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Minnesota Opera Collection M/A 2008.01.01-.03

Minnesota Opera Collection M/A 2008.01.01-.03

Creator:Minnesota Opera.
Title: Minnesota Opera Collection
Dates:1963-2000
Quantity: 3 boxes.
Repository: James K. Hosmer Special Collections Library

History:

The Center Opera Company was founded in 1963 when the Walker Art Center Commissioned an opera for its performing arts program. In its early years the opera company was known for its alternative and progressive programming. The company avoided star singers, instead focusing on singer-actors. They were admired for commissioning new works and their policy of presenting "opera without elephants." H. Wesley Balk was with the company from 1965-1984 and was known for his radical interpretations of opera classics. One memorable performance was Donizetti's ``Lucia di Lammermoor'' in which Balk placed heroine Lucia in a cage. The audience's response was to boo, Balk responded to the crew backstage, "I know they're awake!"

It became the Minnesota Opera in 1973. Locations of early productions included the Guthrie Theater, O'Shaughnessy Auditorium, Hennepin Methodist Church and the Prom Ballroom. In 1975 the Minnesota Opera merged with the St. Paul Opera and through the 1980s began to put on more traditional productions.

Stuck between its earlier identity as an avant-garde company and its embrace of more traditional operas, the company began a turnaround in 1986 when Kevin Smith was named general director. Smith made Dale Johnson the director of artistic planning. Johnson had an ear for new young singers and the quality and consistency of productions climbed during Smith's tenure. The dramatically intense 1990 production of "Carmen" was the breakthrough production of the new era. In 1987 there were 1,200 subscribers to the opera, by 1997 there were 6,600.

In 1985 the Minnesota Opera became a founding tenant of the Ordway Theater in St. Paul. The company continues to have a presence in Minneapolis at the Minnesota Opera Center, located at 620 North First Street in the Warehouse District of Minneapolis.


Description of Collection:

Three boxes of materials from 1963 to 2000. Included is a list of the first 25 years of productions with locations and dates. A nearly complete collection of programs from the early years to the 1980s and some clipped reviews are in the three manuscript boxes. The collection is located above the vertical file in the closed stacks where the subject of Music is housed. Included is some Board of Directors Materials donated by Barbara Flanagan including Board handbooks.


Subject Headings

Corporate Bodies

Center Opera of Minnesota.

Subjects

Opera companies--Minnesota

Table of Contents


Newspaper Clippings: Reviews, Articles 1964-1972 -- Box 1, Folder 1
Mailings -- Box 1, Folder 2
Finding List Operas 1964-1983 -- Box 1, Folder 3
Opera News -- Box 1, Folder 4
Programs 1963-1964 -- Box 1, Folder 5
Programs 1965 -- Box 1, Folder 6
Programs 1966 -- Box 1, Folder 7
Programs 1967 -- Box 1, Folder 8
Programs 1968 -- Box 1, Folder 9
Programs 1968-1969 -- Box 1, Folder 10
Programs 1969-1970 -- Box 1, Folder 11
Programs 1970-1971 -- Box 1, Folder 12
Programs 1971-1972 -- Box 1, Folder 13
Newspaper Clippings: Reviews, General Articles 1973-1985 -- Box 2, Folder 1
Programs 1973 -- Box 2, Folder 2
Programs 1973-1974 -- Box 2, Folder 3
Programs, Press Releases 1974-1975 -- Box 2, Folder 4
Programs 1976-1977 -- Box 2, Folder 6
Programs, Press Releases, Correspondence 1975-1976 -- Box 2, Folder 5
Programs 1977-1978 -- Box 2, Folder 7
Programs 1978-1979 -- Box 2, Folder 8
Programs 1979-1098 -- Box 2, Folder 9
Programs 1980-1981 -- Box 2, Folder 10
Programs 1981-1982 -- Box 2, Folder 11
Programs 1982-1983 -- Box 2, Folder 12
Programs 1983-1984 -- Box 3, Folder 1
Brochures 1984-1985 -- Box 3, Folder 2
Programs 1987-1988 -- Box 3, Folder 3
Programs 1992-1993 -- Box 3, Folder 4
Programs 1994-1995 -- Box 3, Folder 5
Programs 1996-1997 -- Box 3, Folder 6
Programs 1998-2001 -- Box 3, Folder 7
Board of Directors 1992 -- Box 3, Folder 8
Board of Directors 1992-1993 -- Box 3, Folder 9
Musicians Union 1993 -- Box 3, Folder 10
Financial Report 1992 -- Box 3, Folder 11
Community Relations Committee 1993-1994 -- Box 3, Folder 12
Board Handbook 1992-1993 -- Box 3, Folder 13
Board Handbook 1994 -- Box 3, Folder 14


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