Watch MNiatures

Tiny operas, big ideas. Back by popular demand, MNiatures returns with newly commissioned mini operas by Minnesota artists from a variety of artistic backgrounds. In collaboration with MN Opera, selected teams created brand-new works through the creative mediums of their choosing. This program seeks to uplift local artists and give them space to foster their craft, ideas, and dreams.


Composer & Librettist | Mitchell Bercier
Director | Emily Bishai
Voices | Symone Harcum, Leah Brzyski, Joseph Leppek

Sapphica is a laptopera that fuses electronic dance music with opera to bring the lyrics of the poet Sappho to life. The music is a studio creation brought into live performance through the use of live-code using Tidal Cycles and Supercollider. This unique fusion of contemporary music and ancient Greek poetry creates a new operatic medium that sheds light on our shared humanity through the universal themes of unrequited love, longing and loss.


Composer | Christian Bardin
Librettist | Mo Holmes
Voicals | Symone Harcum as Pastor, Momoko Tanno as Ruth, Faith Maimee Her as Ruthie,
Luca La Hoz Calassara as Child Chorus, Valerie Wick as Child Chorus, Arianna Sanford as Child Chorus
Keyboard | Andrew Fleser
Cello | Julia Floberg
Percussion | Toby Ramaswamy
Child Supervisor | Meryl Dominguez

Coming together in collaboration for the first time, YR GOD MY GOD composer Bardin and librettist Holmes first connected in their friendship and artmaking as queer artists raised Southern Baptist in Texas but no longer churchgoers. They now navigate the clash of race (Holmes is black), gender (Bardin is non-binary), and Midwest culture/politics/systemic oppression in Minnesota. They come to writing and composing from a not-opera background, where faith, southernness, queerness, and the mental health challenges of navigating these intersecting identities are at the forefront, allowing them to offer a fresh perspective on what operatic storytelling can look and sound like. Working from their most distilled impression of what an opera is – a sung-through narrative of dramatic physical scale and heightened emotion – the duo of composer Bardin and librettist Holmes reflected on where and how they had seen opera show up in their daily lives, landing on a singular place that called to mind a singular time: the Baptist churches of their childhoods. The value of personal testimony, the vocabulary of traditional Baptist hymns, and the spirituality and heightened transformation of water baptism all lend themselves to an operatic foundation Bardin and Holmes have both celebrated and broken open as queer insider-outsiders. Supported by electric organ, drums, cello, and a chorus of three children, YR GOD MY GOD explores this MNiature cycle’s theme of resilience through a queer adult protagonist (sung by Momoko Tanno) remembering their baptism as a child (sung by Faith Her), highlighting the persistence of both Baptist traditions through time and queerness across a lifetime. Minnesota Opera Resident Artist Program soprano Symone Harcum is featured in the role of the Pastor.


Semblance is a portraiture of two people who are navigating their lives in a dualistic manner. Both are strongly connected to their ethereal selves through dance or music, but the reality of their lives make it difficult for them to operate as one.

Leigh Opulent

Composer & Librettist | Stephanie Henry
Vocals | Roland Hawkins as Leigh Opulent, Joseph Leppek, Symone Harcum, Aaron Keeney
Piano | Celeste Marie Johnson
Cello | Ben Osterhouse
Violin | Leyna Marika Papach
Hair & Make-Up Supervisor | Emma Gustafson

Leigh Opulent is coming to terms with the fact that his successful ballroom career never translated to real life. As he’s getting ready to go to a ball he reflects on his life in the ballroom and the discrimination he faces on daily basis as a gay person of color in the outside world. If the world could see what the Ballroom sees he would be a star. This piece is inspired by Paris is Burning.

Mina at Night

Composer & Librettist | Leyna Marika Papach
Vocals | Linh Kauffman as Mina, Luca La Hoz Calassara as The Son, Joseph Leppek, Symone Harcum, Leah Brzyski,
Aaron Keeney, Allen Michael Jones
Piano | Celeste Marie Johnson
Cello | Benjamin Osterhouse
Violin | Leyna Marika Papach
Child Supervisor | Meryl Dominguez
Conductor | Allen Perriello

Mina is a single mother who feels she has missed her opportunity to become a professional musician, but has an active creative life in her dream state.

MN OP Production Team
Technical Director | Josh Peklo
Prop Manager | Genoveva Castañeda
Costume Director | Corinna Bakken
Lighting Supervisor | Ray Stevenson Jr.
Stage Management | Emily Butzi, Jerry K. Smith, Samuel Phillips
Scene Shop Support | Eric Veldey, Max Gilbert, Brent Anderson, Andy Glischinski

Audio and Video Team
Audio Engineer | Peter Morrow
Audio Assistant | Charlotte Deranek
Videographer | Serena Hodges
Videographer | Adam Jacobs
Video Assistant | Gisell Calderón

Free access to digital performances is made possible by our generous community. As we find new ways of advancing our mission to provide access to innovative opera for all, please consider supporting MN Opera and the 2021–2022 Season.

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