The Opera Theatre presents one fully-staged operatic production each semester. For more than 30 years under the direction of Professor Vern Sutton, this ensemble has won notable prizes and has produced singers who now perform on major stages across the US and Europe. The Opera Theatre provides students with the opportunity to be involved in all aspects of fully staged opera productions. Admission is by audition only.
University Opera Theatre presents Jacques Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld
Book by Hector Crémieux and Ludovic Halévy. David Walsh, director. Sung in French.
An outrageous parody of the famous Orpheus legend from Greek mythology that pokes fun at 19th-Century French politics. This operetta features the “infernal gallop” or the frenetic “can-can” known for its flamboyance and vitality decades later at the Moulin Rouge.
Thursday, April 26 at 7:30 pm
Friday. April 27 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, April 28 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, April 29 at 1:30 pm
Ted Mann Concert Hall
$20 advance adults; $25 adults week of performance
$5 students & children
$15 for U of M Faculty, alumni, retirees, and staff.
tickets.umn.edu or 612-624-2345
About the Opera
The brilliant German-born musical satirist, Jacques Offenbach, had thirty-three operetta productions behind him when his version of the ‘Orpheus’ legend burst on the scene in Paris at the height of the reign of Emperor Napoleon III. His work was a ‘succes de scandale’ which ran for 228 performances and brought Offenbach fame, fortune, and French citizenship and set all of Paris humming its enchanting tunes. A once outmoded dance, the frenetic ‘Cancan,’ brought down the house each night with its flamboyance and vitality. The operetta’s irreverent parody of Classical mythology, Gluck’s earlier opera, and the foibles and follies of French society during the Second Empire delighted its audiences, who caught all the contemporary references. The young painter, Gustav Dore, designed original costumes with witty allusions to Napoleon III and his court, whose amorous dalliances and intrigues were hot topics in the tabloids of the day. Even without such allusions, the ‘gods’ of the Orpheus legend embody an abundance of human quirks and frailties which has assured the operetta’s popularity for all time!
University Opera Theatre presents W.A. Mozart’s Idomeneo
War hero Idomeneo promises the gods he will sacrifice the first person he sees in return for a safe journey home. That person is his son Idamante.
Giovanni Battista Varesco, librettist. David Walsh, director. Sung in Italian.
Mark Russell Smith, conductor (November 16, 17, 18); Ho-Yin Kwok, Qinqing Hilkert, Ernesto Estigarribia, conductors (November 19)
About the Opera
Just two days after his 25th birthday, Mozart realized one of his long-cherished goals, namely to present what he was to call his “grand opera” (“grosse Oper”), with the premiere of Idomeneo before the new Elector of Bavaria and his court in Munich. He had at his disposal some very fine singers (and also a few of whom he was not so enamored!), as well as the preeminent European orchestra of the time. Using the story of Idomeneo, a Greek hero of the Trojan War, and King of Crete, Mozart and his librettist, the Salzburg chaplain, Varesco, illuminate the struggles of a powerful ruler to balance ethics, political decisions, and personal interests in fulfilling his leadership responsibilities to the people whose fate he commands. The possibilities and limitations on the exercise of political power is the central theme of this opera. It is also a ‘generational’ opera, in which young people have to negotiate the troubled political and personal waters which their elders have charted and find their own way to solutions which lead away from moral compromise. Although the performances of Idomeneo did not achieve everything for which Mozart had hoped, his accomplishments with this opera were truly astounding for its time and the piece, although relatively seldom performed, speaks emphatically to the issues of our current world.
About the Director
Past Opera Theatre Seasons
- Spring 2017: Giacomo Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi
- Fall 2016: Benjamin Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia
- Spring 2016: Kurt Weill's Lady in the Dark
- Fall 2015: Carlisle Floyd's Susannah
- Spring 2015: WA Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro
- Fall 2014: Georges Bizet's La Tragedie de Carmen
- Spring 2014: Leoš Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen (The Adventures of Vixen Sharp Ears)
- Fall 2013: Bedřich Smetana’s The Bartered Bride
- Spring 2013: Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Nights Dream
- Fall 2012: Giuseppe Verdi's Falstaff
- Spring 2012: Robert Aldridge's Parables
- Fall 2011: WA Mozart's Così fan tutte
- Spring 2011: Johann Strauss's Die Fledermaus
- Fall 2010: Robert Aldridge's Elmer Gantry
- Spring 2010: WA Mozart's Die Zauberflöte
- Fall 2009: Stravinsky in Paris: Le Renard (The Fox), Mavra, and Le Rossignol
- Spring 2009: Leoš Janáček's Jenůfa
- Fall 2008: Benjamin Britten's Rape of Lucretia
- Spring 2008: Claudio Monteverdi's The Coronation of Poppea
- Fall 2007: Kurt Weill's The Seven Deadly Sins and Giacomo Puccini's Suor Angelica
- Spring 2007: Kurt Weill's Street Scene
- Fall 2006: WA Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro
- Spring 2006: Giacomo Puccini's La Bohéme
- Fall 2005: Benjamin Britten's The Turn of the Screw
- Spring 2005: WA Mozart's Don Giovanni
- Fall 2004: Francis Poulenc's La Voix Humaine and Giacomo Puccini's Gianni Schicchi
- Spring 2004: Jacques Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffman
- Fall 2003: Benjamin Britten's Albert Herring
- Spring 2003: Conrad Susa's The Dangerous Liaisons
- Fall 2002: Richard Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos
Learn more about the Vocal Arts at the University of Minnesota.