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Four more chances to hear Opera in October on IPR Classical

"The Queen of Spades" is a Russian ghost story. There are two chances this summer to see this opera on Saturday, July 3 and again on Sunday, July 11 at the Blank Performing Arts Center in Des Moines.
Des Moines Metro Opera
"The Queen of Spades" is a Russian ghost story. Tune in to listen October 30 or 31 on IPR Classical.

Listen to IPR’s Opera on October series online at or on your favorite IPR Classical radio station Saturdays at 8 p.m. or Sundays at 4 p.m. all this month.

Iowa PBS will also be presenting their DMMO production of “Queen of Spades” Friday night, October 29, starting at 8:30 p.m.

“Sweeney Todd”

IPR opened Opera in October on October 2 and 3 with the Des Moines Metro Opera’s Sondheim hit, “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” Starring in the title role is baritone, Zachary Nelson.

Here’s what James Sohre from Opera Today had to say about Nelson: “Zachary Nelson was an incomparable Sweeney Todd. This is the very first production I have experienced that was not amplified, and Mr. Nelson’s searing baritone was overwhelmingly ‘present.’ His laser-focused dramatic purpose totally dominated the day (and perhaps, the month). If he weren’t already a star, this would have been a monumental star-making performance. As it is, his memorable traversal will rank in my memory as the most riveting Sweeney I have yet had the privilege to enjoy.”

Nelson is joined on stage by the dazzling Lucy Schaufer who presents an iconic Mrs. Lovett. As the DMMO’s General Manager and Executive Director claims, Nelson and Schaufer’s chemistry on stage is unparalleled.


Rameau’s humorous and sassy 18th century knockout "Platée" revolves around unruly mythological gods and a high-tenor water nymph. “Platée” will be the DMMO featured work on October 9 and 10. Tenor Taylor Stayton tackles the role of the narcissistic Platée who believes that every gentleman who crosses her path is immediately crazy about her. Soprano Elizabeth Stuphen makes her DMMO and role debut as La Folie. It’s a pinnacle performance of French Baroque music, humor, and satire.

“Madama Butterfly”

Iowa Public Radio’s Opera in October will broadcast the Cedar Rapids Opera’s long-awaited presentation of Puccini’s tragic masterpiece, “Madama Butterfly” on October 16 and 17. Originally recorded pre-pandemic on a frigid and icy day in January of 2020, the timeless and heartbreaking Puccini classic showcases Russian soprano Yulia Lysenko as Cio Cio San and 2019 MET Opera finalist, tenor Jeremy Brauner as Lieutenant B.F. Pinkerton.

“Fellow Travelers”

On October 23 and 24, IPR’s Opera in October airs the DMMO’s production of their 2nd Stages Summer series featuring Spear’s and Pierce’s opera centered around Mallon’s 2007 novel called "Fellow Travelers." The forward-looking McCarthy-era-based work, lingers around the veiled “Lavender Scare.” The New York Times said: “...with its smart music and sharp-edged romantic drama, ‘Fellow Travelers’ seems assured of lasting appeal.” The DMMO productions stars Baritone Joseph Lattanzi, who is known for his portrayal of the role of Hawkins Fuller in the Cincinnati Opera’s world-premiere of “Fellow Travelers.” And tenor Christian Sanders, presents a poignant and heartbreaking performance as the recent college graduate, Timothy Laughlin.

“Queen of Spades”

A perfect fit for Halloween weekend on October 30 and 31, IPR’s last work in our 2021 Opera in October series features the DMMO’s production of Tchaikovsky’s eerie and fate-tinged tragedy "The Queen of Spades". Tchaikovsky constructed his spooky, other-worldly opera plot from a Pushkin short story. Tchaikovsky’s music coupled with the DMMO’s sublime singers, centers around an uncanny and unnerving game of chance. Three DMMO stars return to present key characters. Tenor Jonathan Burton sings the role of the obsessed Gherman. Soprano Sara Gartland revisits Iowa to present the tenderhearted Lisa. And mezzo-soprano Joyce Castle, celebrating her fifty-first year as an opera legend, takes on the part of the Countess, also known as the Queen of Spades.

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