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The Murderess

World Premiere Opera

A Thrilling True Crime Opera

Synopsis: *Warning: Spoiler Alert!*


The Murderess is a thriller that takes place in 1899. Minnie, an elderly and very wealthy woman, has two employees in her service: Jane, a nurse, and Julianne, a maid. Jane is a somewhat suspicious figure who Julianne thinks may be stealing from Minnie. Julianne begins to investigate, while Jane makes a trip to the pharmacy to buy some questionable medications. Once Julianne has left the house for a social outing with the pharmacist, Charlie, Jane prepares an injection of the poison strychnine and plans to administer it to a sleeping Minnie. Julianne realizes Jane’s intentions and rushes back to the house to stop her. Jane is arrested, but when Minnie wakes, she is furious with Julianne. Minnie explains that because her cancer is terminal and very painful, she had in fact hired Jane to assist her in suicide. She begs Julianne to take Jane’s discarded pistol and finish the job – Julianne is devastated, but agrees. The opera ends with a gunshot to Minnie’s heart.

Special Thanks


  • The Simpson House

  • Don Dagenais

  • Sheri & Tom Schrader

  • Atonement Lutheran Church

  • Neal Long


  • Deborah Brevoort

  • PJ Kelley

  • Lawyers for the Creative Arts

  • Landlocked Opera Board of Directors

The Murderess Cast

The Murderess Orchestra

Meet the Creators &
Production Team

Librettist Notes

From Trip Venturella

Our opera takes place in the late 1890s, a period of immense change in the lives of women in the United States. The "New Women" of this period were living independent, professional lives, supporting themselves with their own careers and their own accomplishments. The serial killer Jane Toppan offers a funhouse-mirror reflection of the New Woman, with her notoriety echoing that of other fin de siècle serial killers like H.H. Holmes. We take her story as a starting point to examine themes of women's agency and self-determination. Thank you for supporting new opera. We are so excited to share this story with you.

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