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Making Magic in Des Moines

February 23, 2022

Hello, Des Moines — I'm Aaron Blake, your Tamino in Des Moines Metro Opera's (DMMO's) The Magic Flute! Upon my arrival here a few days ago, I found myself captivated by your beautiful state and specifically the charm of Greater Des Moines (DSM) and its colorful and supportive community. As an internationally renowned performing artist and opera singer, I have the pleasure of traveling all over the world performing in beautiful locales and experiencing the cultures and sights of these unique destinations. DSM … I’m already impressed. Your support of art and culture is first class! The city is filled with beautiful architecture, genuine people and wonderful food. All these ingredients come together to inspire and make us artists feel welcomed and energized as we endeavor to transport and uplift spirits through the magic of stage craft and the beauty of music.Backstage

Des Moines Metro Opera Turns 50

DMMO is turning 50 this year and to launch the celebration of this golden anniversary, Michael Egel and his esteemed staff have enlisted the help of one of opera’s most prolific composers, Mozart, to ensure that this special occasion is punctuated in just the right way … with a little bit of magic.

The Magic Flute

The Magic Flute or Die Zauberflöte, (pronounced Dee Tsow - Ber - Floo-Teh,) is the most performed opera Mozart wrote. It was also his last. Composed in 1791, The Magic Flute has been dazzling audiences for years. The opera, categorized as a Singspiel, (pronounced Zing-Shpeel,) a comic opera which also contains spoken dialogue, is as funny as it is genuine, as serious as it is lighthearted and as frivolous as it is meaningful. Aaron Blake DMMO

For 231 years, its charming music and fanciful story have been captivating audiences around the globe. This opera’s success is due to its universal appeal to children and adults alike. It’s fun for the whole family. There is a character and a storyline that everyone can relate to whether it’s the silliness of Papageno, the young love between Tamino and Pamina, the fantastical ferociousness of the Queen of the Night and her stratospheric vocal acrobatics or the steadfast strength of Sarastro.

This production, which had its premiere in 2012 at the Komische Oper Berlin, directed by Barrie Kosky and conceived by Suzanne Andrade and Paul Barritt of the British based animation firm 1927, has been seen by over 700,000 audience members in over 20 countries and over 40 cities worldwide. To say it’s a hit is an understatement and the fact that it’s coming to DSM is a huge deal as it speaks to the artistic cacheé of your city. Performance

I have performed as Prince Tamino in this production for nearly a decade in such places as Tokyo, Japan; New York City’s Lincoln Center; Tel Aviv, Israel; Adelaide, Australia; Auckland, New Zealand; China; Berlin and more. When a production of this fame and importance comes to your city it simply needs to be seen. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience an international phenomenon in your backyard. A phenomenon where cinema and opera collide combining exciting visuals, world-class singing and a first-class orchestra to bring you two hours and 45 minutes of magic. This momentous occasion also marks DMMO’s triumphant return to the Des Moines Civic Center and its first-ever collaboration with the Des Moines Symphony.

This production is fast-paced and is based on the concept of silent-film-era movies. You’ll notice style-specific gestures and movements from us artists as we directly engage with the projected animation on the silver screen. You’ll lose yourself in this fantastical frenzy watching our characters come to life as we infiltrate this animated world. The concept of this outstanding production cites references to silent film’s greatest personalities and stars such as Buster Keaton (Papageno-the bird catcher), Nasfernatu (Monostatos-The Queen’s evil Henchman), Charlie Chaplain (Prince Tamino) and Louise Brooks (Pamina).

There is no spoken dialogue in this production. Instead, we act out the dialogue “silent movie style.” The words we are either thinking or saying appear magically in English on the set itself accompanied on the forte piano by excerpts of some of Mozart’s most famous piano preludes. This helps to move the plot along quite swiftly and the English text makes understanding the plot a “breeze.” Honestly, coming to the theater and viewing this beautiful production is just as comfortable as curling up on the sofa to watch one of your favorite movies from the comfort of your home. Well … almost!

Please come out and join me and this incredible cast at the Des Moines Civic Center on Saturday, March 5 and Sunday, March 6 for this delightful and momentous experience as we begin celebrating DMMO at 50.

Tickets for The Magic Flute can be purchased by calling the DMPA Box Office at (515) 246-2300, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. or by visiting DMPA.org.

Des Moines Metro Opera’s 50th anniversary season continues in July 2022 with its summer festival at Blank Performing Arts Center in Indianola. Summer festival tickets can be purchased by calling (515) 961-6221, Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. or at DMMO.org.

The Greater Des Moines Partnership calendar of events is a one-stop resource for activities taking place throughout the region. Find networking information for Greater Des Moines (DSM) businesses or events specific to Downtown DSM.

Aaron Blake

The recipient of a 2017 George London Foundation Award, tenor Aaron Blake has earned international recognition for his performances in repertoire ranging from Martinu to Rossini. Most notable was his 2016 star turn in the Cincinnati Opera world premiere of Gregory Spears' Fellow Travelers and debut with New York City Opera in Peter Eötvös' operatic adaptation of Angels in America.