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Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Announces 2012 Season


Carmen, Così fan tutte, Sweeney Todd, and Alice in Wonderland

Season to feature a major American premiere, as well as the triumphant return of St. Louis’s own Kendall Gladen in her OTSL debut as Carmen

St. Louis, MO – From opera’s most compelling femme fatale to an eye-popping wonderland of fantasy friends, Opera Theatre’s 2012 spring season brings audiences a cast of unforgettable characters over the course of 29 performances. The season opens with the OTSL debut of St. Louis’s own Kendall Gladen in Bizet’s Carmen and continues with Mozart’s sparkling comedy Così fan tutte and the company’s second Sondheim, his 1979 masterpiece Sweeney Todd. The season concludes with the much-anticipated American premiere of Unsuk Chin and David Henry Hwang’s Alice in Wonderland.


Subscriptions to the 2012 season are now available to renewing 2011 season subscribers and 2011 ticket buyers. Subscriptions may currently be purchased in person at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis box office or by phone at (314) 961-0644. Tickets within a subscription package range from $37.50 to $93.50, a savings of at least 25% off the cost of single tickets. Prices vary based on number of operas in the package, day of week, and seating section. Subscriptions go on sale online to the general public July 11, 2011. Additional season activities, including Spotlight on Opera, A Little Lunch Music, master classes, Young Friends programs and additional concerts and cabarets, will be announced later this summer.


*Debut artist

Georges Bizet: CARMEN (1875)

Nine performances in 2012: May 19, 23, 25, 31, June 8, 10, 13 (matinee), 16, 23 (matinee)

 Conductor: Carlos Izcaray*

Stage Director: Stephen Barlow*

Costume and Set Designer: Paul Edwards

Lighting Designer: Christopher Akerlind


 Carmen’s allure is inescapable. This fiery femme fatale inspires passion and shatters hearts. Once Corporal Don Jose falls under her spell, his desire transforms him from a noble soldier into a common criminal… and ultimately, a murderer. After over a century, Carmen remains perhaps the world’s most popular opera.  This all-new production evokes a sand-swept, lusty Seville – where both honor can be betrayed and temptation can be awakened over the most casual of cigarettes.

 Carmen will be the first starring role at Opera Theatre for St. Louis’s own Kendall Gladen*, whose blazing talent first emerged in OTSL’s Artist-in-Training program when she was only 16 years old. Corinne Winters returns as Micaëla, with significant debuts by Adam Diegel* as Don Jose and Aleksey Bogdanov* as the bullfighter Escamillo. Stephen Barlow* and Carlos Izcaray* make St. Louis debuts as director and conductor.


 Stephen Sondheim: SWEENEY TODD (1979)

Eight performances in 2012: May 26, 30, June 1, 7, 12 (matinee), 16 (matinee), 20, 24

 Conductor: Stephen Lord

Stage Director: Ron Daniels*

Set Designer: Riccardo Hernandez

Costume Designer: Emily Rebholz

Lighting Designer: Christopher Akerlind


Sweet revenge never was so literal as it is in this dark comedy about the underbelly of Victorian England. Sweeney, a barber convicted of a crime he did not commit, is a driven man in search of justice. Mrs. Lovett, proprietress of a pie shop, is a batty woman in search of customers. When Sweeney’s quest for vengeance spirals out of control, he draws her into the depths of his madness. Soon, Lovett’s promise to “serve anyone” in her pie shop starts to ring disturbingly true.

 Stephen Sondheim’s ravishing score oozes with wit and menace – equal parts raw power and biting comedy. Hailed in theaters and opera houses around the globe, this masterpiece of contemporary American music theater will be led by the powerhouse team of OTSL Music Director Stephen Lord and director Ron Daniels*. 


 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: COSÌ FAN TUTTE (1790)

Six performances in 2012: June 3, 6, 9, 14, 20 (matinee), 22


Conductor: Jean-Marie Zeitouni*

Stage Director: Michael Shell

Set and Costume Designer: Bruno Schwengl

Lighting Designer: Christopher Akerlind


Two suave and impossibly attractive suitors come to call on a pair of sisters… just as their fiancés go off to war. Little do the sisters know that it’s all a trick to test their fidelity: the exotic suitors are actually their fiancés in disguise. Midsummer mischief, mistaken identities, and unexpected romance turn the men’s ill-advised wager on love into much more than they bargained for.

This shimmering romantic comedy is the finale to OTSL’s cycle of Mozart and Da Ponte’s great operas.  Rachel Willis-Sørensen* and former Gerdine Young Artist Kathryn Leemhuis match wits with Liam Bonner (fresh from his appearance as Pelléas in OTSL’s 2011 season) and David Portillo (seen in 2011 as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni), as Cosìs star-crossed lovers. OTSL welcomes Jennifer Aylmer* as the cunning maid Despina and Matthew Lau as Alfonso. Michael Shell makes his OTSL solo directing debut and Jean-Marie Zeitouni conducts.


Opera Theatre’s 3-year Mozart/Da Ponte cycle is made possible with leadership support from the William T. Kemper Foundation – Commerce Bank, Trustee, and The Commerce Trust Company.


Unsuk Chin and David Henry Hwang: ALICE IN WONDERLAND (2007)

Six performances in 2012: June 13, 15, 17, 19 (matinee), 21, 23

American Premiere


Conductor: Michael Christie

Stage Director: James Robinson

This is one important date you cannot be late for. With dazzling musical invention, Unsuk Chin finds captivating new voices for familiar friends: from the beguiling caterpillar, the delightful White Rabbit, the hilarious Mad Hatter and the willful Queen of Hearts to Alice herself. The denizens of this dream world blend the fantasy, whimsy, and darkness of Lewis Carroll’s original tale in an unforgettable journey down the rabbit hole to a world of wonder.

Opernwelt magazine called Alice’s European debut “the world premiere of the year.”  The Los Angeles Times echoed, “A wondrous new work… triumphs in Munich… greeted with thunderous applause and foot-stomping… as colorful as a look through a kaleidoscope.” With a libretto by David Henry Hwang, playwright of M. Butterfly, Alice in Wonderland has already been listed among the “New Masterpieces” in the January 2011 Opera News. Starring Ashley Emerson as Alice, after her 2011 The Daughter of the Regiment, this American premiere is directed by OTSL Artistic Director James Robinson and conducted by Michael Christie.

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 2011, Opera Theatre has presented 22 world premieres and 22 American premieres – which is perhaps 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,” and by Opera Today as “the leading summer opera destination in the United States,” Opera Theatre of Saint Louis welcomed visitors from 47 states and 10 foreign countries in 2010. Although the size of the theater limits box office income to 26% of the budget, the company has consistently produced work of the highest quality while never accumulating a deficit.


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.