For all the accolades showered upon the iconic figures of early cinema history, the movie industry consistently followed a coldly pragmatic practice of letting temperamental public opinion determine the length of stardom. Box office winners were welcome to walk the red carpet; fallen matinee idols were requested to stay behind the velvet rope. Targeting the disposable nature of Hollywood celebrities, the Minnesota Opera is unveiling The Dream of Valentino, a contemporary work by the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Dominick Argento. Inspired by the trials endured by Rudolph Valentino, the defining heartthrob of film's silent era, this original work looks beyond the intoxicating illusions of glamour to expose an unchecked avarice that reduces artists to commodities in the Hollywood machine. For Argento, the production represents the latest chapter in the composer's career-long involvement with the Twin Cities, having been one of the original founders of the Center Opera Company, a direct precursor to the Minnesota Opera. Premiered to acclaim in 1994 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., The Dream of Valentino has been thoroughly revised specifically for this new production courtesy of the Minnesota Opera's New Works Initiative. Coupling renowned tenor James Valenti (in the title role) with standout soprano Brenda Harris, director Eric Simonson will explore a human drama combustible enough to inflame the celluloid fables of silver-screen immortality.
Thursdays, Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: March 1. Continues through March 9, 2014