Kevin Puts and librettist Mark Campbell were the creative team behind 2011’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Silent Night” at the Minnesota Opera.

Tom Wallace, Star Tribune

Puts, Campbell to do 'Manchurian Candidate' for Minnesota Opera

  • Article by: Graydon Royce
  • Star Tribune
  • February 20, 2014 - 9:57 AM

The creative team behind 2011’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Silent Night” will return to the Minnesota Opera to bring “The Manchurian Candidate” to stage in March 2015.

The world premiere by composer Kevin Puts and librettist Mark Campbell is one of five productions announced this week for the Minnesota Opera’s 2014-15 season.

Twice made into films, “The Manchurian Candidate” follows a brainwashed soldier who is manipulated into joining a plot to overthrow the government. The adaptation of Richard Condon’s 1959 novel is the latest effort in the company’s New Works Initiative, a program begun in 2008 to foster new and seldom-produced operas. “Silent Night” was the most prominent. Last January, John Patrick Shanley’s “Doubt,” with a score by Douglas Cuomo, had its world premiere.

The season opens Sept. 20 with Puccini’s “La Fanciulla del West,” the composer’s take on the American West with saloons, gold mines, outlaws and sheriffs. The production brings back bass-baritone Greer Grimsley (recently Macbeth) and marks the Minnesota Opera directing debut of Doug Scholz-Carlson, a director and often a fight choreographer for local theaters.

“Hansel and Gretel” runs Nov. 1-8 in a new production with soprano Angela Mortellaro as Gretel and mezzo Stephanie Lauricella in the pants role of Hansel.

The season goes back to the Italian repertoire Jan. 24-31 with Donizetti’s “The Elixir of Love.” It’s a comic piece about a country rube who tries to win the heart of a skeptical wealthy land owner. Nicole Cabell, winner of the 2005 BBC Singer of the World competition, makes her Minnesota debut along with tenor Leonardo Capalbo.

Capalbo will stay in Minnesota to sing the role of Major Bennett Marco in “The Manchurian Candidate,” with baritone Matthew Worth (who sang Father Flynn in “Doubt”) as Raymond Shaw. Brenda Harris (“Macbeth” and “Dream of Valentino”) sings Eleanor Iselin, Raymond’s devious and domineering mother. Kevin Newbury (“Doubt”) will direct with Minnesota Opera music director Michael Christie in the pit for four performances March 7-14.

The season concludes with Bizet’s “Carmen” April 25-May 3, with mezzo Nora Sourouzian making her Minnesota debut.

All shows are at the Ordway Center in St. Paul. For information and tickets, go to or call 612-333-6669.


Graydon Royce • 612-673-7299


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