Opera | St. Louis Public Radio


This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Puccini’s "Madama Butterfly," one of the most beloved and most often performed operas, comes to Union Avenue Opera Friday with singers who have become UAO favorites.

"The ‘Madama Butterfly’ story has so much joy and love in the first act," soprano Ann Hoyt Wazelle, who sings the title role, said. “Butterfly is very young, 15, and so faithful to (U.S. Naval Lt. Benjamin Franklin) Pinkerton. All its music is so beautiful.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 15, 2013 - The latest Sound Waves collaboration between the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts and KDHX Radio, 88.1 FM, takes place Thursday in the Pulitzer galleries and is billed as “An Evening of Opera and Jazz.”

The opera part of the equation will feature music from Puccini’s “Pagliacci,” sung by Emily Pulley and Troy Cook – both featured performers in Opera Theatre of St. Louis’ presentation of the work this season in a pairing with another Puccini piece, “Il Tabarro.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 24, 2012 - Opera lovers thirsty for Verdi’s big and beautiful melodies can drink deeply the next two weekends as several gifted singers in their 30s make their St. Louis debuts in his “Un Ballo in Maschera (A Masked Ball)."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 24, 2012 - Opera in April? In St. Louis? In a word, yes.

For 17 years, Union Avenue Opera’s season kicked off in summer. Now the company has decided to open in April in the hopes of reaching more people and helping the bottom line, said Scott Schoonover, founder and music director.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 13, 2012 - In her scarlet, clinging dress, mezzo-soprano Kendall Gladen arched her head with gypsy attitude, hit a D and sang "Quand je vous aimerai," French for "When will I love you?" The line begins one of opera's best-known arias, the taunting habanera in Georges Bizet's "Carmen."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 16, 2011 - Growing up in north St. Louis, Jermaine Smith was surrounded by pimps and drug dealers. Not just in the neighborhood -- in his own home. The concept of singing opera was about as foreign as going to Paris. But now he does both.

Cosima von Bonin, MISSY MISDEMEANOUR #02 (THE BEIGE VOMITING CHICK, MISS RILEY[LOOP #02, 2006], MVOS VODOO BEAT & MVOS ROCKET BLAST BEAT), 2011. Installation at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum.
Whitney Curtis | Provided | Beacon archives

This article first appeared in St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 29, 2011 - Is a velvet Elvis painting, art? What about a guitarist playing on the street for tips?

Polling local performance and visual artists, the Beacon found a pretty good consensus: Art doesn't have to cost money or be vetted by an institution.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 1, 2011 - Next weekend after smoke has cleared from July 4 fireworks, Union Avenue Opera plans vocal and dramatic pyrotechnics of its own as the company fires up its 17th summer season.

Sure to sparkle will be Giacomo Puccini's final opera "Turandot," which runs July 8, 9, 15 and 16.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 2, 2010 - Opera Theatre of St. Louis was barely five years old when I made my supernumerarical debut on its stage in 1981. I was costumed entirely in black, the better to be invisible, in an exotically wonderful opera called "An Actor's Revenge." Minoru Miki, a distinguished contemporary Japanese composer, wrote the opera with a libretto by my celebrated friend, the late Colin Graham, O.B.E.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 10, 2010 - Each year, up to five of the most promising operatic singers in the United States win the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions. Finalists compete on the Met's New York stage for prestige, cash prizes and publicity. Approximately 50 former winners of the annual auditions appear in the Met's productions each year.

The vocally challenging and fun-filled "La Fille du Regiment" by Donizetti will be taking the stage at Union Avenue Opera.  Then, starting Aug. 20, the atmosphere turns much darker with Tchaikovsky’s three-act tragedy “Pikovaya Dama.”

Daughter of the Regiment

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Kennedy Center awards have been handed out and the concert celebrating the gifts the award winners have given to America will be shown in a two-hour prime-time special at 8 p.m., Dec. 29 on CBS.

One of Sumner High School's gifts to the world will stand center stage with rock star Bruce Springsteen; actor Robert De Niro; comedian, writer and producer Mel Brooks; and jazz pianist Dave Brubeck.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 10, 2009 - In 1951, commercial television networks had not only taste but also souls. That year,  NBC broadcast an opera it had commissioned from the celebrated Italian-American composer Gian Carlo Menotti. It was performed  live on Christmas Eve.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 7, 2008 - Opera lovers across the region, especially in Festus, should get a lift from this happy "local girl makes good" news.

Mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson, who dazzled audiences when at the last minute she stepped into the cast of "The Tales of Hoffmann" at Opera Theatre of St. Louis last May, has been awarded one of the opera's biggest opportunities.

New Opera St. Louis plans to warm up winter

Aug 26, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 26, 2008 - One recent summer in Philadelphia, soprano Gina Galati and her musical friends bemoaned the lack of opera in St. Louis during winter months.

Instead of just complaining, Galati, who had never directed before, assembled a group of singers from scratch in August 2007. She excited donors, who gave money and their homes for singers' residence. They would perform Rigoletto in February 2008.