For four years, the Missouri Chamber Music Festival has offered a series of chamber music concerts in the month of June at the First Congregational Church of Webster Groves. But for the first time, the festival will conclude with a grand finale at The Sheldon Concert Hall in Grand Center.
Christine Brewer (center with hands raised) as Madame Lidoine with the nuns of Compiègne in "Dialogues of the Carmelites." This serious work by Francis Poulenc is the fourth of this year's festival season at Opera Theatre of St. Louis.
Thirty-one years ago, Opera Theatre of St. Louis pulled off a season that resounds in memory as an artistic volcano, a bonanza, an operatic gold mine, a tour de force. It followed the defining 1982 season, one crowned with Jonathan Miller’s “Così fan tutte,” a show conducted by Calvin Simmons, who died the summer following his and Dr. Miller’s triumphant achievement.
When Opera Theatre of Saint Louis approached Ricky Ian Gordon about writing an opera for mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, he was thrilled. “Stephanie is sort of a phenomenon. She’s probably the only singer that makes the Met feel too small,” said Gordon to Cityscape host Steve Potter. “It’s very exciting writing for a singer that bears that kind of vocal stature on the stage. And the minute her name was mentioned to me as someone to write an opera for, I said ‘Gertrude Stein’ because I thought the personality has to match the voice.”
It’s safe to say that the life of every person is at some time touched by cancer. That is the unifying factor in the 5th Annual “Sing for Siteman” benefit concert. Eight principal singers from Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’ 2014 season will perform in a concert directed and accompanied by pianist Carol Wong on June 9 to benefit Siteman Cancer Center’s Discovery Fund. The emcee will be St. Louis Post-Dispatch Classical Music Critic Sarah Bryan Miller.
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.
A new production of an old favorite opens Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’ 2014 season. Fashion icon Isaac Mizrahi returns as director and designer of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Opening May 24, the production features tenor Sean Panikkar in the role of Tamino and noted Mozart expert Jane Glover conducts.
"The Very Last Green Thing," an opera aimed for young audiences and performed by children ranging from nine to 16, opens next week at the Touhill. It will be the third production of the work by Opera Theatre of Saint Louis since the organization commissioned it in 1992.
"The inspiration for the opera actually came from kids," said Allison Felter, director of education and community engagement at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. "We wanted to know back then what was important to them, and it was the environment."
When mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano enrolled in Webster University, her goal was to be a choral conductor. But Webster’s Director of Vocal Studies Carole Gaspar had other ideas. At the end of Cano’s sophomore year, Gaspar suggested that she should pursue a career as a singer. Cano had already been in her first opera scene at Webster and had enjoyed it. “So I changed my major,” said Cano, “and started really focusing my energy on practicing and learning more of the craft of what singers need to know to be successful.”
On Saturday, June 15, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis performs the world premiere of jazz trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard’s first opera, Champion. Set to a libretto by Michael Cristofer, the opera tells the true story of Emile Griffith, a gay boxer who became the Welterweight Champion of the World. But in a boxing match, he kills his opponent through no fault of his own, and then has to live with the guilt for the rest of his life.
The tents are up on the lawn of the Loretto Hilton Performing Arts Center as Opera Theatre of Saint Louis prepares to open its 2013 Festival Season with Gilbert & Sullivan’s comic masterpiece The Pirates of Penzance. Directed and choreographed by Sean Curran and conducted by Ryan McAdams, Pirates is the first of four productions that will be staged in repertory from May 25 until June 30.