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NEWS: Minnesota Opera Cancels Traditional 2020-2021 Season, Plans Outdoor and Digital Fall 2020

The operatic adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining is one of several productions missing in Minnesota Opera’s recently retooled 2020-2021 season plans. Photo by Theresa Murray.

Minnesota Opera announced today that the company is discarding its 2020-2021 season plans in favor of a retooled outdoor/digital fall season and a still-to-be-announced slate of programming for Spring 2021.

“We present today an innovative approach and a new 2020 Fall Season that draws on the creative reserves of our company,” said MN Opera President and General Director Ryan Taylor. “We believe it provides a new path forward for our organization, as we look forward to returning to the Ordway in the spring.”

This new path forward begins with a move away from the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, starting with an outdoor concert experience in October at CHS Field in downtown St. Paul. The move to an outdoor stadium will help the company avoid potential concerns with COVID-19 and indoor air circulation, as well as facilitate social distancing. This season-opening “Opera in the Outfield” performance will incorporate the stadium’s large video board, and will also be available for livestreamed, ticketed viewing. 

The company’s second direction is to reach into its back catalogue of recorded performances for scheduled video streaming. This “virtual” season programming will include:

  • Wuthering Heights, which MN Opera produced in 2011. Available October 10-24, 2020.
  • A 3D video adaptation of its 2016 production of Das Rheingold. Available November 14-28, 2020.
  • An upcoming holiday special performance, to be broadcast live from the Ordway on December 13. Available December 13-27, 2020.

Two other past productions, Casanova’s Homecoming (2009 production) and Silent Night (2018 production), will be broadcast via MPR on October 27 and December 1, respectively.

Minnesota Opera emphasized that its planned staging of Jeanine Tesori and Tazewell Thompson’s opera Blue, about the killing of an unarmed Black man at the hands of a police officer, was only being delayed to a future season. No word was available about its plans for the hotly anticipated return of The Shining, which had been planned for the original 2020-2021 season.

Amy Donahue