Des Moines Metro Opera is a major American Summer Opera Festival founded in 1973 and is the state’s largest performing arts organization, annually producing over 100 performances in the metro area and around the region. The company’s Summer Festival Season runs from May through July of each year during which traditionally three operas are performed in repertory for 15-16 mainstage performances. The Summer Festival Season takes place at the 467-seat Pote Theater at the Blank Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. Since its founding in 1973, Des Moines Metro Opera has presented 130 productions including 70 titles. The company was founded by Robert L. Larsen as Artistic Director and Douglas Duncan as Managing Director. In 1988, Jerilee M. Mace succeeded Duncan and became Executive Director, a position she held until 2006. In 2010, Robert L. Larsen retired after having served as conductor and stage director for well over 120 productions for all 38 years of his tenure. He was succeeded by Michael Egel as Artistic Director in 2010. David Neely was named Music Director and Principal Conductor in 2012. Egel took on the title of General and Artistic Director in 2013.
In 2013 Opera News magazine praised Des Moines Metro Opera’s 41st Festival Season: "Des Moines Metro Opera's forty-first season found the company taking some provocative risks and considerably upping the artistic ante...when Elektra and Orest embraced, the mask shed tears, and so did we. This was DMMO's strongest season in memory." We are delighted to launch the 2014 Festival Season, the Second Stages Series and the education programs and special events that will make this year the strongest yet for opera in Iowa.
We’re proud to be among the leading American summer festival opera companies, and we are grateful to our contributors and our audiences for helping to create this special experience: some of the most remarkable emerging vocal talent of our time, singing in a unique theatre with the members of the festival orchestra in extraordinary productions—all combine to make Des Moines Metro Opera the choice destination in central Iowa each summer for stunning vocalism, professional theatre and educational initiatives in music.
Here is what your generosity makes possible:
INTIMACY 100% of the seats in our 467-seat theatre are closer to the center of the stage than the front row at the Metropolitan Opera or the Lyric Opera of Chicago, so you are engaged in the action.
DRAMA The scale, combined with the focus on storytelling—all of Des Moines Metro Opera’s productions are sung in original language and feature English titles projected above the stage—helps to turn beautiful music into powerful drama.
DYNAMIC REPERTORY Standard operatic masterpieces have consistently been presented alongside works from our own land and in our own language. Our new commitment to presenting at least one opera new to our company each season began in 2012 with Eugene Onegin and 2013’s Elektra and continues this season with both Dead Man Walking and Le Comte Ory. Our 2014 season will feature an expanded repertory with performances added in the greater Des Moines area and three opera titles that will be DMMO and Iowa premieres!
OUTSTANDING ARTISTS Central to Des Moines Metro Opera’s mission is to provide a stage for rapidly rising American-trained principal artists. Each season the roster of the Metropolitan Opera features many artists who have appeared with the company.
BRINGING CULTURAL TOURISTS TO IOWA We welcomed visitors and patrons from 37 states and three foreign countries in 2013, and approximately 40-45% of our audiences came from outside the Des Moines Metro area. According to Opera America, Des Moines Metro Opera is second in the nation among summer opera festivals in the number of visitors attracted to performances from outside its home state.
REACHING THE NEXT GENERATION Beyond our regular season, Des Moines Metro Opera reaches a year-round audience of nearly 26,000 young people and adults with such programs as the OPERA Iowa Educational Touring Troupe, the Apprentice Artist Program, Raising Voices-Rising Stars and OPERAtion Opera.
A NATIONAL PROFILE Our productions are covered and reviewed by national magazines Opera News and Opera Now, and the company has been featured in the pages of The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune and The Kansas City Star in recent years.
FINANCIAL STABILITY While Des Moines Metro Opera can certainly claim artistic stature among leading American opera companies, when it comes to endowment fundraising it is without peer. The company’s endowment ratio—nearly five times its annual operating budget—is the highest in the opera field, thus ensuring longevity and demonstrating that a decision to invest in DMMO is a sound one.
CONTRIBUTING TO THE DES MOINES ECONOMY Each year Des Moines Metro Opera increases the volume of scenery, props and other production items created from locally purchased materials. The company employs substantial numbers of artists and attracts contributors and ticket buyers who patronize Des Moines and Indianola-area shops, restaurants and hotels for the festival season. According to a recent economic impact study, in 2012 Des Moines Metro Opera contributed more than $1 million in labor income and more than $4 million to metro area industries. The company attracted over 20,000 attendees living outside the metro area who contributed more than $200,000 in regional economic activity.
AFFORDABLE PERFORMANCES Tickets cost as little as $25, and the entire audience is invited to interact and socialize with artists following our performances in a meet-and-greet event that has become a hallmark of the company.