Indianola, IA — Des Moines Metro Opera’s General and Artistic Director, Michael Egel, has announced the complete repertory for the company’s 2023 Festival Season. The productions include mainstage performances of Georges Bizet’s beloved classic, Carmen, Bartók’s gripping psychological thriller, Bluebeard’s Castle and Prokofiev’s absurdist comedy, The Love for Three Oranges, as well as productions of Susan Kander and Roberta Gumbel’s dwb (driving while black) and Zach Redler and Jerre Dye’s The Falling and the Rising as part of the company’s 2nd Stages Series.

“Our 2023 season builds on the excitement of our 50th anniversary in 2022 by exploring new repertory, enhancing our productions through unique design collaborations and taking a fresh look at the classics,” said Egel. “We celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the 2nd Stages Series this season with a continuation of our commitment to demonstrating how sung stories speak to our contemporary world.”

The productions of Carmen, Bluebeard’s Castle and The Love for Three Oranges will be performed in rotating repertory in the intimate 467-seat Pote Theatre at the Blank Performing Arts Center in Indianola, Iowa. dwb (driving while black) will be performed at a to-be-announced community locale in Des Moines and The Falling and the Rising will be presented in the Freedom Center at Camp Dodge in collaboration with the Iowa Army National Guard. Both productions are part of the company’s popular 2nd Stages Series, an initiative committed to creating collaborative performances designed to engage new audiences in unique spaces. Each opera features English supertitles projected above the stage. The Des Moines Metro Opera Festival Orchestra, made up of professional musicians from across the country, will accompany all five productions.

Subscription packages for the three mainstage operas are available now. Early-bird single ticket reservations, 2nd Stages Series tickets and Stars of Tomorrow tickets are available now. Select-your-own single tickets go on sale December 1. Full production and ticket information will be available by visiting or by calling Des Moines Metro Opera's box office at (515) 961-6221.

Additional production information:  


Music by Georges Bizet
Libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy after Prosper Mérimée’s novella
Premiered: March 3, 1875, at the Opéra-Comique, Paris
Seven performances: June 30, July 2, 7, 11, 13, 15, 23
Sung in French with English supertitles
Previous productions: 1978, 1994, 2007 

A rebel with a cause, the free-spirited Carmen lives boldly in her fiery pursuit of freedom. “Born free, she will die free,” she sings, but sparks fly after an encounter with military officer Don José. When the smitten José leaves everything behind to be with Carmen, their passionate affair takes a sudden, dangerous turn after the charismatic bullfighter Escamillo catches Carmen’s eye. With its twisting tale of romance, intrigue and obsession set to the instantly recognizable melodies of Bizet, it’s no wonder Carmen is one of the world’s most popular and beloved operas.

Mezzo-soprano Taylor Raven, who returns to DMMO after a 2021 debut as Pauline in Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades, makes her much-anticipated role debut as Carmen, and tenor Matthew Cairns makes his DMMO debut in the role of Don José. Conductor Kelly Kuo, who is making his DMMO debut, will lead the production.


Music by Béla Bartók
Libretto by Béla Balázs
Premiered: May 24, 1918, at the Royal Hungarian Opera House
Four performances: July 1, 9, 14, 22
Performed in Hungarian with English supertitles
A new Des Moines Metro Opera production. Company premiere. 

Duke Bluebeard welcomes his new wife Judith to his ominous castle where rumors have been swirling around one question: what has happened to his previous wives? Shrouded in the secrecy of seven forbidden rooms, Judith desperately tries to uncover the secrets of her new home that Bluebeard had hoped to keep locked away forever. With its immense, cinematic score—Bartok’s psychological opera-thriller will leave you entranced in suspense as Judith reveals the secrets of Bluebeard’s dark past one by one until she reaches that fateful seventh door.

Our new production features bass-baritone Christian Van Horn making his DMMO and role debut as Duke Bluebeard and soprano Sara Gartland as Judith, with direction by Kristine McIntyre, digital image composition by internationally acclaimed artist and Des Moines resident, Oyoram, and Maestro David Neely leading the DMMO FestivalOrchestra. 




Music by Sergei Prokofiev
Libretto by Sergei Prokofiev
Premiered: December 30, 1921, at Auditorium Theatre, Chicago
Four performances: July 8, 16, 18, 21
Sung in English with English supertitles
A new Des Moines Metro Opera production. Company premiere.

This zesty love story is a fairytale about a sweet young prince, cursed by a sour witch and forced to voyage into distant lands in search of three oranges, each of which contains a princess. Will he run out of juice, or can he concentrate on his mission to find true love? 100 years after composer Sergei Prokofiev wrote this endlessly inventive opera, best known for its famous “March,” the time is ripe for The Love for Three Oranges to make its Des Moines Metro Opera debut in a refreshing new production by director Chas Rader-Shieberand scenic and costume designer Jacob A. Climer, led by Maestro David Neely.

The new season will also continue the company’s popular 2nd Stages Series. Now entering its 10th year, this series is an initiative designed to present operas in non-traditional spaces in Des Moines proper. As part of the 2nd Stages Series, the company will present Redler/Dye’s The Falling and the Rising, for two performances, and Kander/Gumbel’s dwb (driving while black) for three performances both during the 2023 Festival in July.

dwb (driving while black)

Music by Susan Kander
Libretto by Roberta Gumbel
A new Des Moines Metro Opera production. Company premiere.
Three performances: July 8, 15, 21

Susan Kander and Roberta Gumbel's dwb (driving while black) tackles what it means to be a parent of a Black child who starts driving. In its swift 45 minutes, the listener spends 16 years with a Black mother, feeling her growing fear as her Black son moves towards driving age. dwb (driving while black) will be presented in a community locale in the Des Moines Metro. Location information will be provided at a later date.



Music by Zach Redler
Libretto by Jerre Dye
Premiered: April 6, 2018, at Texas Christian University
Presented in collaboration with Camp Dodge and Iowa Army National Guard
Two performances: July 20, 22
A new Des Moines Metro Opera production. Company premiere.
Freedom Center at Camp Dodge, Johnston, IA

The Falling and the Rising is a story of family, service, and sacrifice inside a period of great uncertainty. This operatic odyssey chronicles the imagined journey of a soldier suspended inside a medically induced coma. After sending a video message home on the eve of her daughter’s thirteenth birthday, our soldier is severely wounded by a roadside IED (Improvised Explosive Device.)  We follow as she makes her way through a miraculous coma-induced dreamscape, one punctuated with the lives of fellow service members, each on their own individual journey toward healing and home. Created in hopes of capturing the indomitable spirit of our U.S. military veterans, The Falling and the Rising sheds light on the inspirational power of their often-overlooked stories.

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About Des Moines Metro Opera

Lauded by the Chicago Tribune as “one of the most enterprising summer opera fests in the nation,” Des Moines Metro Opera is a progressive opera company located in the heart of Iowa that has taken its place among America’s leading opera festivals. Founded in 1973, it’s one of the largest performing arts organizations in Iowa, annually producing over 100 performances in the metro area and across the region.

Des Moines Metro Opera’s 2023 Festival Season includes the return of one of the world’s greatest operas, George Bizet’s Carmen, a new production of Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle, a new production of Prokofiev’s The Love for Three Oranges, a new production of Kander/Gumbel’s dwb (driving while black), and a new production of Redler/Dye’s The Falling and the Rising.