Minnesota Opera has staged every major Dominick Argento opera but one. That will change with the 2013-14 season, when the company produces The Dream of Valentino as its New Works Initiative production.
The Dream of Valentino, from Argento and librettist Charles Nolte, is a joint commission by Washington and Dallas operas. The work received its world premiere in 1994 at The Kennedy Center. Eric Simonson (The Grapes of Wrath, Silent Night) directs and Christoph Campestrini (Werther) conducts this revised premiere. The opera tells a story around the life and loves of early 20th century film and stage star Rudolph Valentino.
“I have known Dominick since my first season when Minnesota Opera premiered Casanova’s Homecoming in 1985 and have always admired the freshness and vibrancy of his works,” Artistic Director Dale Johnson said in a written statement. “The Dream of Valentino is the only major Argento opera that we have not staged and I thought it imperative, as we began the New Works Initiative, that we invest in producing his entire canon. After I approached Dominick to discuss this revival, he spent the summer making major changes to literally give Valentino a new beginning. By reworking the dramaturgy and focusing more on Valentino the artist, Dominick feels that the work will better embody how Hollywood uses its artists and tosses them away when they are no longer convenient.”
Minnesota Opera’s New Works Initiative is a landmark program designed to invigorate the operatic repertoire with an infusion of contemporary works.
Pictured: Dominick Argento.