Hear the DPI Opera in October series online at iowapublicradio.org or your favorite IPR Classical radio station Saturdays at 8 p.m. or Sundays at 4 p.m. throughout the month.
Iowa PBS will also present its DMMO production of “Queen of Spades” on Friday night, October 29, starting at 8:30 p.m.
IPR opened Opera in October on October 2-3 with the Des Moines Metro Opera’s Sondheim hit, “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”. The baritone, Zachary Nelson, holds the title role.
Here’s what Opera Today’s James Sohre had to say about Nelson: “Zachary Nelson was a Sweeney Todd like no other. It was the very first production I saw that was not amplified, and Mr. Nelson’s searing baritone was overwhelmingly ‘present’. His dramatic laser-focused lens totally dominated the day (and perhaps the month). If he wasn’t already a star, this would have been a monumental star-making performance. As it stands, his memorable crossing will be remembered as the most fascinating Sweeney I have ever had the privilege of enjoying.
Nelson is joined on stage by the dazzling Lucy Schaufer who features an iconic Mrs. Lovett. As the CEO and Executive Director of DMMO claims, Nelson and Schaufer’s chemistry on stage is unprecedented.
The humorous and sassy 18th century knockout of Rameau “Platée” revolves around unruly mythological gods and a high tenor water nymph. “Platée” will be the star work of the DMMO on October 9 and 10. Tenor Taylor Stayton takes on the role of the narcissist Platée who believes that every gentleman who crosses her path is immediately crazy about her. Soprano Elizabeth Stuphen makes her debut as DMMO and as La Folie. It is a flagship performance of French baroque music, humor and satire.
Iowa Public Radio Opera in October will air the long-awaited presentation of Puccini’s tragic masterpiece “Madama Butterfly” by Cedar Rapids Opera on October 16-17. Originally recorded before the pandemic on a frigid, frosty day in January 2020, Puccini’s timeless and heartbreaking classic features Russian soprano Yulia Lysenko as Cio Cio San and MET Opera 2019 finalist, tenor Jeremy Brauner as as Lieutenant BF Pinkerton.
On October 23 and 24, the IPR Opera in October is airing the DMMO’s production of their 2nd Stages Summer series featuring the opera by Spear and Pierce centered on Mallon’s 2007 novel titled “Fellow Travelers”. The forward-looking work, based on the McCarthy era, lingers around the veiled “Lavender Scare”. The New York Times said: “… with its clever music and cutting edge romantic drama, ‘Fellow Travelers’ seems assured of lasting appeal.” DMMO productions feature baritone Joseph Lattanzi, known for his portrayal of Hawkins Fuller in the world premiere of “Fellow Travelers” at the Cincinnati Opera. And tenor Christian Sanders, presents a poignant and heartbreaking performance as recent college graduate Timothy Laughlin.
“Queen of Spades”
A perfect fit for Halloween weekend October 30-31, IPR’s latest work in our 2021 Opera in October The series features DMMO’s production of Tchaikovsky’s strange and fateful tragedy “The Queen of Spades”. Tchaikovsky built his spooky, otherworldly opera plot from a short story by Pushkin. Tchaikovsky’s music coupled with the sublime singers of the DMMO, revolves around a strange and disconcerting game of chance. Three DMMO stars return to feature key figures. Tenor Jonathan Burton sings the role of obsessed Gherman. Soprano Sara Gartland revisits Iowa to present the tender Lisa. And mezzo-soprano Joyce Castle, who turns fifty-one as an opera legend, stars as the Countess, also known as the Queen of Spades.