Opera | St. Louis Public Radio

Opera

Elizabeth Futral as Alice B. Toklas with Theo Lebow, Tobias Greenhalgh and Daniel Brevik as paintings
Ken Howard | OTSL

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 Dubinsky Skrainka
from her website

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.

Rene Barbera as Tonio in "Daughter of the Regiment."
Ken Howard | Opera Theatre of St. Louis

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.

David Gonsier as an owl and Levi Hernandez as Papageno in Opera Theatre of Saint Louis 2014 production of The Magic Flute.
Ken Howard | Opera Theatre of St. Louis

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.

Isaac Mizrahi
Opera Theatre of St. Louis

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.

Civica Raccolta Stampe Bertarelli Milan | Wikipedia

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.

Provded by Winter Opera

Andrew Stuckey, in town to sing the title role in Verdi’s “Falstaff” with Winter Opera,  stopped his car along Arsenal Street last week. The baritone grabbed his cell phone and snapped a selfie in front of a faded Falstaff beer ad.

Alise O'Brien

We continue our live broadcasts of the St. Louis Symphony for the 2013-2014 season this weekend, and you can be right there with us from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16.

On select Saturday evenings, St. Louis Public Radio broadcasts the Symphony's performance over the air, bringing you a live classical music experience wherever you are.

Here's what's planned for you this weekend:

BRITTEN   Peter Grimes (complete opera)

Opera Theatre of Saint Louis

"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."

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, 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.

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: 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.

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