Paul Bunyan

Friday, April 26 and Saturday, April 27, 2013 at 8 pm

Advance ticket sales for these performances are now closed. Tickets are still available and can be purchased at Ted Mann Concert Hall beginning at 6:30 pm each night.

Friday, April 26, 2013 at 8 pm

Saturday, April 27, 2013 at 8 pm*

*Saturday Concert Conversation with John Birge and Vern Sutton at 7 pm

Opera by Benjamin Britten
Libretto by W. H. Auden

Don Shelby, Voice of Paul Bunyan
Pop Wagner, Ballad Singer
James Bohn, Hel Helson (foreman)
Richard Joseph, Johnny Inkslinger (bookkeeper)
Rob Asklof, Hot Biscuit Slim (a good cook)
Jennifer Olson, Tiny (daughter of Paul Bunyan)
VocalEssence Chorus & Ensemble Singers with orchestra
Philip Brunelle, conductor
Vern Sutton, director
Sheila Wolk, stage manager
Chris Johnson, lighting designer

*Saturday Concert Conversation with John Birge
and Vern Sutton at 7 pm

It’s the 100th anniversary year of Benjamin Britten’s birth, and VocalEssence is ready to celebrate! After more than 30 years out on the Iron Range, Paul Bunyan and his big blue ox are plotting their return to Minneapolis, as Vern Sutton recreates our beloved 1987 semi-staged production of Britten’s operetta, PAUL BUNYAN.

PAUL BUNYAN features ballad singer Pop Wagner, the VocalEssence Chorus & Ensemble Singers, and a 41-piece orchestra conducted by Philip Brunelle — and larger-than-life PAUL BUNYAN himself, voiced by TV news celebrity Don Shelby.

Britten’s music is a tip of the hat to this great American myth, with charming touches of folksong, jazz, hymns and ballads. Lumberjacks, cats, geese and a Western Union boy on a bicycle enliven the proceedings. And remember — PAUL BUNYAN only shows up once in a blue get your tickets today!


Photo: Mike Krivit,

brunelle-paul-bunyan.mp32.58 MB
britten-lumberjacks.mp32.32 MB
28-16_bunyans_goodnight_i.mp31.29 MB
28-07_first_ballad_interlude_the_co.mp36.74 MB