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Special Reports

MA 30 Movers & Shapers: Basil Considine

December 5, 2017 | By Richard S. Ginell

Founder and Artistic Director
Really Spicy Opera

“Cultivating drama that burns and music that sates.” That’s the mission of Basil Considine’s Really Spicy Opera of the Twin Cities, purposefully illustrated by the photo on its webpage of a young female splashing a glass of red wine in the face of a male companion.

A composer and alumnus of the University of San Diego and of Boston University, Considine started Really Spicy Opera in 2006 as a resident ensemble of BU. Relocating to Minneapolis in 2013, the company began to make noise when Considine’s opera The Frat Party was a hit at the 2014 Minnesota Fringe Festival. In the 2017 season, Really Spicy Opera exported its production of Considine’s Game of Thrones: The Musical—a send-up of the HBO series, according to the Twin Cities’s Pioneer Press—to Hawaii’s O’ahu and Maui Fringe festivals in January and to the Tampa International Fringe Festival in May. The company also mounted the premiere of playwright Deborah Yarchun’s comedy A Pickle, which enjoyed a soldout run at the Minnesota Fringe Festival in August. RSO presents the occasional conventional opera as well, as per the Rigoletto at Minneapolis’s Capri Theater in 2016, in honor of the company’s 10th anniversary.

For 2018 through 2020, RSO will operate under the Women in Opera Initiative, producing only world premieres in which at least 60 percent of the cast is female, 50 percent of the musiclibretto team is female, no female lead dies, and the cast contains no maids, nuns, prostitutes, courtesans, or escorts. 

The Initiative was developed, RSO explains, in reaction to the fact that the top 5 most-performed operas in the world (La Traviata, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, Carmen, La Bohème) have female protagonists who die before the final curtain and who are vastly outnumbered by male leads. This “trivializes and stereotypes women on stage,” opines Considine’s group. They have a point there.

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