Conductor John Clanton debuts at Indianapolis Opera in “Man of La Mancha”


The Indianapolis Opera will present its first classic musical theatre piece, “Man of La Mancha,” debuting John Clanton as conductor from March 24-26 at The Schrott Center for the Arts.


“Man of La Mancha,” written by Dale Wasserman, takes place during the Spanish Inquisition where Cervantes is a prisoner awaiting trial.  In this play-within-a-play, Cervantes casts his fellow cell-mates as characters from his manuscript in an attempt to prove his merit. Together, they tell the story of Alonso Quijana, who believes he is the knight errant Don Quixote. Quixote and his companion set out on a journey of chivalry and transformation.

“Before studying the show, I suspect I was like many people in thinking ‘Man of La Mancha’ equaled ‘The Impossible Dream,’” Clanton stated in a release to Current. “It’s been enjoyable to learn that it is so much more than that.  It’s full of great music and uplifting story.”

Clanton has performed as the assistant conductor for the Washington National Opera and National Symphony Orchestra where he directed “La Traviata,” “Carmen,” “Eugene Onegin” and “Romeo and Juliet.” Clanton has also traveled and performed in all 50 states and in 13 countries.

“I love everything about conducting, from the preparation and study to the rehearsals and performances,” he stated.  “I especially enjoy collaborating with the players in the pit and singers on-stage to ensure everything comes together during the performance.”

“Man of La Mancha” is a story set in two worlds – fantasy and reality.  Clanton stated he feels different emotions while playing music for both worlds.  The music played in the fantasy world projects “passion and inspiration,” whereas music from the real world emits “dissonance.” To drive these emotions, patrons who attend “Man of La Mancha” will hear brass, woodwinds, percussion, Spanish guitar and more under Clanton’s direction.

“The podium is my ‘happy place’ where I can forget about the frustrations of everyday life and focus on conducting music,” he stated.

Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased at or by calling the Box Office at 317-283-3531.

*Submitted release courtesy of the Indianapolis Opera.


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