Manitoba Underground Opera writes the next chapter in their weird and wonderful history as they present a literary-inspired season filled with three operatic works set to jump off the page.  


“These three shows are bucket list pieces for me,” says MUO Executive Director Brendan McKeen. “These are ‘we need to make sure we are doing them’ (productions).”  



"Rocking Horse Winner" (May 22-23)

The season begins with an operatic adaptation of D.H. Lawrence’s short story “Rocking Horse Winner.”  

Commissioned by Tapestry Opera and Scottish Opera, the Gareth Williams score with Anna Chatterton libretto premiered in 2016. It was set for a remount in 2020, before the company pivoted to a digital release – one which captured McKeen’s attention.  

“I think I listened to it at least 14 times in the first day,” recounts McKeen. “I just knew that was the sort of show we needed to present.”  

Taking place in the opulent Millenium Centre, the opera takes a critical look at finances, consumers and family.  

"Hansel and Gretel" (August 21-25)

In August, the company returns to the Winnipeg Art Gallery to present a Brothers Grimm classic: Hansel and Gretel. 

The Engelbert Humperdinck opera features a gorgeous score to accompany the abandoned siblings in their escape from the evil witch in the woods.  

Rather than a wandering production through a forest – which, McKeen admits would have had the stage mangers “walk-off” in protest – MUO plans on using the blank space of the Muriel Richardson Auditorium of the Winnipeg Art Gallery and building a visual forest with the help of projections done by local artist jaymez.  

“This man is spectacular,” says McKeen, who also worked with him last season. “There will be projections covering so many of the walls, (as we watch) Hansel and Grettel roam.” 

"Tales of Hoffman" (September 18-29)

Manitoba Underground Opera closes out their run with a new telling of “The Tales of Hoffman.”  

Showcasing the absurd adventures of a hapless would-be romantic, it is a production that is most often seen in over-the-top realizations.  

“The spectacle of it, the grandiosity... it’s always too much,” says McKeen. “We said: ‘how on earth could we be too much?’”  

MUO’s answer is to return to Club 200 with drag performers, fabulous singers and, what should be, a very memorable evening of opera.  

“Unwritten” season passes have sold out, though tickets to individual productions are available through the website.  

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