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Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Announces Repertory for 2014 Festival 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.

Fashion icon Isaac Mizrahi (director and designer of Opera Theatre’s 2010 A Little Night Music) returns to direct and design Mozart’s enchanting The Magic Flute, which opens the season on May 24, 2014. Famed Mozart expert Jane Glover conducts, in her fourth appearance with Opera Theatre.  Tenor Sean Panikkar also returns as Tamino, the prince who is sent on a quest to rescue Pamina (former Gerdine Young Artist Elizabeth Zharoff) from Sarastro (former Gerdine Young Artist Matthew Anchel). Returning favorites Levi Hernandez and Matthew DiBattista are featured as Papageno and Monostatos, and Emily Hindrichs makes her debut as the Queen of the Night. 

Donizetti’s lighthearted comedy The Elixir of Love returns to Opera Theatre on May 31, 2014, for the first time since 1982.  The story unfolds over a single day, as, Nemorino, desperate to win the love of Adina, purchases a “love potion” from a travelling salesman. James Robinson’s original production will be staged by Jose Maria Condemi and conducted by OTSL Music Director Stephen Lord.  Tenor René Barbera, recent winner of Plácido Domingo’s Operalia world opera competition, returns as the lovelorn hero after wowing audiences in Donizetti’s The Daughter of the Regiment in 2011. Susannah Biller makes her OTSL debut as Adina, and former GYA Tim Mix and Patrick Carfizzi return as the rival for Adina’s heart, Belcore, and the snake oil peddler Dulcamara, respectively.

Commissioned by Opera Theatre as the second in its New Works, Bold Voices series, Ricky Ian Gordon and Royce Vavrek’s Twenty-Seven opens June 14, 2014 starring mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe in her Opera Theatre debut as Gertrude Stein. The New York Times recently wrote, “With each performance the American mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe gives, it becomes increasingly apparent that a once-in-a-generation opera singer has arrived.” The story traces the life of Gertrude Stein during her years in Paris hosting salons with her companion Alice B. Toklas at #27 Rue de Fleurus. An ensemble of singers play leading artists and luminaries of the “Lost Generation,” whose lives Stein transformed, including Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henri Matisse, Man Ray, and her brother Leo Stein. Conductor Michael Christie, known especially for his productions of contemporary operas (including OTSL’s 2012 Alice in Wonderland and 2011 The Death of Klinghoffer), conducts and OTSL Artistic Director James Robinson directs.

Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites opens June 18, 2014, as the fourth opera of the season. Some of the company’s most highly regarded singers from past seasons share the stage in this unforgettable opera, portraying the humble sisters of a Carmelite convent during the darkest days of the French Revolution. The production features the return of soprano Christine Brewer, hailed as one of the BBC’s “top 20 sopranos of the 20th century.” Ms. Brewer began her career in the chorus at Opera Theatre before going on to become one of the world’s leading sopranos. Also featured in the cast are beloved Opera Theatre favorites Kelly Kaduce,  Ashley Emerson, Meredith Arwady, Troy Cook, and David Portillo, as well as former GYA Laura Wilde.  Ward Stare conducts, returning after his 2013 debut with Il tabarro and Pagliacci, and Robin Guarino makes her OTSL debut as director.

 “We are thrilled to be presenting a season with so many great artists, many of them returning to Opera Theatre after meaningful successes here and around the world.  We are also excited to be building on Opera Theatre’s tradition as a forward-looking company, with our 24th world premiere, Ricky Ian Gordon and Royce Varek’s Twenty-Seven.  And with such a variety of works in the season, there is truly something for everyone – I’m grateful to the amazing Opera Theatre audience and family of supporters, who make it possible.”, said General Director Timothy O’Leary.

All performances in the 2014 season are accompanied by the musicians of the St. Louis Symphony in the orchestra pit and are performed in English, with projected supertitles. Performances are presented at the Loretto-Hilton Center on the campus of Webster University. Subscription tickets to the 2014 season start at $150 for a four-opera evening package, and $75 for a two-opera matinee package. Subscriptions will be available for purchase during Opera Theatre’s upcoming Wells Fargo Advisors 2013 Festival Season. Single tickets will go on sale in February, 2014.

The production of The Magic Flute is made possible with major production support from the Engelhardt Family Foundation.

The commissioning and development of Twenty-Seven are made possible with a leadership gift from Alison and John Ferring. Generous support also comes from the Fred M. Saigh Endowment at Opera Theatre, the National Endowment for the Arts, and OPERA America’s Opera Fund. The production of Twenty-Seven is made possible with a leadership gift from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The production of Dialogues of the Carmelites is made possible with a leadership gift from Sally S. Levy & Family, and with major production support from the Whitaker Foundation and from the William T. Kemper Foundation – Commerce Bank, Trustee and The Commerce Trust Company.


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.  With the launch of the 2013 season, Opera Theatre has presented 23 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


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.