Iowa's Met Opera Auditions, U.S.A.F.'s Midwest Winds, and more for January

Dec 26, 2014

Updated 1/30/2015: André Watts, interviewed prior to his planned performance with the Des Moines Civic Music Association, will be unable to perform on the 31st due to a sudden illness. The Civic Music Association is coordinating further details. The original post continues below.

Ring in the New Year with a host of Iowa arts events around the state. The January Iowa Arts Showcase features:

  • Dr. Don Simonson, ISU’s Professor of Music and Voice Division Chair, and Sara Compton, the Outreach Coordinator for Iowa State Center, talking about the Metropolitan Opera National Council Iowa District Auditions
  • Captain Jason Plosch, Commander and Conductor of the U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America from the Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, discussing upcoming Iowa concerts featuring the Midwest Winds Woodwind Quintet
  • Operatic star Sydney Mancasola, sharing details about her career and her January 11th recital hosted by the Des Moines Metro Opera Guild
  • Internationally acclaimed pianist, André Watts, outlining his upcoming January performance celebrating  the 90th Anniversary of the Des Moines Civic Music Association
  • And William Ferrara, the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre’s guest stage director, revealing details about the CROT’s January production of Mozart’s, Don Giovanni.

For 18 years, Iowa State Center has hosted Iowa’s Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. This year’s auditions will be held at the Martha-Ellen Tye Recital Hall on the ISU Campus on January 10, 2015. This competition boasts 1500 participants nationally each year, and serves as a springboard to the Met stage. Singers between the ages of 20 and 30 compete in the Iowa District competition before advancing to the Upper Midwest Regional competition in Minneapolis and then to New York City. ISU’s Professor of Music and Voice Division Chair, Dr. Don Simonson, and Iowa State Center Outreach Coordinator, Sara Compton, share details on the competition and one of the judges, world-renowned tenor George Shirley.

U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America’s Commander and Conductor, Captain Jason Plosch, discusses the Midwest Winds Woodwind Quintet’s upcoming concerts across Iowa. Stationed at the Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, the quintet will perform at Iowa State University, University of Northern Iowa, Webster City Community Schools, Des Moines Arts Center, and Drake University in early February.

The Des Moines chapter of the Des Moines Metro Opera Guild is hosting a recital featuring guest soprano Sydney Mancasola on January 11, 2015 at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Des Moines. Mancasola performed the role of Comtesse Adèle in the Des Moines Metro Opera production of Rossini’s Le Comte Ory last summer. ISU Pianist Jodi Goble will join Sydney to perform works by Bellini, Debussy, Bizet, Manon, and Puccini. Mancasola gives us an inside look into her upcoming recital, as well as chats about her other future roles.

After 90 years of incredible concerts, the Des Moines Civic Music Association is hosting several world class performers to celebrate their anniversary. Internationally acclaimed guest pianist André Watts outlines several of the works for his January 31, 2015 recital at Drake University’s Sheslow Auditorium.

And guest stage director William Ferrara talks about the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre’s production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. A blend of comedy and tragedy, Don Giovanni reimagines the legend of the womanizing scoundrel Don Juan.

You can now listen to the January edition of the Iowa Arts Showcase right here.