"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.
As a world-renowned jazz trumpeter, composer and band leader, Terence Blanchard has received five Grammy Awards and has written jazz pieces for small ensembles, symphonic settings, film and stage. But when he was contacted by Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Artistic Director James Robinson about writing an opera, his first question was “are you sure you have the right guy?” Robinson knew exactly what he was doing.