Duluth Festival Opera leaves Duluth

The Duluth Festival Opera, or DFO as it’s known, will come to an end in 2013.


The Duluth Festival Opera’s concert Three Terrific Tenors from August, 2005

Photo by Ken Pogin

According to Artistic Director Craig Fields, the DFO simply is not receiving the kind of community financial support it needs to survive.

Over its eight year history the DFO has become known for staging high quality opera, occasionally bringing in talent from the Metropolitan Opera to perform. In 2008, the DFO was awarded the Duluth Depot Foundation’s prestigious “Cultural Enrichment Award.”

In 2011 the DFO was awarded a $100,000 grant from the Cultural Heritage Fund to tour an opera by a Minnesotan composer. It performed Linda Tutas Haugen’s Pocahontas, a Woman of Two Worlds, in Duluth, Grand Rapids, Ely and Burnsville

Still, foundation support and ticket sales have steadily declined since 2009.

But Fields says that doesn’t this doesn’t necessarily mark the end for the company. Fields, a resident of the Twin Ciites, wants to relocate the company to the metro area with a new board, under a new name.

“I want to come up with a viable method to produce opera in the Twin Cities and tour it to places like Duluth,” says Fields. “My vision would be to produce opera on a smaller scale but with the same quality singing as the Minnesota Opera.”

Fields says he admires the work of companies like Mixed Precipitation, which bring opera to unusual settings in order to reach new audiences.

“You close a door and a new one opens,” says Fields. “We had a great eight year ride, and we’re trying to end on a positive note.”

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