Artistic Philosophy


In 2000, Artistic Director Dale Johnson articulated his artistic philosophy, inspired by the early 19th-century Italian Bel Canto era and its ideals. Bel Canto, literally “beautiful singing,” emphasizes intense emotional expression supported by exquisite technique.

As one manifestation of its philosophy, Minnesota Opera committed to producing one work from the early 19th-century Bel Canto period each season from 2000 through 2012, attracting luminary singers like Bruce Ford, Vivica Genaux, Brenda Harris and Sumi Jo to its stage. Minnesota Opera quickly became a destination for audiences and artists interested in Bel Canto-period operas.

Today, regardless of what opera is on Minnesota Opera’s stage, these Bel Canto values inform every aspect of the company’s programs, from repertoire selection and visual design to casting and artist training.