FM Opera Young Artists Expose Qualms of Dating in “Speed Dating Tonight”

February is the month of love. Or, for people in the dating world, the month – especially Valentine’s Day – is a glaring reminder of just how single we are. The search for love is tough, and the societal pressure to find it is worse. But you still got to try, right?

For its upcoming performance of the comedic one-act opera “Speed Dating Tonight,” the F-M Opera Gate City Bank Young Artists play on the different ways people find love. More often than not, dating exposes our little quirks – and by “expose” I mean “sticks a gigantic magnifying glass on them with a neon sign that says ‘WEIRD BUT LOVABLE.’”

“’Speed Dating Tonight’ is meant to show how people interact in their struggle to find love,” said Timothy Madden, a Gate City Bank Young Artist from Nebraska.

The performance, directed by Fred Heringes, will not be like other opera performances. Instead of singing on a stage in a theatre, the artists will be in an actual bar setting – Flatland Brewery or Rustica – and sing directly to the audience. They’ll also play multiple characters, with some performers playing as many as four different roles.

“Speed Dating Tonight” performers rehearse at Concordia Wednesday, Feb. 15.

Now in its fourth year, the Young Artist program – funded with a generous grant from Gate City Bank – is the first of its kind in the region. The program serves as a stepping-stone for graduate-level opera students to professional opera careers.

The Twin Cities Opera Guild, the Fargo-Moorhead Area Foundation and Anda Properties also help fund the program.

Along with Madden, this year’s Young Artists are Nick DeMeo (Florida), Kate Jackman (Virginia) and Elizabeth Lewis (Australia). FM Opera general director David Hamilton chose each artist from a pool of over 170 applicants when they auditioned in New York City last year.

FM Opera 2017 Gate City Bank Young Artists. Left to right: Timothy Madden, Elizabeth Lewis, Kate Jackman and Nick DeMeo.

After 10 weeks performing in “Speed Dating Tonight,” “Pirates of Penzance” and around the community, the Young Artists move on to the Cities in April to work with the Twin Cities Opera Guild for two weeks.

Last year’s Young Artists worked with the guild for the first time, and since it was such a success, the 2017 Young Artists were invited to do the same. F-M Opera relationship director Shirley Leiphon hopes it’ll become a long-term component of the Young Artist program.

“Speed Dating Tonight” is at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Flatland Brewery and 7:30 p.m. Monday at Rustica. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at fmopera.org. Flatland Brewery is located at 3140 Bluestem Drive #105 in West Fargo and Rustica is located at 315 Main Avenue in Moorhead.

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