Union Avenue Opera comes of age with ‘Don Giovanni’ | St. Louis Public Radio

Union Avenue Opera comes of age with ‘Don Giovanni’

Jul 3, 2015

Union Avenue Opera opens its 21st festival season on July 10 with Mozart’s “Don Giovanni.” When “Cityscape" host Steve Potter pointed out that age 21 in people usually indicates adulthood, UAO Artistic Director Scott Schoonover responded, “We have actually played around with that imagery, thinking about coming into our own at 21. We actually have a pretty serious season this year … a bit heavier in that sense. I think people will still enjoy it and get a lot out of it, but coming into our own, yes.”

Regarded as one of the greatest opera’s of all time, “Don Giovanni” is Mozart’s version of the Don Juan legend from literature. The Spanish nobleman’s habit is to seduce young women with often tragic and disastrous results.

Galen Scott Bower makes his Union Avenue Opera debut in the title role as does Amy Murray in the role of Donna Anna.

Director Jon Truitt noted that the opera  is challenging  to stage. “‘Don Giovanni’ has a lot of scenes in it and it has a lot of elements. It’s sort of a mash-up in some ways, there’s sort of a horror kind of element, there’s a comic element that’s very strong. It’s also very dramatic and it has a lot of romance in it as well. So one of the challenges of directing it is finding a balance between all those forces so that you have a sort of rational compilation of all of them.”

Schoonover said that many of the same things that make “Don Giovanni” a challenge to stage are what makes it so appealing to audiences. It’s a comedy but also a melodrama and everyone can relate to the characters. He added, “It’s also just this most amazing score that you’ve ever heard...I think it was his [Mozart’s] real masterpiece and triumph and I think he just does such a wonderful job of underscoring these emotions in the melodrama and everything that’s happening.”

Union Avenue Opera’s 21st season continues with Verdi’s “Rigoletto,” opening July 31. The final production is the concluding opera in Jonathan Dove’s adaption of Wagner’s “Ring” Cycle, “Götterdämmerung.” All productions are sung in the original language with English super titles and are staged at Union Avenue Christian Church. Artistic director Schoonover conducts the Union Avenue Opera Orchestra.

Union Avenue Opera’s 2015 Season

Mozart’s “Don Giovanni”

  • When: July 10, 11, 17 and 18, 2015, 8:00 p.m.

Verdi’s “Rigoletto”

  • When: July 31, August 1, 7 and 8, 2015, 8:00 p.m.

Jonathan Dove’s Adaptation of Wagner’s Götterdämmerung”

  • When: August 21, 22, 28 and 29, 2015, 8:00 p.m.
  • Where: Union Avenue Christian Church, 733 N. Union Blvd, St. Louis, Mo, 63108
  • More Information

“Cityscape” is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and sponsored in part by the Missouri Arts Council, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis.