Major opera production kicks off Range tour tonight

A casual drive through northern Minnesota’s Iron Range might give you the false impression that the Range is nothing but ATV shops and random industrial sprawl. Well, it is those things, but also more. People often overlook the artistic depth of the area, something illustrated by the number of opera houses and performance halls – active and “historical” – found throughout the region.

One of the Range’s best venues (and a likely future site for the Great Northern Radio Show) is the high school theater in Aurora, where tonight a major production of the opera “Pagliacci” opens for an Iron Range tour.

Aurora native Veda Zuponcic is the opera’s artistic director and was instrumental in bringing the opera to the Range for the Northern Lights Music Festival in Aurora. Her son Maestro Gavriel Heine is the conductor. There is a cavalcade of unpronounceable European and Russian names in the list of principles, suggesting to this uneducated observer a “super legit big deal” opera. “Pagliacci,” of course, is the Italian word for “Monster Truck.” I’m sorry, wait. No, it’s a name. Sorry about that. The Mesabi Daily News has the story.

The first showing of the opera will be tonight at 7 at the Mesabi East auditorium with a second show Friday at 7 p.m. The opera will then move to the Chisholm High School auditorium for a 4 p.m. Sunday show and then back up to Ely’s Washington auditorium Monday night at 7. Tickets are $15 and available at the door.

Interestingly, it seems the opera has been retooled somewhat, set in a fictional Iron Range town in 1915 and incorporating elements of Range history in the show’s ambiance. My goodness, go to this thing if you can.


  1. This is so cool! Darn it, I wish I could be back for this!

  2. I think I’ve found a last-minute birthday gift for the lady. Thanks, Aaron!

  3. “I Pagliacci” means “The Clowns” remember the Seinfeld Episode with the sad clown? This is the opera. Maxim Mikhailov is in it. He’s a pretty stellar russian basso profundo. His Grandfather (by the same name) was Joseph Stalin’s favorite singer, and often was required to perform private concerts for him. No joke.

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.