Richard Gaddes | St. Louis Public Radio

Richard Gaddes

A crowd takes in a performance at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis.
Courtesy Opera Theatre of St. Louis

Forty years ago this week the lights went down on the Loretto-Hilton Theatre in Webster Groves. A special brand of illumination radiated that first night, shining optimism, hope and artistic authority on a new opera scene. It rose like a fiery dawn in late Midwestern springtime.

This week, that light continues to shine on Opera Theatre of St. Louis, which opens its new season Saturday with Giacomo Puccini’s “La bohème.”

Stephen Lord
Provided by Opera Theatre of St. Louis

Opera Theatre of St. Louis was barely five seasons old when a young musician named Stephen Lord, a fellow who might have been a French teacher had he not developed a reputation for being a crackerjack music coach and accompanist, was hired as head of music staff of the fledgling company by its founder, Richard Gaddes.

Lord, 66, believes now is the time to move on, so after the 2017 opera season, this ebullient musician, who eventually became music director of the company, will become music director emeritus.

Christine Brewer inducted into St. Louis Walk of Fame

Apr 29, 2015
Christine Brewer is inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Soprano Christine Brewer has joined such other St. Louis greats as Chuck Berry, William Burroughs and Kate Chopin on the St. Louis Walk of Fame. At the ceremony, she said Opera Theatre of St. Louis and the city contributed greatly to her success.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: For one old enough to remember when Opera Theatre of St. Louis was the Little Company That Could, the public relations release that bounced in Wednesday was full of information I at first regarded as bizarre.

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.