Opera in the Park

Acis and Galatea:  Opera in the Park is on us!

The Duluth Festival Opera is excited to present open-air opera free to the people of the region to celebrate our fifth anniversary.  With the help of generous grants from the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation, Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, Minnesota Power Foundation, and the Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation, we are able to bring in our celebrated performers and join with Markand Thakar and the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra to put on a performance of one of Handel’s beloved operas, Acis and Galatea.

With Leif Erikson Park as the beautiful backdrop for this production about love and loss, we’d like you to consider the words of our artistic director, Craig Fields:

A rock spring, a majestic mountain, a verdant river valley, a dead lover, the pain of loss, the power of transformation; this simple, pastoral story, taken from the eighth book of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, is an uncommonly beautiful affirmation of love’s spiritually transformational power.


Many have tried to make sense out of a senseless death, but we struggle with life when it doesn’t seem reasonable or fair or just. We hate to deal with senseless tragedy because we don’t understand it. At that moment, we see only darkness and feel only pain, but after time we can often look back on that tragic ending as the simultaneous new beginning of something positive and life affirming.  And with this new beginning come understanding, peace and consolation. This is the miracle of transformation that only the heart can comprehend.


The story of the opera works on two levels: On the surface, it attempts to explain the natural wonder of a rock spring that flows from the foot of Mt. Aetna to feed a verdant river valley.  Beyond this, however, it depicts the love story of two young innocents, the tragic murder of the young shepherd boy by a jealous, monstrous one-eyed, Cyclops who becomes his rival in loving Galatea; followed by a miraculous transformation born out of Galatea’s pure love.


This is love, romance, tragedy and a miracle rolled into one compact hour of music-theater and dance. It illuminates the power of Handel, the composer, to inspire the human spirit in his melodic garden of delights.


Delightful music, bel canto singing, summer’s evening glow, an uplifting story that turns tragedy into a lesson about loving and being loved.

Joined by the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra under the musical direction of Markand Thakar, this “opera gift” from the DFO to the community is the centerpiece of our programming for this festival season.  Please join us for this family-friendly performance — a one-of-a-kind chance in Duluth to catch a professionally presented opera performance, free of charge, along the shores of Lake Superior, as a beautiful musical finale to the summer.  Food and beverages from Valentini’s Vicino Lago will be available in the park before and during the performance.

We’ll see you there.  Check out our video for more information on Acis and Galatea below.