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Minnesota Opera commissions Kate DiCamillo novel for new opera
Minnesota Opera commissions Kate DiCamillo novel for new opera avatar

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A beloved tale by a beloved Minnesota author is going to become an opera.

The Minnesota Opera announced Thursday that “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane,” a young adult novel by Minneapolis author Kate DiCamillo, will be adapted into an opera as part of the company’s “New Works Initiatives” program.

DiCamillo, two-time winner of the prestigious Newbery Medal for children’s literature, has had her books made into movies, and one of them, “Because of Winn-Dixie,” is currently being adapted into a musical.

DiCamillo’s “Edward Tulane” is the story of an aloof toy rabbit owned by a young girl named Abilene Tulane. Minnesota Opera recaps the story: “Edward’s comfortable early life ends when he is taken from Abilene and thrown into the sea from the Queen Mary. His adventures take him far and wide: he is adopted by a kindly fisherman and his wife, rides the rails with a drifter and his dog, helps provide solace to an ailing young girl and performs on the streets of Memphis. He finally opens his heart, learns to accept love, and find his way back home.”

Although the mainstage opera version is based on a children’s book, it will be meant for audiences of all ages, according to the Minnesota Opera. The company’s New Works Initiative was established in 2008 and has created operas including “The Shining,” “Dinner at Eight” and “The Manchurian Candidate.”

Composer Paola Prestini and librettist Mark Campbell will collaborate on “Edward Tulane.” Prestini has been named one of Musical America’s “Top 30 Musical Innovators 2016″ and one of the “Top 100 Composers in the World under 40” (NPR). Campbell has written more than 15 operas, including “Silent Night” (which received the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music). This will be his fifth premiere with the Minnesota Opera, including “Silent Night” and “The Manchurian Candidate.”

For more information about the New Works Initiative, go to mnopera.org/new-works.

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