PRESS CONTACT: Scott Arens, Director of Marketing and Public Relations

Indianola, IA—Des Moines Metro Opera’s (DMMO) Linda Koehn General and Artistic Director, Michael Egel, has announced the complete repertory for the company’s 2025 Festival Season. The season runs June 27 through July 20 and features the return of Richard Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman, a new production and company premiere of Leoš Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen and a new production of Igor Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress.

“The 2025 Festival Season builds on the company’s reputation for curating a daring collection of works. These three fascinating pieces—legends, myths and parables—are drawn from far-flung corners of the operatic repertory and each elevates the intrinsic appeal of the other in beautiful ways,” said Egel. “The long-awaited return of Richard Wagner to our stage, Stravinsky’s uniquely singular masterpiece and the company premiere of Janáček’s breathtaking tale of the animal and human worlds are all causes for celebration. Combined with stunning designs and remarkable casts, this will be a not-to-be-missed season.”

Artistic Partnerships
In addition to the 2025 festival repertory, Egel also announced extended and new partnerships with key artistic personnel that will ensure the continued success of the company over multiple years.

First, the company announces the extension of its contract with Music Director and Principal Conductor David Neelythrough 2028. “David has served as the Marshall and Judy Flapan Music Director and Principal Conductor since 2012. In this role he has overseen and built one of the finest opera orchestras in America today,” said Egel. “Our recent festival seasons have included some of the most challenging works in the repertory, yet David and our exceptional musicians continue to achieve astounding success.”

Additionally, the company has entered into three-year agreements with two other key individuals. Beginning in 2025, directors Kristine McIntyre and Chas Rader-Shieber will become Artistic Partners. In these roles, each will direct one new production per season and advise with casting, production and repertory. These yearly productions will include co-productions with major companies, the exploration of technology in the company’s unique theatre and the introduction of titles new to DMMO. “As Des Moines Metro Opera takes its place as one of America’s leading summer opera festivals, these appointments recognize the roles these individuals have played in our success and extend our planning horizon over several years,” said Egel. “As the company looks to the future of the Blank Performing Arts Center theatre, their input will help in envisioning important next steps.” Additional guest conductors and directors will also continue to be engaged each season to compliment the efforts of these individuals and the entire artistic staff.

2025 Festival Season Information
All three productions will be presented in rotating repertory in the intimate 467-seat Pote Theatre at the Blank Performing Arts Center in Indianola, Iowa. 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 perform for all three productions.

Subscription packages and early-bird individual ticket reservations are available now. Select-your-own subscriptions and individual tickets go on sale November 20 at 10am (CT). Full production and ticket information is available by visiting or by calling Des Moines Metro Opera's box office at (515) 209-3257.

Additional production information:

Music and libretto by Richard Wagner
Premiered: January 2, 1843 at the Königliches Hoftheater Dresden
Seven performances: June 27, June 29, July 4, July 12, July 15, July 17, July 20
Sung in German with projected English translations
Previous DMMO production: 1987

From its stormy overture to climactic finale, Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman lures you into its mysterious depths. The Dutchman, a ghostly sailor, is condemned to wander the waves for eternity. But every seventh year he disembarks to find a bride who can break his curse. In a small Norwegian fishing village, he fatefully encounters Senta, a young woman who is obsessed with the Dutchman’s legend. Can the power of love break the curse? How much must we sacrifice to bring about salvation? Maestro David Neely leads this sweeping, evocative score which features epic choruses, thrilling orchestrations and a superstar cast headlined by bass-baritone Ryan McKinny and German soprano Dorothea Herbert, both making company debuts as the Dutchman and Senta, respectively. Company favorite Joshua Borths makes his mainstage directing debut, charting the course of Richard Wagner’s return to the DMMO stage for the first time in nearly 40 years. Steven C. Kemp returns as scenic designer and Ian Wallace debuts as projection designer.

Music and libretto by Leoš Janáček
Premiered: November 6, 1924 at the National Theatre Brno
Five performances: June 28, July 6, July 8, July 11, July 19
Sung in Czech with projected English translations
Company premiere

The tale of a quick-witted fox and her escape from confinement for a life in the forest is by turns joyful, witty, romantic and tragic. The Cunning Little Vixen follows the cycle of death and rebirth through the instinctive and immediate world of nature—animal and human, which Janáček loved so dearly. In this celebrated score, singers and orchestra embody the sounds of the forest, the feel of sunshine on your face and the thrill of a starlit sky. Bursting with boundless invention, imaginative colors and a memorable cast of creatures, director Kristine McIntyre, visual image composer Oyoram and maestro David Neely reunite after their triumphant production of Bluebeard’s Castle to bring the vixen’s natural world to life. Vita Tzykun returns to join this creative team as costume designer and Luke Cantarella returns as scenic designer. Soprano Hera Hyesang Park debuts as the Vixen and Sun-Ly Pierce returns to the festival to make a role debut as the Fox. 

Music by Igor Stravinsky
Libretto by W. H. Auden and Chester Kallman
Premiered: September 11, 1951 at the Teatre La Fenice, Venice
Four performances: July 5, July 10, July 13, July 18
Sung in English with projected English supertitles
Previous DMMO productions: 1975, 2006

Inspired by William Hogarth’s famous series of paintings, Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress charts one man’s path from pleasure to ruin. When the mysterious Nick Shadow appears, Tom Rakewell abandons his sweetheart, Anne Trulove, and leaves behind his country life for the temptations of the city. But London’s glittering promise soon dissolves as love, money and sanity slip farther and farther from his grasp. Can true love save him, or will the devil get the last laugh? The Rake’s Progress is surely one of the 20th century’s most dazzling and original works—as if a Mozart opera wandered into a hall of mirrors. Comedy and tragedy are never far apart in this light-hearted work that can break your heart with the broadest of smiles. Jonas Hacker, Joélle Harvey and Sam Carl lead the cast in a new production by Chas Rader-Shieber, designed by Jacob A. Climer, featuring the festival debut of conductor Christopher Allen.

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, running June 28 – July 21, includes the return of one of the world’s greatest operatic comedies, Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, a new production of Richard Strauss’s Salome, a new production of Debussy’s Pelléas & Mélisande, and the world premiere of Geter/Palmer’s American Apollo.

The 2025 Festival Season runs June 27 – July 20 and includes the long-awaited return of Richard Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman, a new production of Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen and a new production of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress.

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