Audrey Babcock performed the title role of "Carmen" in Mill City Summer Opera's 2018 outdoor staging in the courtyard of Mill City Museum (photo by Dan Norman)

Mill City Summer Opera announced plans for its 2020 season — its first since losing its lease at the historic Mill City Museum ruins, and the departure of artistic director Crystal Manich after just one season.

"Rigoletto," Verdi’s 1851 opera about a court jester seeking vengeance on the nobleman who seduced his daughter, will be staged for six performances July 17-23 at Paikka, a boutique events venue in St. Paul's Vandalia Tower, where both indoor and outdoor performing spaces will be used.

Last year’s experiment of staging a smaller, chamber opera at the Icehouse bar and restaurant in Minneapolis will also be repeated, with Mozart’s one-act comedy "The Impresario" running for four performances across two evenings (July 27 and 29).

Announcing MCSO’s ninth season, executive director Cory Johnson — one of two new appointments made in the wake of Manich’s departure in August — predicted it would be “our most imaginative yet.”

Stage director Katherine M. Carter has been hired to stage the new "Rigoletto" on the recommendation of MCSO’s artistic adviser Eric Einhorn, the other post-Manich appointment.

Carter has worked extensively in both theater and opera, for companies including Santa Fe Opera, Houston Grand Opera and Boston Lyric Opera.

Her "Rigoletto" will, the company says, be radical — updated to the present, and set at “a celebrity fashion product launch event” that frames the story “in the context of modern-day issues of consent and power.”

Conductor Emily Senturia will lead a scaled-down orchestra of 12 players.

The Vandalia Tower venue is “not the new permanent home” of Mill City Summer Opera, the company commented in its announcement, raising the prospect of another change of location for the 2021 season.

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