MN Opera’s Return with The Anonymous Lover

A comedic romance for those who need a little mischief in their lives!

After two years, Minnesota Opera makes its triumphant return to live performances at St. Paul’s Ordway stage with The Anonymous Lover — live and in person!

Written in 1780 by revolutionary Black composer, Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, this opera takes audience members on a tantalizing tale of comedy, love, and mischief set in the heart of the Caribbean.

The story follows Léontine, a young, beautiful widow who has sworn off love, and Valcour, her close friend — and secret admirer — who has been sending her anonymous love letters in the hopes to gather enough courage to confess his growing feelings for her. This musical experience captures this humorous story of budding love with the beautiful colors and textures of the Caribbean — making it a visual and auditory experience like no other.

Born in 1745 on the French Caribbean colony of Guadeloupe, Joseph Bologne was the son of Anne Nanon, a Black enslaved woman, and George de Bologne de Saint Georges, the French nobleman who owned her. Educated in France, Bologne found his talents in fencing, riding, and above all, music. During the pre-revolutionary period in France, he was considered to be one of the most important composers of his time — even performing for and teaching the Queen of France herself, Marie Antionette.

MN Opera’s Vice President of Impact Lee Bynum explained, “Joseph Bologne was one of the most gifted composers of his era, and it is to the detriment of classical music that his work is not as well-known as it deserves to be. His music — operas, symphonies, ballets, chamber works, and two operas — largely have been lost due to both systemic and discrete acts of racism. Producing The Anonymous Lover presents Minnesota Opera with a fresh opportunity to diversify not only whose stories we’re telling, but also, the way the Black experience is represented onstage.”

Sung in French with English dialogue, The Anonymous Lover is for audiences of all ages looking for an escape to warmer climates with a story that will warm their hearts as well — and have them laughing the whole time!

The Anonymous Lover premieres February 5–13, 2022. For more information on the show, visit mnopera.org/lover.

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