International opera star Simon Estes returns home to say goodbye

 Des Moines Metro Opera hosts Mr. Estes’ final operatic performance in honor of the company’s 50thanniversary season 

Indianola, IA – Des Moines Metro Opera (DMMO) presents the Iowa premiere of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess in honor of international opera star and Iowa native Simon Estes upon the announcement of his operatic farewell.

Estes will appear in the role of Lawyer Frazier, his 103rd and final role. "It’s fitting that my final performance on the operatic stage will be in my home state and in Des Moines, Iowa," Estes said. His storied international career brought him to 84 major opera houses and 115 symphony orchestras around the world.  He will continue to perform concerts and teach as a Professor at Iowa State University and Des Moines Area Community College. He is also collaborating on a feature documentary of his life.

Simon Estes premiered the role of Porgy in Porgy and Bess at the Metropolitan Opera in February 1985. His final performance is as Lawyer Frazier in the production, a role he is dedicating to his friend, the late bass-baritone Arthur Woodley. Estes also serves as Producing Advisor of this new production directed by Tazewell Thompson and conducted by Michael Ellis Ingram.

The production will open on July 1 and run for seven performances through July 24 at the Blank Performing Arts Center in Indianola, Iowa. “We are honored to host Mr. Estes’ operatic farewell on what will also be the first time he’s performed on a professional stage in Iowa,” Michael Egel, the Linda Koehn General and Artistic Director said. “Simon is an opera legend and treasure to our state. His generosity and expertise make our 50th anniversary season a historic one.”

Since its premiere in 1935, Porgy and Bess has garnered critical acclaim and inspired passionate reactions. Featuring some of the most beautiful and beloved songs ever written the opera shines a light on a chapter from the nation’s past as culturally challenging as its songs and characters are universally cherished. The work inspires conversations as passionate and relevant today as ever. 

Tickets for DMMO’s 50th anniversary season can be purchased at or by calling 515-961-6221.

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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 50th Festival Season includes the Iowa premiere and new production of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, a new production of Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the world premiere of Kuster/Campbell’s A Thousand Acres, and the live performance premiere of Geter/Palmer’s American Apollo