The curtain rises on Union Avenue Opera’s 22nd Festival Season on July 8 with a new adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan’s classic, “The Mikado.”
On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, contributor Steve Potter was joined by mezzo soprano Melissa Parks who sings the role of Katisha in “The Mikado.” Also joining the program were Eric Gibson, who directs the production, and Scott Schoonover, Union Avenue Opera’s artistic director and conductor, to discuss the production and preview the two other productions in the 2016 season.
Parks has played the role of Katisha over 150 times in her life.
"It's kind of turned into a wonderful thing for me," Parks said. "I started as a younger singer and they never let me go."
"The Mikado" is an opera set in Japan and it satirizes British institutions and politics by disguising them as Japanese. In Union Avenue Opera's version, however, there have been several updates made.
"I'm all for the updates," Parks said. "It really serves the language of the piece. This is really just a British comedy. We've helped the audience along by transporting them to Britain."
The audience can expect to recognize a little bit of St. Louis humor thrown in too.
"As you're listening, St. Louis audiences are going to hear a lot of local references," Schoonover said. "It is common practice to insert St. Louis, or local things, going on in your city. There's a lot of politics about the presidential campaign, baseball, football, don't forget about football and the lack of football."
"Even if you've seen Gilbert and Sullivan a million times, this is going to be a wonderful fresh take," Gibson said. "It is well worth your time."
What: Gilbert and Sullivan’s "The Mikado"
When: July 8, 9, 15 and 16, 8 p.m.
What: Puccini’s "Tosca"
When: July 29 and 30 and August 5 and 6, 8 p.m.
What: Douglas Cuomo’s "Doubt"
When: August 19, 20, 26, and 27, 8 p.m.
Where: Union Avenue Christian Church, 733 N. Union Blvd.
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