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Des Moines Metro Opera founder Robert Larsen remembered


Robert Larsen, the founder and artistic director emeritus of Des Metro Opera, died in Indianola on Sunday, the organization announced. He was 86. A visionary conductor and stage director, Larsen early in his career declined an offer from the Metropolitan Opera in New York City so he could remain in his home state to share his love for music and theater with his fellow Iowans. He launched Des Moines Metro Opera in June 1973, and served as conductor and stage director for every one of the nearly 120 productions for the company’s first 37 seasons – an unparalleled accomplishment in American music. He retired in 2009. “Dr. Larsen’s love of Iowa and great music was boundless,” Des Moines Metro Opera said in a statement. “Nothing delighted him more than great singing and marvelous young voices. His passion for music-making inspired all those who had the opportunity to work alongside him including artists, colleagues, students and members of the community.” Visitations will be held on Friday, March 26, from 3 to 8 p.m. at the Overton Funeral Home in Indianola and on Saturday, March 27, from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Walnut. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, no public graveside service is planned. When it is safe to do so, Des Moines Metro Opera will host a memorial concert to celebrate this extraordinary life. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Robert L. Larsen Scenic Fund at the Des Moines Metro Opera Foundation. See a memorial tribute to Larsen. 

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