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The Minnesota Opera's 1999 Season

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THE MINNESOTA OPERA'S 1999 SEASON will be a big, bold season of international talent and "firsts" for the company. In making the season announcement, Dale Johnson, The Minnesota Opera's artistic director, said, "With the 1999 season, we'll explore the full range of opera's power - from the 20th-century psychological thriller The Turn of the Screw to the warmth and beauty of Faust and Madame Butterfly to the grand passion of the monumental Otello.

The Opera kicks off 1999 with a first for the company - Verdi's great Otello (January 30, 31, February 2, 4, 6, 1999). The production stars Stephen O'Mara as Otello, Ana Maria Martinez and Nicole Folland as Desdemona, and Gary Simpson as Iago. John Keenan will return to conduct. Otello is sponsored by U.S. Bank.

Next, it's Puccini's Madame Butterfly (March 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 1999) in a Colin Graham production last seen at The Minnesota Opera in 1993, and starring Metropolitan Opera sensation Marina Mescheriakova and Italian tenor Cesare Zamparino (making his American debut). Minnesota baritone Kimm Julian reprises his role as Sharpless, Richard Buckley returns to conduct, and David Roth will direct.

The third offering is Benjamin Britten's extraordinary operatic adaptation of Henry James's The Turn of the Screw (April 10, 13, 15, 17, 18, 1999), designed by John Conklin. Originally directed by Mark Lamos for Glimmerglass Opera, it is new to The Minnesota Opera's repertoire. Scottish soprano Rosalind Sutherland stars as the governess, and Marianne Cornetti returns to sing the role of Mrs. Grose. Conductor Joel Revzen makes his Minnesota Opera debut. The Turn of the Screw is sponsored by Andersen Consulting.

And finally, the Opera presents another first: Faust (May 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23, 1999) with a vibrant new production directed by James Robinson and designed by Allen Moyer. It stars Polish soprano Izabela Labuda (in her America operatic debut) and Korean Yunah Lee as Marguerite, English tenor Paul Charles Clarke as Faust, Earle Patriarco as Valentine and Australian Daniel Sumegi and Armenian Tigran Martirossian as Mephistopheles, the most deliciously evil character in all of opera! Emmanuel Plasson conducts The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Faust is sponsored by American Express.

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