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Wander Minnesota: Love On The Moors, Minnesota-Style

By Amy Rea, Flyover Land

What does a classic literary work about dark passion set on the British moors have to do with Minnesota next week?

The Minnesota Opera is presenting the rarely performed Wuthering Heights by Bernard Herrmann. This is the first staging of the opera since its premier in Portland in 1982.

wh Wander Minnesota: Love On The Moors, Minnesota Style

(credit: Michal Daniel 2011)

But that’s not the only Minnesota connection. Herrmann, a prolific Academy Award-winning composer who worked with the likes of Orson Welles and Martin Scorses to create memorable soundtracks for such movies as Psycho, Citizen Kane, and Taxi Driver, was staying in Minneapolis in 1951 while working on Wuthering Heights. (WCCO’s Eric Henderson provides more detail about the history and significance of this opera here.)

wh catherine Wander Minnesota: Love On The Moors, Minnesota Style

(credit: Michal Daniel 2011)

This rarely performed opera has been shortened somewhat, its overall length and slow pace having been a major factor in its not being performed previously (as well as the composer’s stubborn refusal to consider trimming it). Nationally there’s been strong interest in what the Minnesota Opera is doing with the piece, and representatives from opera companies around the U.S. are coming to see the production and perhaps consider it for their own companies.

wh heathcliff Wander Minnesota: Love On The Moors, Minnesota Style

(credit: Michal Daniel 2011)

What’s more, the Minnesota Opera is going to record two of the performances in HD for national and international release as part of its New Works Initiative, an initiative designed to spotlight both newly commissioned American operas as well as revivals of little-performed works, like Wuthering Heights.

The purpose of recording the performance is to make the opera available nationally and internationally via movie theaters and television, and eventually on DVD and the internet.

wh 2 Wander Minnesota: Love On The Moors, Minnesota Style

(credit: Michal Daniel 2011)

Last fall, I wrote about the creative work the Opera is doing, and this is another stellar example of their commitment to both the historic past and the future of opera.

What else is happening in our state? Be sure to check out the 10 p.m. Sunday night WCCO newscasts, where you can learn more in the weekly segment, Finding Minnesota.

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