RECENT NEW PRODUCTIONS
"Soldier Songs' drama is unprecedented" wrote reviewer Bruce Carr in the Des Moines Register. "I don’t think I’ve ever come away from an opera quite so shaken as I did from Sunday’s Des Moines Metro Opera final staging of David T. Little’s Soldier Songs at Camp Dodge in Johnston. High emotional drama is what you expect when you go to the opera. But baritone Michael Mayes’ charged performance of this modern multimedia theater-piece based on combat veterans’ interviews was practically unprecedented in DMMO’s almost half-century history."
David T. Little's Soldier Songs has been described as contemporary opera at its best. Based on interviews from veterans of five different American wars, some of them Little's own family members, the piece utilizes veterans' voices telling us what it means to be a soldier in American society. As part of Des Moines Metro Opera's commitment to community engagement through the 2nd Stages Series, Soldier Songs was fully-produced in the Freedom Center at Camp Dodge and premiered on January 27th, 2017. Creating an immersive performance experience, the production used stunning video and audio design to bring the audience closer than ever to the music and drama with renowned performer Michael Mayes in the leading role.
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The world premiere of this new opera by Mark Lanz Weiser and Amy Punt premiered at Portland State University's Opera program on November 12th, 2016. The story centers around Meredith, a frustrated writer who rediscovers her creativity while talking with her gardener Macario, an exiled Latin American intellectual who turns out to be an undocumented immigrant. This contemporary piece, "crackling with rapid-fire texting, laptop creations, video, and heated dinner-party arguments over immigration politics" that "engages timely and timeless human emotions, using words and music that speak to people in our own century" (Brett Campbell, Oregon ArtsWatch). The "superbly done" production of this "remarkable opera... deftly handled themes that dealt with love, loss, illegal aliens, and fear" which "speaks incredibly well to our time, and our current political scene" (James Bash, Northwest Reverb).
- Northwest Reverb review
- Oregon ArtsWatch review
- Mark Lanz Weiser
- Amy Punt's postings on Opera and Activism and the poetry in the libretto.
The Center for Contemporary Opera's 2016 season included the world premiere of Louis Karchin’s Jane Eyre with a libretto by Diane Osen based on Charlotte Bronte’s novel at The Kaye Playhouse conducted by CCO’s Chief Conductor Sara Jobin, and with Jennifer Zetlan and Ryan McPherson in the leading roles.