Stephen Lord has been coming to St. Louis for 37 seasons of Opera Theatre Saint Louis in some sort of role with the company. For the last 25 years, he’s been music director, but after this season closes at the end of this month, he’ll step down from that position.
“I think it is only responsible for any organization, especially in our case, to do stuff for the younger people,” Lord told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh. “Yeah, I have a lot of experience now, but if people like me hold on to these jobs forever, we don’t give a chance for the younger people to come up. All these years, I’ve never been at springtime at home. I’ve not seen my lilacs once in 37 years.”
In addition to spending his future spring seasons gardening, Lord said he will return to conduct, but he will not be compelled to do as many things as he has in the past.
Additionally, he’ll take on the role of principal conductor with the Michigan Opera through the 2018-2019 season.
“St. Louis is where I put my stamp on the place and Detroit is where I started my career,” Lord said.
Of all the things he’s accomplished with Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Lord is most proud of his work as a primary selector of casts and young artists for the company.
“We’ve had so many very important people start here and that’s a matter of pride for me, for us, for the company,” Lord said. “It’s a wonderful circle for me. I don’t feel old, I’m only 68. I still feel young in my brain. My body oftentimes feels young. And then there’s the other times. The job at Opera Theatre is all-consuming, there are four operas going on at the same time.”
This Tuesday, he’ll get to highlight the voices of artists just starting in their careers once more with the third annual “Center Stage” performance at the Loretto-Hilton Center.
Over the past 37 years, Lord said Opera Theatre has become more international, while still maintaining its root of intimacy and opera performed solely in English.
“[Audiences] come here because they get an incredible experience, a familial experience,” Lord said. “It isn’t like other summer festivals, rife with competition. We have an incredible ensemble feeling. That’s what it is all about, you collaborate with everyone you work with.”
What: Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Presents "Center Stage:" A Young Artists Showcase
When: Tuesday, June 20 at 8 p.m.
Loretto-Hilton Center, 130 Edgar Road, St. Louis, MO 63119
What: Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Presents "Titus" by Mozart
When: Thursday, June 22 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, June 24 at 1:00 p.m.
Where: Loretto-Hilton Center, 130 Edgar Road, St. Louis, MO 63119
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