Fort McCoy (Sparta, WI)
Minnesota Opera singers perform at Fort McCoy. Photo by Lani Willis.
The show must go on! Minnesota Opera's performance took place on the day of the first major snowstorm of the year, a bit nerve-wracking for both base personnel and the opera company. Despite the fact that it had been snowing since noon, people still arrived at 7 p.m. The performance was enthusiastically received, and many audience members stayed afterwards to talk with the artists.
"Habanera" from Carmen was a highlight of the evening. Minnesota Opera had brought lighting which created dramatic effects during this song, and mezzo-soprano Angela Keeton went into the audience to interact with guests as she sang. "I Could Have Danced all Night" from My Fair Lady was also a crowd favorite, and the audience was treated to a sneak peek at songs from Minnesota Opera's newly commissioned opera The Grapes of Wrath. Also of note was the great "shift in attention" of the audience during the patriotic numbers—"God Bless America" and "America the Beautiful." As we've learned from earlier performances, it's incredible to see the reaction of a military audience to a patriotic classic well sung.
Minnesota Opera's performance was greatly enhanced by special lighting and the use of slides projected onto the backdrop to complement the songs. For example, during a song from The Grapes of Wrath, Dorothea Lange's iconic photograph "Migrant Mother" was visible behind the singers. It was a very special night, an event probably unlike anything this rural Army base has experience before.
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