soprano Zulimar Lopez-Hernandez debuting as Norina, and tenor Taylor Stayton appearing as her love-smitten Ernesto.

The amazing counter-tenor John Holiday appears as the desolate refugee without a country in Jonathan Dove’s “Flight.” The Des Moines Metro Opera’s 2018 presentation also features the astonishing coloratura soprano Audrey Luna performing as the controller. Meanwhile mezzo-soprano Elise Quagliata captures our hearts as the Minskwoman, and Bass Zachary James assumes the character of the Immigration Officer.

Moore also portrays the title role of the self-absorbed Onegin in the DMMO’s 2012 performance of Tchaikovsky’s epic lyric setting of Pushkin’s fateful novel in verse, “Eugene Onegin.” The youthful, innocent, and love-struck Tatyana is sung by soprano Jan Cornelius. Mezzo-soprano Elise Quagliata appears as Tatyana’s beautiful and self-assured sister, Olga. 

Join the DMMO, Iowa Public Radio and Iowa PBS this summer for a chance to hear and watch some gems that were produced and recorded right here in Iowa!

Jacqueline Halbloom is a Sr. Music Producer and Classical Music Host