Wonderful opportunity: Madrigal Singers to perform with DMMO

How excited are 22 Simpson College students about the prospect of performing with the Des Moines Metro Opera, under the direction of the legendary Dr. Robert L. Larsen?

They’re willing to cut short their Thanksgiving holiday break to rehearse.

“Of course they’re excited about it, and so am I,” said Larsen, a Professor Emeritus of Music at Simpson, where he served for 33 years as chairman of the Department of Music. He is the stage director for this production.

The students are members of Simpson’s Madrigal Singers group, and they will serve as the chorus for the Des Moines Metro Opera’s performance of, “Amahl and the Night Visitors.”

The one-act opera by Gian Carlo Menotti will be performed on Dec. 6 and 7 at Hoyt Sherman Theater in Des Moines.

This is another example of the kind of opportunities available to Simpson music students. Larsen, who still teaches on campus, was a co-founder of the Des Moines Metro Opera, which is based in Indianola.

Usually, he said, the chorus for a Metro Opera production would consist of professional singers who had auditioned for the roles, but the timing of “Amahl and the Night Visitors” produced an opportunity for the Madrigal Singers.

“The Madrigal group are fine singers and very capable of their assignment,” Larsen said. “They’re coming back early from Thanksgiving vacation to rehearse, and next week is finals week, so they’re plenty busy.”

Originally composed for television in 1951, the opera is a delightful and touching story of a poor woman and her child who play hosts to three mysterious strangers bearing gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6 and at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7.

Tickets for adults are $30, $35 and $40. Tickets for students are $10, $15 and $20. For more information, call Hoyt Sherman Place at (515)-244-0507, or go to www.hoytsherman.org or www.desmoinesmetroopera.org.