|Fargo-Moorhead opera to perform at Museum of Art|
At 7 p.m. Sunday, May 20, the Fargo-Moorhead Opera will deliver a performance of the American opera, "Corps of Discovery," in the Museum Galleries. The Museum is located on Centennial Drive in Grand Forks. Call 777-4195 for more information.
Fargo-Moorhead Opera marks a milestone this spring with its first-ever statewide tour. The work is based on a story near and dear to our region, the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition. The Corps of Discovery by American composer Michael Ching even has a substantial scene in the company’s winter camp in Mandan. Mr. Ching has specially re-written the opera into a shorter touring version just for us.
The music is tuneful and powerful — and very American in feeling. You’ll be almost sure you’ve heard some of it somewhere before. From the beautiful lullaby sung by Sakakawea to her newborn child to the drinking songs of the corps, you’ll be whistling the tunes for weeks after you leave the theater.
The tour begins in Moorhead on May 18 at Weld Hall on the MSUM campus. Weld Hall with its wonderful acoustics and intimate size is a perfect place to premier this new version of the opera. Then we move to Grand Forks for a performance at the North Dakota Museum of Art Sunday, May 20. The company then hits the road to the far side of the state as we travel to Watford City for a performance on May 22. The final full performance will be at Mandan High School on May 25. We will also present excerpts from the opera at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Washburn. Be sure to tell your friends and family of this unique opportunity coming to a community nearby.
The dynamite cast will include the exotic Shana Blake Hill (who herself has Native American heritage) as Sakakawea. You’ll remember her last as the beautiful Leïla in "The Pearl Fishers." Mark Walters, the baritone who created the role of Captain William Clark for the original production of this opera (and who was also in our Pearl Fishers) has agreed to re-create the role here for us. David Hamilton will sing Captain Meriwether Lewis and newcomer Marc Schreiner will sing the role of Shannon. Memphis native Jonathan Blanchard will portray the role of the only African American on the journey – the slave York.
Composer Michael Ching — who is also general director of Opera Memphis—will conduct. He is most excited to have the opera presented where it takes place and is looking forward to his first trip to North Dakota.
For ticket information at the FM Opera office call (701)239-4558 or visit online at fargostuff.com. Tickets are limited, so call now.
Ticket information for tour venues:
May 20, North Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks, 7 p.m., 777-4195
May 22, Watford City High School, Watford City, 7:30 p.m., (701)444-5804, 800-701-2804
May 24, Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, Washburn, 7 p.m. (free concert), (701)462-8535
May 25, Mandan High School, Mandan, 7 p.m. (701)328-7590
The Museum is located on Centennial Drive in Grand Forks. Regular hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends. Call (777-4195 for information on current exhibitions, the Museum Café, or the Museum Gift Shop.
-- Brian Lofthus, Assistant to the Director, North Dakota Museum of Art, firstname.lastname@example.org, 701 777-4195