How do you start up an opera company?

Philip Brunelle, rehearsing Center Opera singers in 1969.

Beginning in 1969, my Dad helped grow Center Opera into Minnesota Opera, serving as its Music Director for 17 years. It’s a fascinating journey akin to today’s technology start ups, filled with lots of musical entrepreneurialism as well as business entrepreneurialism.

In episode 06 of our podcast, Renaissance Man — Philip Brunelle and Music, we discuss moments such as how Philip was set up, without his knowledge, to audition for the Metropolitan Opera, and how he helped invent “The Newest Opera in the World.”

Philip’s journey illuminates the inventive years of American opera as it evolves from big cities and traditional repertoire into regional expertise exploring new forms and welcoming new composers including Dominick Argento, Conrad Susa and Libby Larson.

What is opera? Where did it come from? What is an opera company? What does an opera company musical director do? How do you start-up and then grow an opera company? These questions and more are answered in episode 06.

“If you want to take opera history, you want to take it — if you can — from a professor who is also an opera composer. Because you learn the ins and outs of what an opera is.”

Part 2 of our opera conversation is coming soon. In the meantime, you can catch up on discussions about being a church choir director, election music and music education here.

Subscribe to Renaissance Man via iTunes, Google Play or Stitcher.

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