Night after night, St. Louis opera lovers gave Rene Barbera standing ovations for his expressive, lyrical, tenor voice. That was three years ago at Opera Theatre of St. Louis, when Barbera smoothly delivered an aria's nine high Cs as Tonio, in Gaetano Donizetti's "Daughter of the Regiment." He made the joyful high notes seem effortless.
Before the Texan left St. Louis that season, the Opera Theatre's leadership decided to stage another Donizetti opera, specifically to bring back Barbera's expressive voice.
Those locked into the stereotype that opera is elite entertainment put on by people in ivory towers may dump that notion when they hear about two guys trying to conjure magic in Opera Theatre of St. Louis’ “The Magic Flute.” It opens Saturday at the Loretto-Hilton Theatre.
The two magic makers are Isaac Mizrahi and Sean Panikkar.
Mizrahi is “Magic Flute’s” stage director, set and costume designer. He has been applauded for his chic designs at down-to-earth prices for Target stores as well as his super glamorous couture looks.
The Osage Nation made Pierre Laclede’s fur trading post a success from its start 250 years ago. This week that bi-cultural partnership, tragically rare in this continent’s history, is being celebrated with more than a dozen events.
As March winds blasted the region, West County lawyer Lubabah Abdullah’s hair remained neat under a bright scarf, giving her the élan of Grace Kelly riding in a sleek convertible with Cary Grant. Abdullah, an American-born Muslim of Sudanese Arab heritage wraps her head in bright colored scarves for modesty.
Mehnaz Afridi was astonished to learn that half of this area’s Muslims are Bosnians. The Muslim scholar will be in the area March 31 to give the Lee Institute lecture on the issues faced by Muslim women. For many in St. Louis, one of the main issues is correcting misperceptions.
The great majority of Bosnians resettled here between 20 and 11 years ago to escape the former Yugoslavia’s devastating war of religious persecution in 1992-95. Members of the new generation, born in St. Louis, are now graduating from high school.
The mad scene in Donizetti’s opera “Lucia di Lammermoor” helped Joan Sutherland, Maria Callas and Nellie Melba soar to stardom. This weekend at Winter Opera, St. Louis soprano Gina Galati will sing the title role with its famous aria "Il dolce suono.”
“Lucia” opens Friday evening at 8 p.m. at Chaminade’s Skip Viragh Center for the Arts, 425 S. Lindbergh Blvd., and will also be presented at 3 p.m. March 9.
In St. Louis’ first few years, more longtime residents of Cahokia, Prairie du Rocher, Mine La Motte, Old Mines, Mo., Ste. Genevieve and the area moved to Laclede’s fur trading post. Land-owning small farmers, fur traders, miners, merchants from the region’s French settlements all came to Laclede’s settlement.
“Religion was a very strong reason. They just didn’t want to live under the English,” said Margaret Kimball Brown, author “History as They Lived It: A Social History of Prairie du Rocher.”
The Sheldon Art Gallery is hosting the exhibit, “Imagining the Founding of St. Louis,” which includes Oscar Edward Berninghaus, (American, 1874–1952), Laclede Landing at Present Site of St. Louis, c. 1914, watercolor, 10 x 14 inches, Private Collection, St. Louis
As all in the area should know by now, 14-year-old Auguste Chouteau and his band of 30 “mechanics” unloaded their boat a bit south of the legs of today’s Gateway Arch 250 years ago on Feb. 15*. People may not know that this middle stretch of the upper Mississippi Valley was already rich with French settlements on both sides of the river. Residents, especially the younger generation, of those settlements would help St. Louis grow quickly.