Above: Minnesota-born soprano Kelly Kaduce, one of the stars from the 2016 premiere of "The Shining," returns to Minnesota Opera next season to sing the title role in "Thaïs."
What's in store for the 2017-18 season at Minnesota Opera? A little Mozart, a little Verdi. Alas, there will be nothing to feed the Wagnerians, but Minnesota opera buffs can expect the usual serving of contemporary work.
Unlike recent years, the opera's 55th season, announced Sunday night, does not offer a world premiere. Instead, the contemporary entry will be "Dead Man Walking" by Jake Heggie, an opera from 2000 -- sung in English, of course, with a libretto by playwright Terrence McNally -- based on the memoir by Sister Helen Prejean that led to an Oscar-winning movie starring Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon. The Minnesota Opera calls it "the most performed new opera of the 21st century." It will be staged Jan. 27-Feb. 3, 2018.
The season also does not include a Wagner opera, as some speculated in light of the company's 2016 production of "Das Rheingold," the prelude to Wagner's vast "Ring" cycle. However, three of the season's five operas are beloved classics of the opera repertoire: Donizetti’s farcical "Don Pasquale" (coming in October), Mozart's infectious "The Marriage of Figaro" (November) and Verdi's tragic "Rigoletto" (March 2018).
The season also brings the Minnesota Opera premiere of "Thaïs," a little-performed French opera by Jules Massenet from 1894. "Thaïs" is the story of a beautiful courtesan who, according to legend, repented and converted to Christianity in 4th century Egypt. The production stars Minnesota-born soprano Kelly Kaduce, who also played Wendy Torrance in Minnesota Opera's 2016 premiere of "The Shining." The production opens May 2018.
Minnesota Opera's season ticket packages run $62-$821 and are available immediately via mnopera.org or by calling 612-333-6669. Tickets for individual shows go on sale next summer.