JOHNSTON, IOWA (November 4, 2022) — Des Moines Metro Opera added a new American work to the operatic canon with the world premiere of A Thousand Acres during its 2022 season. Iowa PBS will present the broadcast premiere of Des Moines Metro Opera Presents A Thousand Acres on Friday, November 18, 8:30PM, bringing this exclusive presentation to Iowans statewide.

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Jane Smiley, this modern retelling of Shakespeare's King Lear is set on an Iowa farm in the late 1970s. It explores the ideas of family conflict, patriarchy, and the strength and fragility of the ties that bind us together.

"As this seminal novel approaches its own 30th anniversary later this year, the occasion is right to bring the words of a major American novelist to life on the opera stage," said Des Moines Metro Opera General and Artistic Director Michael Egel. "The choice of A Thousand Acres for an opera company in Iowa is the perfect melding of subject and locale and an ideal one for us to develop and produce in celebration of our 50th anniversary."

This Iowa PBS-exclusive production also includes behind-the-scenes footage of the making of A Thousand Acres and interviews with the cast and creators of this world premiere opera. Feature stories include insights from Egel, Smiley, Stage Director Kristine McIntyre, Composer Kristin Kuster, Librettist Mark Campbell, Conductor David Neely, mezzo-soprano Elise Quagliata, soprano Sara Gartland, and tenor Roger Honeywell.

"World premieres are always special," said McIntyre. "I mean, obviously, it's the first time anybody gets to really see and experience a piece. And so you have that wonderful element of that audience energy of being the first to discover something."

"It's changed my life. It's changed my view of myself as an artist," said Gartland. "This is the hardest piece of music I have ever put together. It has just changed me for the better completely, this entire experience."

Content advisory: Please be aware that Des Moines Metro Opera Presents A Thousand Acres includes sensitive content on the subjects of incest, miscarriage, and suicide. This subject matter may not be suitable for all audiences.

In addition to its statewide broadcast, Iowa PBS .1 is available to livestream on, the PBS Video App, and YouTube TV. Iowa PBS programs, behind-the-scenes extras, and more can be enjoyed on iowapbs.orgFacebook, and YouTube. Viewers can also stream their favorite shows on-demand using the PBS Video App, available on iOS, Android, and many streaming devices.

As Iowa's only statewide television network, Iowa PBS's mission to educate, inform, enrich, and inspire Iowans guides its quality, non-commercial programming that tells Iowa's stories like no one else can. Four statewide, public channels offer programs of lasting value to Iowans, regardless of where they live or what they can afford: Iowa PBS .1, Iowa PBS KIDS .2, Iowa PBS WORLD .3 and Iowa PBS Create .4 on Channel 11, Des Moines; Channel 12, Iowa City; Channel 21, Fort Dodge; Channel 24, Mason City; Channel 27, Sioux City; Channel 32, Waterloo; Channel 32, Council Bluffs; Channel 36, Davenport; and Channel 36, Red Oak. More information can be found at

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