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Des Moines Metro Opera Presents PORGY AND BESS Next Month in Honor of Simon Estes' Farewell

The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess will open on July 1 and run for seven performances through July 24.

Des Moines Metro Opera Presents PORGY AND BESS Next Month in Honor of Simon Estes' Farewell

This July, Des Moines Metro Opera (DMMO) will present the Iowa premiere of The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess in honor of international opera star and Iowa native Simon Estes upon the announcement of his operatic farewell.

Estes will appear in the role of Lawyer Frazier, his 103rd and final operatic role of a nearly 60 year career. "It is fitting that my final performance on the operatic stage will be in my home state and in Des Moines, Iowa," Estes said. His storied international career brought him to 84 major opera houses and 115 symphony orchestras around the world. He will continue to perform concerts and teach as a Professor at Iowa State University and Des Moines Area Community College. He is also collaborating on a feature documentary of his life.

Simon Estes premiered the role of Porgy in Porgy and Bess at the Metropolitan Opera in February 1985. His final performance will be as Lawyer Frazier in DMMO's production, a role he is dedicating to his friend, the late bass Arthur Woodley. Estes also serves as Producing Advisor of this new production directed by Tazewell Thompson and conducted by Michael Ellis Ingram.

The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess will open on July 1 and run for seven performances through July 24 at the Blank Performing Arts Center in Indianola, Iowa. "We are honored to host Mr. Estes' operatic farewell on what will also be the first time he's performed on a professional opera stage in Iowa," Michael Egel, the Linda Koehn General and Artistic Director said. "Simon is an opera legend and treasure to our state. His generosity and expertise make our 50th anniversary season a historic one."

Since its premiere in 1935, Porgy and Bess has garnered critical acclaim and inspired passionate reactions. Featuring some of the most beautiful and beloved songs ever written the opera shines a light on a chapter from the nation's past as culturally challenging as its songs and characters are universally cherished. The work inspires conversations as passionate and relevant today as ever.

Tickets for DMMO's 50th anniversary season can be purchased at or by calling 515-961-6221.

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