press releases

Wed June 4, 2014
Des Moines Metro Opera and StageWest Theater Company present a collaborative production to mark World AIDS Day 2014

Indianola, Iowa--- Des Moines Metro Opera and StageWest Theatre Company announced today plans for a collaborative production in their upcoming seasons to promote and support World AIDS Day 2014. The two companies will create an evening of theatre that highlights each genre—a double bill performance to include both an opera and a play. Both pieces focus on the destructive force of the AIDS crisis among families and are produced to mark World AIDS Day, December 1. A portion of the proceeds from the performances will be donated to The Project of Primary Health Care.

Des Moines Metro Opera will produce Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers and StageWest Theatre Company will produce The Baltimore Waltz by Paula Vogel. Each show will be half of the same evening and will be offered on December 5, 6 and 7 at the Temple for the Performing Arts.

StageWest Theatre Company will produce its season of five plays between October 2014 and May 2015, and the collaboration with Des Moines Metro Opera is an additional production outside of their regular season. In keeping with StageWest’s mission and vision to explore new opportunities for their audiences and artists, they are excited to foster this new relationship with Des Moines Metro Opera.

In 2013, Des Moines Metro Opera announced its 2nd Stages Series, an initiative conceived as an expansion of the company’s very successful Summer Festival Season. 2nd Stages was designed to engage new opera-goers in creative spaces around the community and to serve as a template for community collaboration. Three Decembers, which was premiered in 2008, with its intimate performance requirements and relevant subject matter, is a perfect fit for the series.

“Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers is a very moving and real story that is alternately funny and devastating and one that contains elements with which everyone can identify.” says Michael Egel, general and artistic director at Des Moines Metro Opera. “Heggie is the preeminent opera composer in America. Featuring his work, which we are doing in our 2014 mainstage season with his masterpiece Dead Man Walking, furthers our commitment to present pieces from our own time. Three Decembers is an American opera about contemporary situations told through this powerful artistic medium and highlighted by the passion and beauty of the human voice. This is a chamber opera so the Temple Theatre is the perfect location and StageWest is the perfect collaborator with whom to create an evening of both theater and music that audiences won’t forget.”

Three Decembers tells the story of a famous actress and her adult children, one of whom has a partner who is afflicted with AIDS. The family comes together and drifts apart over three Christmases, each ten years apart. It was first presented by the Houston Grand Opera, which commissioned the work in association with the San Francisco Opera.

“This collaboration makes for a good fit with our company and mission,” says Todd Buchacker, producing artistic director of StageWest Theatre Company. “For us to work with Des Moines Metro Opera to present two different but complimentary pieces is a joy for me personally and professionally and is an exciting opportunity for our audiences. Here we have two pieces of an important contemporary puzzle: the AIDS crises worked through with music and words. Both stories are tragic and funny and together they will make for an evening of great theater and poignant observation.”

The Baltimore Waltz, which premiered in 1990 at the Perseverance Theater in Juneau, Alaska, is a giddy, farcical fantasy based on the love and adventures of a brother and sister, one of whom has a fatal disease. The diagnosis of a deadly virus sends the siblings spinning off to Europe to find romance and a cure before the final crashing scenes where reality sets in. The play was Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel’s response to the 1988 death of her brother Carl, who died from complications due to AIDS before they were able to enjoy a long planned European vacation. The Baltimore Waltz was the winner of the 1992 Obie Award for Best New American Play.

Tickets for Three Decembers and The Baltimore Waltz will go on sale on September 1, 2014 and will be extremely limited. Ticket prices are $50. For every ticket sold,a portion of the proceeds will be donated to The Project of Primary Health Care. All evening performances begin at 7:30pm, matinees begin at 2pm. Visit or


About Des Moines Metro Opera
Des Moines Metro Opera, founded in 1973, is an independent, non-profit, professional opera company dedicated to bringing world-class opera productions and vital performing arts education to central Iowa. In addition to providing mainstage productions, Des Moines Metro Opera is responsible for OPERA Iowa Educational Touring Troupe, which brings opera to classrooms across Iowa and to nearly 24,000 students, OPERAtion Opera Community Outreach Program, which works with more than 30 human service agencies to provide opera to underserved and at-risk audiences, the Apprentice Artist Program, one of the largest singer-training programs in the country, and two new programs: The Design and Production Internship Program, a training program for students within the theater arts who wish to expand experience and gain the skills necessary for a successful professional career; and Raising Voices - Rising Stars program which gives high school musicians the opportunity to explore career opportunities from the rare vantage point within a professional opera company.

Des Moines Metro Opera’s 2014 Summer Season begins on June 27. Season Subscriptions to the 2014 Summer Festival Season, featuring Verdi’s La Traviata, Rossini’s Le Comte Ory, and Heggie’s Dead Man Walking are on sale now as well as Des Moines Metro Opera’s 2nd Stages production of Brook’s The Tragedy of Carmen at the Des Moines Social Club on July 10 and 19 are available as add-ons. The entire repertory of the 2015 Des Moines Metro Opera season will be announced on June 27.

More information is available at

About StageWest Theatre Company
StageWest is currently concluding its 2013-2014 season with its production of the musical Avenue Q, which runs from June 6 to June 22. The Baltimore Waltz is a special collaboration between StageWest and Des Moines Metro Opera and is outside of their 2014-2015 season that includes Carrie: The Musical (October 10-16), Neighborhood No. 3: Requisition of Doom (November 7-16), Three Decembers & The Baltimore Waltz (December 5-7), Cock (January 16-25, 2015), My Name is Asher Lev (March 20-29, 2015) and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (May 8-17, 2015). Except for Three Decembers & The Baltimore Waltz, all StageWest productions will be performed at the Des Moines Social Club’s Kum & Go Theater. For more information about StageWest Theatre Company, visit