The Latest News at Opera Theatre Share

  • Opera Theatre Announces 2013-2014 Monsanto Artists-in-Training Students

    Opera Theatre Announces 2013-2014 Monsanto Artists-in-Training Students

     24 students from the St. Louis Metropolitan area were chosen for the program

     Monsanto continues its 24 year tradition of serving as title sponsor for program, also supporting an opera for young people in 2013

     St. Louis, MO, October 8, 2013 – Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is pleased to announce the 2013-2014 Monsanto Artists-in-Training class, the largest class in the history of the program. Chosen through a highly competitive audition process (with a 30% increase in auditions this year), these students will engage in weekly college-level vocal coaching from faculty at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, Washington University, Webster University, and University of Missouri–St. Louis. The program culminates on Sunday, April 27 @ 3 p.m. in a recital and scholarship competition which will lead to awards of $11,000 in scholarship money.

    

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  • Opera Theatre brings the magic of opera to children ages 5 – 14 with The Very Last Green Thing at the Touhill Performing Arts Center

    Opera Theatre brings the magic of opera to children ages 5 – 14 
    with The Very Last Green Thing at the Touhill Performing Arts Center

    Free Public Dress Rehearsal Oct. 19

    School Day Matinees Oct. 21 – 25
    Two Public Performances Oct. 26

    St. Louis, MO, September 5, 2013 – Opera Theatre of Saint Louis continues its long-term commitment to inspiring the next generation of opera-goers with the production of The Very Last Green Thing, a young people’s opera by Cary John Franklin and Michael Patrick Albano. Originally commissioned by Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in 1992, The Very Last Green Thing is an environmental fable set 400 years in the future.  The production will be conducted by Vince Lee and is directed by Doug Scholz-Carlson. The cast features 18 talented young singers (ages 9-16) from across the bi-state area, as well as former OTSL Gerdine Young Artist Daniel Brevik.

    

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  • Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Announces Repertory for 2014 Festival Season

    OPERA THEATRE OF SAINT LOUIS ANNOUNCES REPERTORY FOR 2014 SPRING SEASON

      The season opens with The Magic Flute, directed and designed by Isaac Mizrahi, and features the return of Christine Brewer, the Opera Theatre debut of Stephanie Blythe, and the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon and Royce Vavrek’s Twenty-Seven.

    St. Louis, MO, May 20, 2013 – Timothy O’Leary, General Director of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, announced the repertory for the company’s 2014 Festival Season today. The season opens with a new production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, and continues with Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love, Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites, and the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon and Royce Vavrek’s Twenty-Seven, featuring internationally celebrated mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe creating the role of legendary author, poet, and patron of the arts Gertrude Stein.

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  • Opera Theatre of Saint Louis receives highest grant award of any U.S. opera company in the National Endowment for the Arts’ current grant cycle

    Opera Theatre of Saint Louis receives highest grant award of any U.S. opera company in the National Endowment for the Arts’ current grant cycle 

     $100,000 award supports 2014 world premiere of “Twenty-Seven,” one of 817 NEA Art Works grants, totaling $26.3 million in funding nationwide

     St. Louis, MO, April 23, 2013 – National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa announced today that Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is one of 817 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant. Opera Theatre is recommended for a $100,000 grant to support the world premiere of Twenty-Seven, composed by Ricky Ian Gordon and featuring Stephanie Blythe. Opera Theatre is the only opera company nationally to receive an award of this size for an Art Works project. The gift doubles the NEA’s previous year’s commitment to Opera Theatre, and matches the NEA’s earlier giving level to the Metropolitan Opera and the San Francisco Opera from previous grant cycles.

    

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  • St. Louis students to compete for $12,000 in scholarships in Annual Spring Recital

    St. Louis students to compete for $12,000 in scholarships in Annual Spring Recital

    Opera Theatre’s Monsanto Artists-in-Training Program will hold annual recital on
    Sunday, April 21 at the Sheldon Concert Hall

    The 23 talented high school singers in the Monsanto Artists-in-Training program will perform in their final recital of the year, competing for $12,000 in scholarships. Erie Mills, renowned Metropolitan Opera soprano and OTSL English Diction Specialist, will adjudicate the competition. Ruth Ezell, of the Nine Network, will serve as host.

    

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  • Wells Fargo Advisors Makes Lead Gift to Sponsor Opera Theatre of Saint Louis's 2013 Season

    The Wells Fargo Advisors 2013 Festival Season Will Open May 25 Susan and Danny Ludeman to co-chair Opera Theatre’s 2013 gala


    St. Louis, MO, April 1, 2013 – Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is pleased to announce that Wells Fargo Advisors has given a leadership gift of $150,000 to sponsor the 2013 Festival Season. Now in its fourth year, the sponsorship extends the company’s role as both the presenting sponsor of the spring festival season as well as a presenting sponsor of the annual spring gala. The 2013 Gala: Springtime on the Seine will be chaired by Danny Ludeman, president and CEO of Wells Fargo Advisors, and his wife, Susan, and will take place at Wells Fargo Advisors on Saturday, May 11.

    “Wells Fargo Advisors is committed to enriching the civic and cultural fabric of the St. Louis community and our support for Opera Theatre is an important part of that effort,” said Danny Ludeman.

    Opera Theatre’s General Director Timothy O’Leary said, “Wells Fargo Advisors is a tremendous contributor to the entire St. Louis community, and we could not be more grateful for their ongoing support. I am particularly grateful to Danny and Susan Ludeman for their personal leadership of our gala benefit this year, which supports Opera Theatre’s award-winning education and community engagement programs. Thanks to Danny’s leadership, Wells Fargo Advisors is truly a great corporate citizen.”

    Opera Theatre’s 2013 season opens on May 25 with Gilbert and Sullivan’s hilarious The Pirates of Penzance and continues with a powerhouse double bill of two Italian thrillers – Puccini’s Il tabarro and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci. Opera Theatre will also produce its 23rd world premiere, Champion, an “opera in jazz” by five-time Grammy Award-winner Terence Blanchard and Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Cristofer. The season concludes with Smetana’s buoyant rarity The Kiss. Full ticket prices begin at just $25, with special pricing available for as little as $15 for students and active members of the military. 

    About Wells Fargo Advisors

    With $1.1 trillion in client assets as of December 31, 2011, Wells Fargo’s brokerage businesses are comprised of 15,263 full-service financial advisors and 3,548 licensed bankers. This vast network of advisors, one of the nation’s largest, serves clients through offices in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Wells Fargo Advisors is the trade name used by two separate registered broker-dealers and non-bank affiliates of Wells Fargo & Company: Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC and Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, LLC (members SIPC). Statistics include other broker-dealers of Wells Fargo & Company. www.wellsfargoadvisors.com

    About Opera Theatre of Saint Louis

    Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is one of the leading American opera companies, known for a spring festival of inventive new productions, sung in English, featuring the finest American singers and accompanied by members of the St. Louis Symphony. As of 2012 Opera Theatre has presented 22 world premieres and 23 American premieres – which may be the highest percentage of new work in the repertory of any U.S. company. Described by The Sunday Times of London as “one of the few American companies worth the transatlantic fare,” Opera Theatre of Saint Louis annually welcomes visitors from nearly every state and close to a dozen foreign countries. Although the size of the theater typically limits box office income to less than a quarter of the budget, the company has consistently produced work of the highest quality while never accumulating a deficit.

    Opera Theatre also has a long tradition of discovering and promoting the careers of the finest operatic artists of the current generation. Among the artists who had important early opportunities at Opera Theatre are Christine Brewer, Susan Graham, Nathan Gunn, Patricia Racette, Thomas Hampson, Jerry Hadley, Dawn Upshaw, Sylvia McNair, Erie Mills, Dwayne Croft, Kelly Kaduce, and Lawrence Brownlee. Opera Theatre has always been known for distinguished leadership: founding general director Richard Gaddes was succeeded in 1985 by general director Charles MacKay, with famed British stage director Colin Graham as artistic director and Stephen Lord (1992 – present) as music director. Timothy O’Leary was named general director in October 2008 with acclaimed stage director James Robinson succeeding Colin Graham. 

    Opera Theatre gratefully acknowledges 2013 season presenting sponsor Wells Fargo Advisors.

    Opera Theatre is a sustaining member of the Arts & Education Council of Greater Saint Louis, and receives major support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Missouri Arts Council.

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  • Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Announces 2nd Annual Mabel Dorn Reeder Foundation Prize

    St. Louis, MO – Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is pleased to announce that baritone Aubrey Allicock will be this year’s recipient of the Mabel Dorn Reeder Foundation Prize, which recognizes extraordinary artistic potential in early-career artists and provides support for their continued artistic and professional development. Mr. Allicock was selected by a committee of Opera Theatre’s leadership as the artist from the 2012 Season with the greatest potential to make a significant contribution to the art form of opera. He receives a $10,000 cash prize, which may be applied to expenses that will further his artistic and professional growth.

    The award is a key component of the Mabel Dorn Reeder Foundation Young Artist Education and Development Programs at OTSL, which were named in recognition of a $2 million gift from The Mabel Dorn Reeder Foundation in 2010. This gift helps endow OTSL’s acclaimed commitment to nurturing the careers of “stars of tomorrow,” both on stage and off stage, through professional development programs. Opera Theatre counts among its alumni some of the most celebrated names in opera internationally, including singers Christine Brewer, Susan Graham, Nathan Gunn, Patricia Racette, Thomas Hampson, Jerry Hadley, Dawn Upshaw, Sylvia McNair, Erie Mills, Dwayne Croft, Kelly Kaduce, and Lawrence Brownlee.

    The Foundation’s gift helps support the Gerdine Young Artist program, which offers training and experience to early-career singers, as well as the Emerson Behind the Curtain program, which offers similar opportunities to backstage artisans. More than 60 of the country’s finest emerging singers, technicians, and administrators participate in these OTSL professional development programs, among several others, each year.

    “Aubrey Allicock is an artist with a gorgeous voice and rare dramatic gifts. His first season with Opera Theatre was my first as general director, so it’s been a thrill to watch him grow from a Gerdine Young Artist in our chorus to become a leading baritone at our company and elsewhere. He has a big future ahead, and we are privileged to help him achieve it thanks to the generosity of the Mabel Dorn Reeder Foundation.”

    Mr. O’Leary awarded The Mabel Dorn Reeder Foundation Prize to Mr. Allicock at a luncheon that took place at the Sally S. Levy Opera Center on February 22, 2013.

    About the Mabel Dorn Reeder Foundation 

    Mabel L. Purkerson, MD., Trustee.Mabel Dorn Reeder (1908-2007) was committed to creating a better world for future generations, by giving financially to worthy causes. From McCormick, South Carolina, she was the daughter of a prominent businessman and state senator. Her background enabled her to attend Greenville Women’s College and pursue graduate studies at Columbia University. “She was my namesake and role model because she embodied many of the things I thought I’d like to do in life,” explains Mabel L. Purkerson, M.D., professor emerita of medicine and the niece of Ms. Reeder. Dr. Purkerson is co-trustee of the Foundation and makes allocations honoring Ms. Reeder’s passion for music, education, photography, animals, travel, and history.

    About Aubrey Allicock

    Aubrey Allicock began his professional operatic career in 2009 as a member of Opera Theatre’s Gerdine Young Artist program. In 2010, he joined the roster at the Metropolitan Opera, covering the roles of Astarotte in Armida and Marullo in Rigoletto, and he returned to the Gerdine Young Artist program, singing Zaretsky in Eugene Onegin. He joined Opera Theatre as a principal artist in 2011, singing the role of Mamoud in The Death of Klinghoffer, a performance hailed by the New York Times as ‘striking’ and ‘riveting,’ and has since performed with the company as the Mad Hatter in the American premiere of Alice in Wonderland in 2012. Mr. Allicock is currently an Artist Diploma in Opera Studies student at the Juilliard School and is the recipient of the Richard Gaddes Fund for Young Singers as well as a Sullivan Foundation Grant winner. A native of Tuscon, Arizona, he received his Bachelors of Music from Grand Canyon University in 2006, and his Masters of Music from Indiana University in 2009.

    About Opera Theatre of Saint Louis

    Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is one of the leading American opera companies, known for a spring festival of inventive new productions, sung in English, featuring the finest American singers and accompanied by members of the St. Louis Symphony. As of 2012 Opera Theatre has presented 22 world premieres and 23 American premieres – which may be the highest percentage of new work in the repertory of any U.S. company. Described by The Sunday Times of London as “one of the few American companies worth the transatlantic fare,” Opera Theatre of Saint Louis annually welcomes visitors from nearly every state and close to a dozen foreign countries. Although the size of the theater typically limits box office income to less than a quarter of the budget, the company has consistently produced work of the highest quality while never accumulating a deficit.

    Opera Theatre also has a long tradition of discovering and promoting the careers of the finest operatic artists of the current generation. Among the artists who had important earlyopportunities at Opera Theatre are Christine Brewer, Susan Graham, Nathan Gunn, Patricia Racette, Thomas Hampson, Jerry Hadley, Dawn Upshaw, Sylvia McNair, Erie Mills, Dwayne Croft, Kelly Kaduce, and Lawrence Brownlee. Opera Theatre has always been known for distinguished leadership: founding general director Richard Gaddes was succeeded in 1985 by general director Charles MacKay, with famed British stage director Colin Graham as artistic director and Stephen Lord (1992 – present) as music director. Timothy O’Leary was named general director in October 2008 with acclaimed stage director James Robinson succeeding Colin Graham. For more information, visit ExperienceOpera.org.

     

     Opera Theatre gratefully acknowledges season presenting sponsor Wells Fargo Advisors.

     

    Opera Theatre is a sustaining member of the Arts and Education Council of Greater Saint Louis, and receives major support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Missouri Arts Council.

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  • Opera Theatre Hosts Weeklong Series February 18-24, Featuring Grammy Award Winner Terence Blanchard and a Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Creation of the World Premiere of Champion

    Acclaimed composer and musician will lead workshops, master classes, a panel, and a film screening

    St. Louis, MO – Opera Theatre of Saint Louis will introduce Terence Blanchard’s highly-anticipated new opera Champion with a week of events, February 18 – 24, in the lead-up to single tickets to Opera Theatre’s 2013 season going on sale.  Champion, an opera in jazz written with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Michael Cristofer, is Blanchard’s first opera.  Co-commissioned by Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Jazz St. Louis, the opera is inspired by the true story of prize fighter Emile Griffith – an immigrant from the Virgin Islands who claimed the title of World Welterweight Champion in a fatal 1962 fight which transformed him into a tragic hero and left the two-year old son of his opponent Benny “The Kid” Paret, without a father.

    As a performer, Terence Blanchard has wowed audiences worldwide, including sold-out appearances with Jazz St. Louis. As a composer, he is deeply committed to developing the careers of future musicians and inspiring new audiences to engage with the power of great music. Mr. Blanchard will be central to a dynamic series of free programs, many of which are open to the general public. Partners for the program include Washington University, Webster University, the Ferguson-Florissant School District, Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Louis, the Missouri History Museum, Jazz St. Louis, COCA, Street Dreamz, the Urban League Young Professionals, the Links Inc., Team St. Louis, Athlete Ally, PROMO, PNC Bank, the Whitaker Foundation, The St. Louis American, and The Vital Voice. Highlighted programs include:

    Musical Fusion: Jazz and Opera in the 21st Century
    Monday, February 18, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
    Webster University, Emerson Library

    Join Terence Blanchard for a conversation about trends in 21st century American music, giving specific focus to the fusion between the musical styles of opera and jazz that inform the score of Champion. A master class on the future of 21st century music, this program is designed for college music students but is open to the general public.

    Creating Original Works
    Tuesday, February 19, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m.
    Lee Hamilton Elementary

    A select group of 3rd to 6th grade students at Lee Hamilton Elementary will experience a workshop with Terence Blanchard and Koran Bolden, of Street Dreamz, to explore ways to set their stories to music across three musical styles – hip hop, jazz, and opera. After the completion of the residency, students will have the opportunity to record the original pieces they created with Mr. Blanchard and Mr. Bolden in studio at Street Dreamz.

    Ring of Fire: The Emile Griffith Story Screening with Q&A
    Thursday, February 21, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
    Missouri History Museum

    The documentary Ring of Fire: The Emile Griffith Story traces the story of the life of Emile Griffith, the subject of the opera Champion. One of the final moments in the documentary, the meeting between Emile and the son of his opponent Benny “The Kid” Paret, is dramatized in Champion as the culmination of Emile’s journey towards forgiveness. After the documentary, Terence Blanchard will lead a Q&A discussion with the audience about Emile’s life and the process of translating it into the form of an opera. Screening is sponsored by The Vital Voice.

    Meet the Composer: A Young Professionals Happy Hour
    Friday, February 22, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Mary’s Attic Rooftop Longue // Hamburger Mary’s // 3037 Olive Street

    The Young Friends of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and of Jazz St. Louis co-host a happy hour event, featuring drinks and appetizers and a sneak peek of music from Champion. Terence Blanchard will be joined by singer Aubrey Allicock (who plays the role of Young Emile in the opera) and celebrated jazz pianist Peter Martin.

    Hip Hop, Jazz, and Opera Collide – An Interactive Workshop for Kids Grades 6 – 12
    Saturday, February 23, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
    Centene Center for the Arts

    Students from the Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Louis, Jazz St. Louis’s Jazz U program, and the hip hop and theatre programs at COCA will combine for an interactive program on musical storytelling, featuring vocal performance, instrumental performance, and dance.

    Out for the Count: A Legacy in Athletes
    Saturday, February 23, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
    Washington University, Whitaker Hall

    This panel, sponsored by Washington University, explores the legacy of LGBT athletes in American culture, starting with Emile Griffith in the 1960s and moving forward to the challenges and opportunities that face amateur and professional athletics to become increasingly inclusive today. Terence Blanchard is joined on the panel by singer Aubrey Allicock,  as well as Hudson Taylor (Executive Director of Athlete Ally), Greg Larocque (former North American President of the Gay and Lesbian International Sports Association), and Philip Deitch (St. Louis amateur athlete and community activist).

    More details on each program, including rsvp information, are available at ExperienceOpera.org. This weeklong series is part of New Voices for Opera, audience engagement program which is made possible through support from Opera America’s Opera Fund and PNC Arts Alive.

    The commissioning and development of Champion was made possible with a leadership gift from the Whitaker Foundation with generous support from the Fred M. Saigh Endowment at Opera Theatre, and with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and OPERA America’s Opera Fund.  The production of Champion is made possible with a leadership gift from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and generous support from the Whitaker Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Phoebe Dent Weil

    Single tickets to the 2013 Festival Season at Opera Theatre, including the world premiere of Champion, go on sale to the general public on Saturday, February 23, 2013. All participants in this weeklong series will receive advance access to purchase tickets to Champion before they go on sale to the general public. Ticket prices for Champion start as low as $25. For more information, visit ExperienceOpera.org or call the Opera Theatre Box Office at (314) 961-0644.

    About Terence Blanchard

    World-renowned jazz musican and trumpet player Terence Blanchard is known for his work as a composer of hauntingly beautiful jazz pieces for small ensembles, symphonic settings, film, and stage. He has received five Grammy Awards, including the 2007 Large Ensemble Grammy for A Tale of God’s Will (A Requiem for Katrina). Most recently for film, he wrote the score to Lucasfilm’s Red Tails, which chronicled the story of the Tuskegee pilots and starred Cuba Gooding, Jr. His music was also recently represented on Broadway with the score to Emily Mann’s new production of A Streetcar Named Desire, starring Blair Underwood.

    About Opera Theatre of Saint Louis

     

    Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is one of the leading American opera companies, known for a spring festival of inventive new productions, sung in English, featuring the finest American singers and accompanied by members of the St. Louis Symphony.  As of 2012, Opera Theatre has presented 22 world premieres and 23 American premieres – which may be the highest percentage of new work in the repertory of any U.S. company.  Described by The Sunday Times of London as “one of the few American companies worth the transatlantic fare,” Opera Theatre of Saint Louis annually welcomes visitors from nearly every state and close to a dozen foreign countries. Although the size of the theater typically limits box office income to less than a quarter of the budget, the company has consistently produced work of the highest quality while never accumulating a deficit. 

     

    Opera Theatre also has a long tradition of discovering and promoting the careers of the finest operatic artists of the current generation.  Among the artists who had important early opportunities at Opera Theatre are Christine Brewer, Susan Graham, Nathan Gunn, Patricia Racette, Thomas Hampson, Jerry Hadley, Dawn Upshaw, Sylvia McNair, Erie Mills, Dwayne Croft, Kelly Kaduce, and Lawrence Brownlee.  Opera Theatre has always been known for distinguished leadership: founding general director Richard Gaddes was succeeded in 1985 by general director Charles MacKay, with famed British stage director Colin Graham as artistic director and Stephen Lord (1992 – present) as music director.  Timothy O’Leary was named general director in October 2008 with acclaimed stage director James Robinson succeeding Colin Graham. For more information, visit ExperienceOpera.org.

     

    Opera Theatre gratefully acknowledges season presenting sponsor Wells Fargo Advisors.

     

    Opera Theatre is a sustaining member of the Arts & Education Council of Greater Saint Louis, and receives major support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Missouri Arts Council.

    

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  • Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Offers Opera Fans Worldwide the Chance to Win VIP Tickets and Travel Packages with New Video Competition

    January 16, 2013 – Opera Theatre of Saint Louis has launched Opera Stories Revealed: Share Your Story and Win, a new competition designed to inspire audiences, artists, and fans to share their excitement about opera, in partnership with KMOX radio. The grand prize winner of the competition will receive VIP tickets to the opening night of Opera Theatre’s world premiere opera-in-jazz Champion, as well as a music travel package to New Orleans to hear Champion’s composer Terence Blanchard perform at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

    Opera lovers of all ages and all backgrounds have moving, surprising, and funny stories about opera. Through this contest, Opera Theatre and KMOX encourage those fans worldwide to share a personal video of one of those stories on the webpage www.OperaStoriesRevealed.com.  Videos can be captured on a smartphone or standard digital video camera and uploaded directly to the competition’s webpage. The story might be that of a first experience with opera, a favorite opera memory, falling in love with opera, how someone fell in love because of opera, or any other experience with opera that surprised or delighted. For inspiration, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis has prepared a series of videos featuring the stories of current singers, staff members, and board members, which can also be viewed at www.OperaStoriesRevealed.com.

    Contestants will be able submit videos starting now through March 3, 2013. Through March 3, the public will be able to rate each video, helping to select the top ten finalists. From March 6 – 19, 2013, through online voting, audiences will be able to vote on their favorite video from among the top ten – with one vote permitted per day per email address. A grand prize winner and two runners up will be selected March 20, 2013.

    Grand prize winners will receive not only a VIP experience at the opening night of the world premiere of Terence Blanchard and Michael Cristofer’s Champion in St. Louis on June 15, 2013, but they will also enjoy the opportunity to hear five-time Grammy Award winner Terence Blanchard perform live at the 2013 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. The New Orleans travel package features round trip air fare to New Orleans, two nights hotel accommodations, two days’ access to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and a pre- or post- concert meet and greet opportunity with Terence Blanchard. Two runners up will also receive a pair of tickets to the world premiere of Champion, and all top ten finalists will receive an autographed Champion poster signed by Mr. Blanchard.

    Opera Stories Revealed: Share Your Story and Win was developed in partnership with KMOX radio. As part of New Voices for Opera, a program designed to grow and deepen engagement in opera, the competition is generously funded with grants from Opera America’s Opera Fund and PNC Arts Alive. The support from PNC is part of a multi-year initiative to support visual and performing arts groups with the goal of increasing arts access and engagement in new and innovative ways.

    “The PNC Foundation has a long history of providing grants to organizations that strengthen and enrich the lives of our communities,” said Rick Sems, the Regional President of PNC Bank.  “We understand that a rich arts community is a significant driver of our economic success, providing employment, boosting tourism, and making the region attractive for businesses, residents, and visitors.”

    Single tickets to Opera Theatre’s 2013 Festival Season go on sale to the general public on Saturday, February 23, 2013. Subscriptions are currently available to all four operas in the season: The Pirates of Penzance, a double bill of Pagliacci and Il tabarro, the world premiere of Champion, and The Kiss. For more information on the upcoming season, visit www.ExperienceOpera.org. For more information on Opera Stories Revealed, including detailed rules, visit www.OperaStoriesRevealed.com.

    About Opera Theatre of Saint Louis

    Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is one of the leading American opera companies, known for a spring festival of inventive new productions, sung in English, featuring the finest American singers and accompanied by members of the St. Louis Symphony.  As of 2012 Opera Theatre has presented 22 world premieres and 23 American premieres – which may be the highest percentage of new work in the repertory of any U.S. company.  Described by The Sunday Times of London as “one of the few American companies worth the transatlantic fare,” Opera Theatre of Saint Louis annually welcomes visitors from nearly every state and close to a dozen foreign countries. Although the size of the theater typically limits box office income to less than a quarter of the budget, the company has consistently produced work of the highest quality while never accumulating a deficit.

     Opera Theatre also has a long tradition of discovering and promoting the careers of the finest operatic artists of the current generation.  Among the artists who had important early opportunities at Opera Theatre are Christine Brewer, Susan Graham, Nathan Gunn, Patricia Racette, Thomas Hampson, Jerry Hadley, Dawn Upshaw, Sylvia McNair, Erie Mills, Dwayne Croft, Kelly Kaduce, and Lawrence Brownlee.  Opera Theatre has always been known for distinguished leadership: founding general director Richard Gaddes was succeeded in 1985 by general director Charles MacKay, with famed British stage director Colin Graham as artistic director and Stephen Lord (1992 – present) as music director.  Timothy O’Leary was named general director in October 2008 with acclaimed stage director James Robinson succeeding Colin Graham.  For more information, visit ExperienceOpera.org.

     

    Opera Theatre gratefully acknowledges season presenting sponsor Wells Fargo Advisors.

     

    Opera Theatre is a sustaining member of the Arts and Education Council of Greater Saint Louis, and receives major support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Missouri Arts Council

     

     

    

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  • Opera Theatre announces New Works, Bold Voices

    Composers Terence Blanchard, Ricky Ian Gordon, and Jack Perla will each premiere new works beginning in the 2013 season

    October 29, 2012 – Timothy O’Leary, General Director of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, today announced a three-year cycle of world premiere operas by American composers, beginning with the company’s 2013 festival season in May.  The new operas are Champion by Terence Blanchard with libretto by Michael Cristofer (2013), Twenty-Seven by Ricky Ian Gordon with libretto by Michael Korie (2014), and Shalimar the Clown by Jack Perla, based on the novel by Salman Rushdie (2015).  The cycle is underwritten in part by a $1 million challenge grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

    Casting for the cycle includes two of the world’s most acclaimed mezzo-sopranos, Denyce Graves in Champion and Stephanie Blythe in Twenty-SevenChampion is a co-commission with Jazz St. Louis.  Casting and collaborators for Shalimar the Clown will be announced at a later date.

    “Opera has lately entered an exuberant era of new works,” said Mr. O’Leary, “and Opera Theatre is excited to build on a 37-year tradition of adventurous programming. We call this cycle New Works, Bold Voices recognizing these tremendous composers, librettists, and singers, as well as the courageous characters they will depict.”

    Mr. O’Leary continued, “Music Director Stephen Lord, Artistic Director James Robinson, and I consider it central to Opera Theatre’s mission to present American works, telling compelling stories of the modern era, exploring our common humanity through the special power of music and theatre.  I am deeply grateful to Opera Theatre’s audience and generous supporters who make this work possible.”

    Champion is the first opera for Mr. Blanchard and Mr. Cristofer.  Mr. Blanchard is a five-time Grammy Award-winning jazz, film, and theatrical composer.  Mr. Cristofer is a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, as well as an award-winning filmmaker and actor.  Mr. Gordon and Mr. Korie have collaborated on operas before, including their acclaimed The Grapes of Wrath which was premiered at the Minnesota Opera and has been performed in concert at Carnegie Hall.  Mr. Perla is known for his wide-ranging compositional style including symphonic, choral, and chamber music, as well as work in multiple jazz idioms.  His one-act opera Courtside was presented by the Houston Grand Opera as part of its Song of Houston project for HGOco, and his chamber opera Love/Hate has been performed in a co-production by the Opera Center of San Francisco Opera and ODC Theater.

    At the completion of this cycle in 2015, Opera Theatre will mark its 40th anniversary season having produced 25 world premieres and 24 American premieres.  England’s Opera magazine recently described Opera Theatre as “one of the country’s most enterprising, off-centre festivals.  Indeed, it is hard to think of any other major opera festival on either side of the Atlantic that has so devoted itself to new work.”  Recent successes with works by composers John Adams, John Corigliano, Peter Ash, and Unsuk Chin have helped expand Opera Theatre’s audience, which is drawn from nearly 50 states and about a dozen foreign countries in addition to every zip code in the St. Louis metropolitan area. 

     

    CHAMPION (2013)

    An opera in jazz

    Music by Terence Blanchard

    Libretto by Michael Cristofer

    June 15, 19, 21, 25, 27, 30, 2013

     The Story

    Emile Griffith was a three-time world welterweight champion and twice a world middleweight champion, fighting from the late 1950s into the 1970s.  However, one of his greatest professional triumphs – winning back the title from Benny “The Kid” Paret in 1962 – was also his greatest personal tragedy.  The seventeen punches he landed on Paret in seven seconds resulted in not only a knockout, but also a coma from which Paret would never recover.  Paret would die ten days later.  For Griffith, who had never wanted to be a boxer, the impact of the fight was devastating, and his career soon went downhill.

    Before that life-changing televised fight, in a room full of press and officials, Paret had mocked Griffith with a derogatory term for homosexual.  Years later, Griffith’s sexuality was revealed after he was nearly killed by a gang outside a gay bar in New York. “I kill a man,” Griffith was quoted to have said, “and most people understand and forgive me. I love a man, and to so many people this is an unforgiveable sin.”  Much later in his life, beginning to suffer from dementia, Griffith met the son of his opponent, Benny Jr., who was two years old at the time of the match, and who forgave the aging champion.  In an inspiring, moving, and painful journey of self-discovery, Champion presents audiences with a contemporary tragic hero – a story of strength, courage, rage, regret, and compassion.

    About Terence Blanchard

    Renowned for his work as a composer of hauntingly beautiful jazz pieces for small ensembles, symphonic settings, film, and stage, Terence Blanchard has received five Grammy Awards, including the 2007 Large Ensemble Grammy for “A Tale of God’s Will (A Requiem for Katrina).”  Most recently for film, he wrote the score to Lucasfilm’s Red Tails, which chronicled the story of the Tuskegee pilots and starred Cuba Gooding, Jr.  His music was also recently represented on Broadway with the score to Emily Mann’s new production of A Streetcar Named Desire, starring Blair Underwood.  Champion is Mr. Blanchard’s first opera.

    About Michael Cristofer

    For playwright, filmmaker, and actor Michael Cristofer, the Champion libretto is also a first.  In 1977, he received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play for The Shadow Box.  Mr. Cristofer’s other plays include Breaking Up, Black Angel, The Lady and the Clarinet which starred Stockard Channing, and Amazing Grace starring Marsha Mason, which received the American Theater Critics Award for Best Play in 1997.  His work on such films as The Witches of Eastwick, Falling in Love, The Bonfire of the Vanities, and HBO’s Gia has earned him a Golden Globe, a Writer’s Guild Award, two Emmy nominations, and a best director award from the Director’s Guild of America.  Currently, he appears on the NBC drama Smash.

    More information on Champion, including the cast and artistic team, is available at http://www.opera-stl.org/about/news-press/2012/10/29/national-and-local-funders-provide-major-support-for-three-year-cycle-of-new-american-operas-in-st-louis/

    The commissioning and development of Champion were made possible with a leadership gift from the Whitaker Foundation and with major support from the National Endowment for the Arts and OPERA America’s Opera Fund.

    The production of Champion is made possible with a leadership gift from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and generous support from the Whitaker Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Phoebe Dent Weil.  New Voices for Opera, the audience development programming surrounding the project, is made possible by OPERA America’s Opera Fund and PNC Arts Alive.


    TWENTY-SEVEN (2014)

    Music by Ricky Ian Gordon

    Libretto by Michael Korie

    June, 2014

    The Story

    Twenty-Seven explores the story of Gertrude Stein’s life in Paris between World War I and World War II at her famous home at 27 Rue de Fleurus.  Destined to become a legendary author, poet, raconteuse, and patroness of the arts, Stein established in Paris one of the great salons of all time, hosting the most influential artists and personalities of her day.  She was particularly fond of those she dubbed “the lost generation” – a group of artists who came of age during World War I.  While they suffered its ravages, they also rose to the challenges of the interwar period to create many of the great works that defined the advent of Modernism.

    The role of Gertrude Stein will be the centerpiece of the opera, sung by renowned mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe.  Ms. Blythe will be joined by a cast of four virtuosic singing actors who will change identities fluidly to portray those who surround Stein – from her brother Leo and her companion Alice B. Toklas to Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, Juan Gris, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

    About Ricky Ian Gordon

    American composer Ricky Ian Gordon has quickly emerged as a leading writer of vocal music that spans art song, opera, and musical theater.  Mr. Gordon’s songs have been performed and/or recorded by such internationally renowned singers as Renee Fleming, Dawn Upshaw, Nathan Gunn, Deborah Voigt, Elizabeth Futral, Judy Collins, Kelli O’Hara, Audra MacDonald, Kristin Chenoweth, Nicole Cabell, the late Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Frederica Von Stade, Andrea Marcovicci, Harolyn Blackwell, and Betty Buckley, among many others.  Recent productions of his work include Rappahannock County with libretto by Mark Campbell, Sycamore Trees for which he is the composer and lyricist, The Grapes of Wrath with libretto by Michael Korie and Orpheus and Euridice (OBIE Award) for which he is the librettist.  Renee Fleming premiered the orchestral version of his Night Flight To San Francisco, a setting of Harper’s final monologue from Tony Kushner’s Angels In America in March, and his Green Sneakers for Baritone, String Quartet, Empty Chair, and Piano, for which he is also the librettist, will have its New York premiere at Lincoln Center on April 6th, 2013.


    About Michael Korie

    Michael Korie writes librettos to operas and lyrics to musicals.  His libretto to composer Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath premiered to acclaim at Minnesota Opera followed by productions at Los Angeles Disney Concert Hall, Utah Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, and Carnegie Hall.  Librettos with composer Stewart Wallace include Harvey Milk (San Francisco Opera), Kabbalah (BAM Next Wave Festival) and Where’s Dick? (Houston Grand Opera). Lyrics include award-winning Broadway musical Grey Gardens, and this season’s Far From Heaven (Playwrights Horizons) and the UK production of Finding Neverland, all with composer Scott Frankel.  He teaches lyric-writing at Yale Drama School, and serves as an artistic advisor to emerging opera and theater composers and librettists at the American Lyric Theater and The Dramatists Guild.

     

    SHALIMAR THE CLOWN (2015)

    Music by Jack Perla

    Based on the novel by Salman Rushdie

    June, 2015

    The Story

    Shalimar the Clown is based on Salman Rushdie’s acclaimed novel of the same title.  Its themes of personal and political power and betrayal are played against the story of three generations of women, beginning in the “paradise lost” of rural Kashmir and culminating in late 20th century Los Angeles.  Shalimar is a young Muslim Kashmiri known for his gregarious personality and his skill as a tightrope walker.  His Romeo-and-Juliet romance with a Hindu girl named Boonyi manages to meet with approval from their families and their village, but the romance is shattered when an American ambassador begins an affair with Boonyi.  Shalimar goes on to train as an assassin and seeks revenge not only on the ambassador but also the child of the affair, a daughter named India, who lives in California. 

    Mr. Rushdie’s novel was a finalist for the 2005 Whitbread Book Awards, and has been described as “Rushdie’s greatest novel since The Satanic Verses” by The Los Angeles Times.  The novel’s magic-realist world incorporates Mr. Rushdie’s signature humor, balanced by a thrilling, sinister ending, which offers a glint of hope in the form of an unanswered question.  Mr. Perla has recorded and performed with many well-known artists in the Indian tradition, and plans to create a score that blends the contemporary Western opera tradition with that of traditional Indian sounds, employing the tabla and sitar in the orchestra and the exuberance of Bollywood films for large choral scenes.

    About Jack Perla


    San Francisco-based composer Jack Perla has forged a reputation for writing engaging, sophisticated, and accessible works using a palette that includes symphonic, operatic, choral, and chamber music, as well as multiple jazz idioms.  In 2010, Mr. Perla was commissioned by the Houston Grand Opera for a one-act opera with playwright Eugenie Chan, for Song of Houston. Courtside was the first in that series and led to a second commission for the final opera of the series, with author Chitra Banerjee Divarakuni.  Love/Hate, commissioned by American Opera Projects, premiered in 2012 in a co-production with the Opera Center of San Francisco Opera and ODC Theater.  Other commissions include Belongings, a new one act opera for the Seattle Opera with Atlantic writer Jessica Murphy Moo, and Pretty Boy, commissioned by the Paul Dresher Ensemble.  Mr. Perla has received awards from the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, American Composers Forum, Zellerbach Fund, Argosy Foundation Contemporary Music Fund, James Irvine Foundation, American Music Center, Meet the Composer and Civic Orchestra of Chicago.  He is the 1997 recipient of the Thelonious Monk Institute Jazz Composers Award, and earned his DMA at the Yale School of Music.

     

    About Opera Theatre of Saint Louis

    Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is one of the leading American opera companies, known for a spring festival of inventive new productions, sung in English, featuring the finest American singers and accompanied by members of the St. Louis Symphony.  As of 2012 Opera Theatre has presented 22 world premieres and 23 American premieres – which may be the highest percentage of new work in the repertory of any U.S. company.  Described by The Sunday Times of London as “one of the few American companies worth the transatlantic fare,” Opera Theatre of Saint Louis annually welcomes visitors from nearly every state and close to a dozen foreign countries. Although the size of the theater typically limits box office income to less than a quarter of the budget, the company has consistently produced work of the highest quality while never accumulating a deficit.

    Opera Theatre also has a long tradition of discovering and promoting the careers of the finest operatic artists of the current generation.  Among the artists who had important early opportunities at Opera Theatre are Christine Brewer, Susan Graham, Nathan Gunn, Patricia Racette, Thomas Hampson, Jerry Hadley, Dawn Upshaw, Sylvia McNair, Erie Mills, Dwayne Croft, Kelly Kaduce, and Lawrence Brownlee.  Opera Theatre has always been known for distinguished leadership: founding general director Richard Gaddes was succeeded in 1985 by general director Charles MacKay, with famed British stage director Colin Graham as artistic director and Stephen Lord (1992 – present) as music director.  Timothy O’Leary was named general director in October 2008 with acclaimed stage director James Robinson succeeding Colin Graham.  For more information, visit ExperienceOpera.org.

     Opera Theatre gratefully acknowledges season presenting sponsor Wells Fargo Advisors.

    Opera Theatre is a sustaining member of the Arts and Education Council of Greater Saint Louis, and receives major support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Missouri Arts Council.

     

     

     

    

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