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Des Moines Metro Opera announces expanded commission of ‘American Apollo’


The Des Moines Metro Opera commissioned an expanded version of the opera “American Apollo” to be performed in 2024, the opera announced this week. DMMO is partnering with the Pyramid Theatre Company and the Des Moines Art Center to perform the original 20-minute version of the opera in 2022. The opera was originally commissioned by Washington National Opera to tell the story of Thomas Eugene McKeller, a Black model and elevator attendant who served as the inspiration for painter John Singer Sargent’s murals of white gods and goddesses in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. DMMO received a $100,000 leadership gift from Harry Bookey and Pamela Bass-Bookey to support the expanded commission and DMMO’s upcoming 50th anniversary campaign in 2022. Boston curator Nathaniel Silver of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, who rediscovered the Singer sketches of McKeller, will be present at the 2022 performance of the original opera.

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