Des Moines Metro Opera Unveils 2021 Summer Festival Lineup

By Logan Martell

Des Moines Metro Opera has announced the programming for their 2021 Summer Festival, set to run from July 2 through July 25. The lineup includes three new productions of opera and musical theatre.

Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd” is set to be led by Principal Conductor and Music Director David Neely and stage director Kristine McIntyre. The cast features baritone Zachary Nelson and mezzo Lucy Schaufer in their DMMO debut as Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett; Ben Edquist and Grace Kahl play Anthony and Johanna, with Wayne Tigges as Judge Turpin, Zoie Reams as the Beggar Woman, Corey Blix as Beadle Bamford, and Peter Scott Drackley as Signor Pirelli.

Performance Dates: July 2, 4, 9, 17, 22, 25

David Neely will conduct Tchaikovsky’s “The Queen of Spades” in a production by stage director Matthew Ozawa. The production will star Jonathan Burton as Gherman and Sara Gartland as Lisa, with Joyce Castle making her 140th role debut as the Countess. The cast also includes Benjamin Taylor as Count Tomsky, Carolyn Sproule as Polina, Alexander Elliot as Prince Yeletsky, and Symone Harcum as Mascha.

Performance Dates: July 3, 11, 13, 16, 24

Rameau’s “Platee” is set to star Taylor Stayton in the title role, with Zachary James as Jupiter, Zoie Reams as Juno, and Elizabeth Sutphen as La Folie. Conductor Gary Thor Wedow and director Chas Rade-Shieber lead the company in its first staging of French Baroque opera.

Performance Dates: July 10, 18, 23

Marcus Shields will be making his company debut directing Spears’ “Fellow Travelers.” The cast includes Joseph Lattanzi as Hawkins, Grace Kahl as Mary Johnson, Benjamin Taylor as Tommy, and Amanda Sheriff as Miss Lightfoot.

Performance Date: July 17

“Though we weren’t able to gather in person last season, work continued on our three new productions throughout the summer and fall,” writes Artistic Director Michael Egel. “Our designers and production personnel have been able to persist with designs begun, in large part, well over a year ago. Many of our ticket holders expressed their hope that we could present these titles for the next season and we’re happy to be able to do so,” said Egel. “This repertory is dynamic, vibrant and varied. And even the designs are as contrasting from one another as the titles. I cannot wait for you to see them.”