If Donald Trump were an opera reviewer, there is little doubt the raving enthusiasm he would have for the picnic operetta “Donald Giovanni in Cornlandia.”
Amazing. I would say it’s very good. Some people would say it’s very, very very good. Believe me.
And how could he not? It’s loosely about the orange-maned one himself. The operetta has been updated for our weirdly unpredictable political times. But instead of a philanderer and womanizer, this Donald woos votes and leaves behind a campaign trail of broken hearts and broken promises.
It’s not the first time that Mixed Precipitation, a Twin Cities-based theater company, has intermingled classical music with more modern music and themes. But this foray into Republican infighting, while a seeming natural for an opera, isn’t about politics. It’s about storytelling, good food, a production staged and enjoyed in the outdoors, and 80s music, including Bon Jovi, AC/DC, a-Ha, and Tears for Fears.
So fear not, Donald Trump fans.
“There’s enough twist of events that depart from the real situation that we definitely know that we’re witnessing something of the imagination,” said Scotty Reynolds, the company’s artistic director.
The shows are set for Saturday, Sept. 10 at 3 pm. at Dream Acres in Wykoff and Sunday, Sept. 11 at Squash Blossom Farm in Oronoco.
Five Facts about the Production
• This is the 8th year that Mixed Precipitation has performed its picnic operetta. But instead of opera houses, the performances are staged in vineyards, orchards and farms, echoing a theater tradition that dates back to the Greeks. Instead of the acoustical advantages of vaulted ceilings, sounds ricochet off the side of barns and tree canopies. It’s not unusual for goats, chickens, cats and dogs to be part of the audience.
• This being a picnic, food plays an outsized role. Audience members are encouraged to bring wine and pack their own picnic lunches. Food and drink will also be served. So far this year, more than 1,103 wears of Elote (spiced Mexican corn) and 1,103 watermelon sodas have been served at the picnic operettas.
“The goal is to use food producing sites – orchards, vineyards and farms – as venues for the stories to come to life,” Reynolds said. “Food is a primary element we use to tell the story.”
• The cast includes actress Laura Torgeson, a Pine Island native. The guest director is Kym Longhi, and the music director is Jerrod Wendland. The cast ranges in age from 10 to 60 years of age.
• Mozart and Trump may make unlikely artistic bedfellows, but past production have included similar mashups. They’ve included Beethoven with reggae star Jimmy Cliff and Handel with trucker songs and country music.
• It’s not only 80s music that gets resurrected this production but so does the Gipper himself. For those unfamiliar with opera’s traditions, a stock convention is a statue that comes to life to avenge the dishonored woman.
But in this case, this old-school figure is Ronald Reagan himself, returned to remind everyone of what the Republican Party used to stand for. And for those political junkies who make CNN and Fox News a part of their regularly viewing routine, former Trump manager Corey Lewandowski and candidate Carly Fiorina have star turns.