Indianola, IA — Des Moines Metro Opera announced today a cast change for Debussy’s Pelléas & Mélisande, which opens Saturday, July 6. Making his company debut, baritone Edward Nelson will perform the role of Pelléas in all four performances, replacing John Moore who has withdrawn from the production for personal reasons. "All of us at DMMO join me in wishing John well. As a homegrown artist who has achieved success around the globe, we look forward to welcoming him back to the company in the future," said Michael Egel, the Linda Koehn General & Artistic Director of Des Moines Metro Opera. "We also look forward to welcoming Edward Nelson to the company for his debut with us. It is a fortunate stroke of luck that such an accomplished artist who has had success with this demanding role is available and willing to join us on short notice."

About Edward Nelson
American baritone Edward Nelson, who was the winner of the 2020 Glyndebourne Opera Cup and an alumnus of both the Merola Opera Program and the Adler Fellowship at the San Francisco Opera, is quickly establishing himself as one of the most exciting singers of his generation. Recent engagements include debuts at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in La Cenerentola, The Metropolitan Opera in the new production of Terence Blanchard’s Champion and the Teatro Real in the title role of Philip Glass’s Orphée, as well as returns to Semperoper Dresden in La Cenerentola and Washington National Opera in Francesca Zambello’s production of La Périchole. Edward has previously sung the role of Pelléas at Norwegian National Opera, Ópera de Oviedo and Teatro de la Maestranza. Read Edward's full bio >

About Pelléas & Mélisande
Claude Debussy’s Pelléas & Mélisande is an enigmatic, impressionistic tale. Its characters wander in the mists of a neverending dream set to shimmering hypnotic music that serves as a reflection of its opaque world. The story takes place in the fictitious kingdom of Allemonde where Mélisande, a fragile and mysterious creature, wanders lost in the forest. While hunting one day, Prince Golaud discovers her and quickly marries her before learning anything about her mysterious past. When he introduces her to his half brother Pelléas, a secret bond forms between the two—but is it love?

Des Moines Metro Opera’s new production is led by director Chas Rader-Shieber with scenic design by Andrew Boyce, costume design by Jacob A. Climer, lighting design by Connie Yun, and wig/makeup design by Brittany V.A. Rappise. Maestro Derrick Inouye, who has conducted the opera at the Metropolitan Opera, makes his debut with DMMO this summer, leading the DMMO Festival Orchestra. The cast features baritone Edward Nelson as Pelléas, soprano Sydney Mancasola as Mélisande, bass-baritone Brandon Cedel as Golaud, bass-baritone Matt Boehler as Arkel, mezzo-soprano Catherine Martin as Geneviève, Benjamin Bjorklund as Yniold and bass Alan Williams as the Physician.

Pelléas & Mélisande runs for four performances as part of the company’s 2024 Festival Season. The performances on July 12 and July 21 are currently sold out, but tickets still remain for July 6 and July 17. Full production and ticket information is available by visiting or by calling the Box Office at (515) 209-3257.

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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 2024 Festival Season runs June 28–July 21 and includes the return of one of the world’s greatest operatic comedies, Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, a new production of R. Strauss’ Salome, a company premiere and new production of Debussy’s Pelléas & Mélisande, and the world premiere of the full-length version of Damien Geter and Lila Palmer’s American Apollo.



Photo by Craig T. Mathew for LA Opera