Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Celebrating 50 Years with Three Decembers

Theatre | February 13th, 2019

Anne Jennifer Nash as Beatrice - photograph provided by FM Opera

To many people unfamiliar with the wide range of the musical genre, the word ‘opera’ conjures up stereotypical images of people in period costumes and large women in Viking garb singing in foreign languages. The truth, however, is that opera has continued to evolve over its life as an art form. FM Opera, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, has been introducing people to the wide range opera can take as an art form during its long tenure in Fargo.

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview David Hamilton, the general director of FM Opera since 2006, about their upcoming production of “Three Decembers” a modern piece that is not only entertaining but serves as proof that opera is perfectly capable of addressing contemporary concerns. 

“This is a very true to life exploration of a family and their lives over twenty years,” Hamilton said. “It’s in English. It’s also a production that I wouldn’t bring anyone under twelve to. The language is certainly true to life with a fair number of swear words-- not any more than you’d see on Netflix these days--but definitely not your grandma’s opera. It really is kind of a cross between opera and musical theater in the way the music and text speak directly to our lives. And, it’s only 90 minutes long.”

“Three Decembers” was composed by Jake Heggie, who is currently the #1 opera composer in the world, with a libretto by Gene Scheer based on an unfinished play by Terrence McNally. The production originally premiered in 2008. It concerns an overbearing Broadway diva and her two (now adult) children from December 1986 to 1996 to 2006. Because their mother was largely absent from their lives growing up and has a tendency to make everything center around her, her offspring resent her. “It opens with them reading one of her famous long-winded Christmas letters and then uses Christmas-time as a theme that weaves through the piece,” said Hamilton, “though there are several scenes that are not in December i.e. the Tony Awards when mother receives the nomination for best actress in a musical. It’s not really a holiday opera--more about family dynamics both funny and touching.”

The production, like many of those by FM Opera, features a mix of both local and national performers. The two leading ladies, Lucy Thrasher as Maddy and Anne Jennifer Nash as her daughter Bea are both voice professors who hail from Concordia in Moorhead and will be singing their roles for the first time. The son, Charlie, is played by Robert Wesley Mason, who is from New York and recently took part in a different production of Three Decembers in Nashville. The conductor, Cody Martin, lives in Florida. The stage director, Austin Regan, is a Fargo native who currently lives in New York and works on Broadway at the Metropolitan Opera and has a directing credit for Verdi’s “Rigoletto” with the Minnesota Opera under his belt.

Hamilton finished by saying, “This piece packs a lot of emotion into its 90 minutes. And, I can’t think of any other work that has a duet for the soprano and baritone about shoes and how therapeutic it is to buy a new pair of Jimmy Choos! Everyone will laugh one minute and turn around and cry at the next scene.”

IF YOU GO:

Friday, February 15th at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, February 17th at 2:00 p.m.

Weld Hall, MUSM

Tickets $30 in advance ($5 for students of any age)

More info and purchase tickets: fmopera.org or (701) 239-4558

Not suitable for children under 12

Recently in:

Alicia Underlee Nelsonalicia@hpr1.com A midnight wedding ceremony at the Clay County Courthouse in Moorhead on August 1, 2013 was more than a romantic gesture. Eighteen couples made history on that day by exchanging vows in the…

Need more events? Check out our July 2024 and August 2024 calendars. (They're cleverly split up to save you some scrolling.)MaySpring CrowsNow - June 28, Spirit Room, FargoForty artists display works centered around a crow theme.…

Need more events? Check out our July 2024 and August 2024 calendars. (They're cleverly split up to save you some scrolling.)MaySpring CrowsNow - June 28, Spirit Room, FargoForty artists display works centered around a crow theme.…

Our opinion: Has Fargo lost its cool?By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.com On April 24, The Forum reported that Zandbroz Variety would be closing its doors after 33 years, and the announcement hit like a ton of books. Upon hearing…

By Ed Raymondfargogadfly@gmail.comIs It Possible to Move from a Tent on a Sidewalk to a Garage in the Sky? There have been wealthy people who added a car elevator to the mansion for their Bentleys so they could unload groceries…

By Rick Gionrickgion@gmail.com Holiday wine shopping shouldn’t have to be complicated. But unfortunately it can cause unneeded anxiety due to an overabundance of choices. Don’t fret my friends, we once again have you covered…

By Rick Gionrickgion@gmail.com In this land of hotdish and ham, the knoephla soup of German-Russian heritage seems to reign supreme. In my opinion though, the French have the superior soup. With a cheesy top layer, toasted baguette…

By John Showalterjohn.d.showalter@gmail.com Musicians in the Fargo-Moorhead area are often supportive of each other. They will attend each other’s shows, collaborate on projects, play as openers for each other, so on and so…

Now playing at the Fargo Theatre.By Greg Carlson gregcarlson1@gmail.comPalme d’Or recipient “Anatomy of a Fall” is now enjoying an award-season victory tour, recently picking up Golden Globe wins for both screenplay and…

By David L. Newellhistory@nd.gov If your Spidey senses are tingling, it may be because Marvelocity: The Art of Alex Ross is coming to the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum. The traveling exhibition, developed by the Bess…

By John Showalterjohn.d.showalter@gmail.comHigh Plains Reader had the opportunity to interview two mysterious new game show hosts named Milt and Bradley Barker about an upcoming event they will be putting on at Brewhalla. What…

By Annie Prafckeannieprafcke@gmail.com AUSTIN, Texas – As a Chinese-American, connecting to my culture through food is essential, and no dish brings me back to my mother’s kitchen quite like hotdish. Yes, you heard me right –…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comNew Jamestown Brewery Serves up Local FlavorThere’s something delicious brewing out here on the prairie and it just so happens to be the newest brewery west of the Red River and east of the…

By John Showalter  john.d.showalter@gmail.comThey sell fentanyl test strips and kits to harm-reduction organizations and…

JANUARY 19, 1967– MARCH 8, 2023 Brittney Leigh Goodman, 56, of Fargo, N.D., passed away unexpectedly at her home on March 8, 2023. Brittney was born January 19, 1967, to Ruth Wilson Pollock and Donald Ray Goodman, in Hardinsburg,…

By Jim Fugliejimfuglie920@gmail.com I am an old man. I have been a politics junkie most of my life. I have been involved in many campaigns, but have not run for office myself. Each time someone has suggested I do that, I tell them…