In a year when opera companies nationwide still struggle with the effects of the Great Recession, and sadly the venerable once-innovative New York City Opera closed, St. Louis continues to support three professional opera companies.
St. Louisans have seen the play "A Streetcar Named Desire." Now they have an opportunity to see the opera.
Quoting an original 1947 New York Daily News review of Tennessee Williams’ play, director Chris Limber said the reviewer pointed out “the tragic overtones of grand opera.”
Nearly 50 years later, composer André Previn was asked to turn the play into an opera. According to soprano Katherine Giaquinto, who plays Stella Kowalski in the Union Avenue Opera production, Previn responded: “The time it’ll take me to say yes is as long as it takes for me to hang up the phone.”
When confronted with apparently transcendent genius, the predictable mere-mortal inclination is to concentrate attention and fascination on the person anointed with this luminous intellectual and artistic blessing and to ignore, or to try to explain away, character deficiencies – minor or monstrous. Sometimes the deficiency may be as much a part of the genius’ character as the super-human talent itself, and in some cases leaves the genius Caesar-like with the good interred with his bones.
Linda Skrainka, whose brush strokes reflect everyday life and transform the banalities into large, exquisite tributes to architectural stasis, nature and ordinary moments in time, died yesterday morning.
Her oil paintings are imbued with minute details that human eyes often fail to register, making them a treasure of rediscovery. They are also, often, literal reflections as Mrs. Skrainka painted shadows and mirrored surfaces to create pictures within pictures.
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.
Mozart’s Songspiel “The Magic Flute” functions at the summit of human achievement as one of the most affecting and popular works in the history of this medium we call opera – Italian for “work” -- which of course that great aesthetic synthesizer is, and which each individual production is as well. Opera is very hard work.
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 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.