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Bill Morelock
The Opera


The Handmaid's Tale

Listen to Margaret Atwood on Talking Volumes
Handmaid's Tale makes U.S. Premiere
By Marriane Combs
• "Interview with Poul Ruders and Dale Johnson"
MPR's Lauren Rico speaks to the Minnesota Opera's artistic director and the composer.
• "Modern Literary Inspirations"
MPR's Rex Levang examines literary adaptation and social statement as trends in modern opera.
Costume Sketch Slideshow
See artist renderings of the opera's dramatic costumes.
Set Models Slideshow
The set models slowly evolve to follow the story's drama.

Continue the discussion

Discuss the novel
Discuss adaptation of stories into operas

Poul Ruders Web site

Behind the Scenes

MPR's Lauren Rico goes behind the scenes (literally) for a look at what goes into making the props, period costumes, and lavish sets.

Set Shop: Listen part 1 | Listen part 2 | Slideshow: Flash - HTML
Costume Shop: Listen | Slideshow Flash - HTML
Prop Shop: Listen | Slideshow Flash - HTML

The Merry Widow by Franz Lehár

Listen to Minnesota Opera Artistic Director Dale Johnson:

1. on the background of the Merry Widow. (:54)
2. on the plot of the Merry Widow. (2:13)
3. on the appeal of the Merry Widow, even today. (:51)
4. discusses and demonstrates musical selections from the Merry Widow. (1:54)
5. discusses and demonstrates musical selections from the Merry Widow. (4:16)

Amahl and the Night Visitors

Listen to MPR's Mindy Ratner converse with James Sewell, choreographer and founder of the James Sewell Ballet, and Nathaniel Irvin, the 11-year-old boy who sings the role of Amahl in the Minnesota Orchestra's current production of Gian Carlo Menotti's opera Amahl and the Night Visitors

Listen to a short clip from the original 1951 NBC telecast, which was unfortunately destroyed by fire.

The Marriage of Figaro

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was looking to make a name for himself in Italian opera, and certainly succeeded with his enormously successful adaption of this controversial play. For more, read Brandi Parisi's synopsis and historical background and view photographs from the Minnesota Opera's performance.

Der Rosenkavalier

For this opera's somewhat "light" comic fare, Strauss composed some of his most luxuriant music, filled with colorful waltzes and some lovely ensemble pieces. View a slide show of the Minnesota Opera's performance, hear cast interviews, and more.


Browse through the Minnesota Opera's production of Gounod's Faust, whose legendary deal with the devil has captivated audiences for centuries with its themes of desire, sacrifice, and redemption.


The Minnesota Opera recently gave Rossini's Semiramide a radical new look, giving new depth to what had traditionally been a music-oriented opera. Read host Brandi Parisi's plot synopsis and enjoy a virtual slideshow of this breathtaking performance.


Enjoy our Web version of Puccini's "shabby little shocker"—it has more than 30 pages of dramatic images and text and includes recipes for a dinner with Scarpia.

The Turn of the Screw

Benjamin Britten's adaption of Henry James's Victorian psychological thriller/ghost story. Walk through this visually lush production, featuring performance photographs, background, and cast interviews.


Dizzying in its rapid-fire scene changes—almost 30 in Act 3 alone—this production presented George Antheil's vision of a pre-Depression America swept up in the excitement and intrigue of presidential politics. Enjoy show images, a synopsis, and audio interviews.