The Opera Project DSM will provide educational and performance opportunities for talented local students, while making opera accessible and relevant in the greater Des Moines community.
History and Philosophy
The Opera Project DSM was formed in the fall of 2015, with a goal of providing local high school and college students, as well as singers and musicians in the greater Des Moines community, the opportunity to learn and perform alongside professionals, under the direction of a world-class conductor. We believe opera should be accessible and relevant in our community and our annual opera production is always FREE to the public.
Puccini’s Suor Angelica was our first opera production in March 2015. Auditions were open to the wider community and 23 young people rose to the challenge. Three professional opera singers were hired to fill the roles of Suor Angelica and La Principessa. In collaboration with the West Des Moines Community School District, the performances were held at Valley High School ‘s new Staplin Performing Arts Center. The Valley High School orchestra served as our core, supplemented with nine professional musicians. Three FREE performances of Suor Angelica were staged to a total audience of over 900 people.
In October of 2016, auditions were held for the Opera Project's second production - Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana. More than 750 people attended the two performances of Cavalleria Rusticana. Soprano Kristin Sampson and Tenor Phil Alongi were thrilling as Santuzza and Turiddu. Equally engaging were our two Alfios, Tim Bostwick and Drake University senior Kyle Roeder, Drake Junior Caitlin Carr as Mamma Lucia and Drake Freshman Kate Broderick as Lola. The 37-person choir consisted of high school, college and community members from all over the Des Moines area.
Captivating music by seven area professional musicians and the Valley High School Chamber Orchestra completed the opera production. Our venue at the Staplin Center for Performing Arts at Valley High School was a perfect, state-of-the-art setting for the performances.