The term “opera” is not a 360-degree separation from other theatrical and musical entertainment. Once the only form of pop culture, opera was banned as risqué. In an about-face, around the gilded age, opera came to represent civilization at its zenith. These Minnesota production companies have a knack for turning opera on its ears.
620 N. First St.
Minneapolis, MN 55401
It took a dedicated community of artists, performers and their supporters to make Minnesota Opera one of the world’s most distinguished opera organizations. Attending a Minnesota Opera production is like a night out at The Met, but with more excitement. Everything comes together seamlessly to create a singular performance sensation. Stage settings are lavish. The costumes are brilliant. Orchestral arrangements are world class. The ensemble acting and singing are emotionally stirring. Upcoming events for the 2016-2017 season are Romeo & Juliet, Das Rheingold, Diana’s Garden, Dinner At Eight and La Boheme. Dinner At Eight, based on a play by George S. Kaufman and author Edna Ferbe which was adapted into a movie that starred Hollywood’s first blonde bombshell, Jean Harlow. Under the direction and production of the Minnesota Opera, the play-turned-film gets a new start as a musical. It’s a Depression Era comedy revamped into a glossy and contemporary soap opera. All Minnesota Opera performances take place at the Ordway Theater in St. Paul.
345 Washington St.
Saint Paul, MN 55102
Ordway Theater is also known as Ordway Center For The Performing Arts. This performance arts center is both music theater and concert hall. But each is its own venue. The theater and concert hall have excellent accessibility and high capacity seating. Ordway is also a performance venue for the Minnesota Opera. Ordway Center has its own lavish productions. Paint Your Wagon will be coming your way in August. The Broadway musical was adapted into a 1969 film with music by Andre Previn and Frederick Loewe. REBELS! on Broadway is a musical show that will be happening in September. Also in September, The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra celebrates the music of Sergei Prokofiev and Franz Schubert at Ordway. In October, Ordway Music Theater features special performances of Stomp, a fusion of dance, music, theater and comedy to create extraordinary harmonies, sounds and rhythms. If a night at the opera is your thing, Ordway will be staging several operatic events through Minnesota Opera, its sister theatrical counterpart.
Fairmont Opera House
45 Downtown Plaza
Fairmont, MN 56031
Opera has rarely been performed at this opera house, built in downtown Fairmont in 1901. In fact, there was a Bon Jovi tribute here in April. The Fairmont built “opera” into its name because descriptive extensions such as “repertoire,” “theater,” “cabaret,” “troupe” and “theatrical company” had connotations of immorality. But the Fairmont has entertainment that is nothing short of operatic. The opera house invites children in grades three through eight to participate in the Children’s Theater Workshop whenever it is scheduled. In August, the Children’s Theater will perform The Reluctant Dragon and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! Fairmont’s Civic Summer Theatre is putting together its program for 2016 and will announce dates for shows and open auditions.
Lyric Opera Of The North
522 N. 3rd Ave. W.
Duluth, MN 55806
Duluth has its own opera company. Lyric Opera Of The North is a member of Opera America. Northlanders have always been serious about opera, if not deeply passionate. The Metropolitan Opera always made a stop at Duluth during its national tour. In 1991, Duluth formed its own opera company with its first production, Il Trovatore (not to be confused with La Traviata). Duluth welcomes local talent for theatrical productions. Actors and singers from previous Lyric Opera productions came from Minnesota. Many were Northlanders. Tickets for Lyric Opera events have already been sold for June and July. But please wait for the rest of the season.
The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company
PO Box 580172
Minneapolis, MN 55458
Most operas, like film noir, explore the dark side of human nature and existence. Exuberant librettist Sir William Schwenck Gilbert and composer Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan gave the light touch to opera with plays such as The Pirates Of Penzance and The Mikado. The very light opera company of Gilbert & Sullivan carries on the tradition of the company’s theatrical forebears with summer outdoor operatic concerts. The summer production of The Mikado has flown (alas)! But take heart: The Gondoliers will emerge from the curtains next spring.
Related: Best Theaters In Minnesota
Linda Cameron has written home design, home improvement and lifestyle articles for The Boston Globe and City Shopper Magazine. She has related interests in the building industry, travel, real estate and financing. She is a contributor to Examiner, House Spot, Techsling and Behance, covering topics on career, people, businesses, education and technology.