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Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Announces Final Casting and Production Artists for 2014 Festival Season

Stephanie Blythe makes first St. Louis appearance in world premiere production of Ricky Ian Gordon’s 27; Christine Brewer returns in The Dialogues of the Carmelites; Isaac Mizrahi and Jane Glover return as director/designer and conductor for The Magic Flute

Six week festival season runs May 24 – June 29, 2014

St. Louis, MO, February 18, 2014 – Stephanie Blythe, Christine Brewer, Jane Glover and Isaac Mizrahi are among the major artists who will appear during Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’s 2014 spring season, which opens at the Loretto-Hilton Center on May 24, 2014 with Mozart’s The Magic Flute and continues through June 29 with three additional new productions.  The season is also highlighted by the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s 27,” the company’s first-ever production of Poulenc’s The Dialogues of the Carmelites, and Donizetti’s delightful The Elixir of Love.

All productions are sung in English with projected supertitles and are presented with members of the famed St. Louis Symphony in the orchestra.  Timothy O’Leary is OTSL’s general director; the company’s artistic director is James Robinson, and the music director is Stephen Lord.

“We are thrilled to present so many extraordinary artists in a single season,” said general director Timothy O’Leary.  “It’s a season of fresh takes on three masterpieces, as well as our 24th world premiere, ‘27,’ which brings together one of America’s most celebrated composers with one of our most celebrated librettists, working together for the first time.  I am so grateful to the Opera Theatre audience and family of supporters, who make it possible.”

In addition to a talented company of principal artists, Opera Theatre’s 2014 Festival Season will feature 36 members of its Gerdine Young Artist program, who will perform both ensemble roles and secondary roles during the season. The program, which is central to OTSL’s mission to nurture and showcase the best young American vocal talent, received 1,054 applications for the 2014 Season, making it among the most selective young artist programs in the country.

Single tickets to the 2014 Festival Season start at only $25 and go on sale to the general public Saturday February 22 through the Opera Theatre Box Office, accessible online at www.ExperienceOpera.org, by phone at (314) 961-0644, and in person at the Loretto-Hilton Center, 130 Edgar Road, St. Louis MO 63119. Full season subscriptions are available to both local and national audiences, with Weekender Packages available for out-of-town guests interested in seeing three or four productions in a single weekend visit to St. Louis.

“27” (2014)

Ricky Ian Gordon and Royce Vavrek

(Six performances) June 14, 17, 19, 25, 27, 29

World premiere – commissioned by Opera Theatre

Internationally celebrated mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe will create the role of legendary writer and patron of the arts Gertrude Stein, with soprano Elizabeth Futral as Alice B. Toklas, in the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon and Royce Vavrek’s “27.” The opera takes its title from 27 Rue de Fleurus, where Stein and Toklas hosted salons for expatriate artists and writers of the Lost Generation like Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Ernest Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, all of whom appear as characters in the opera.  The production is the second in the New Works, Bold Voices series commissioned by the company, following last year’s highly successful Champion. Michael Christie, known especially for his productions of contemporary operas (including OTSL’s 2012 Alice in Wonderland and The Death of Klinghoffer in 2011), will conduct; the opera will be staged by OTSL Artistic Director James Robinson.

Conductor Michael Christie
Director James Robinson
Set Designer    Allen Moyer 
Costume Designer    James Schuette
Lighting Designer    James Ingalls*
Gertrude Stein Stephanie Blythe*
Alice B. Toklas    Elizabeth Futral
Picasso/F. Scott Fitzgerald Theo Lebow*
Leo Stein/Man Ray Tobias Greenhalgh†
Ernest Hemingway/Henri Matisse    Daniel Brevik*†

* Debut Artist     -    Current Gerdine Young Artist

The commissioning and development of “27” 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 “27” is made possible with a leadership gift from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and with support from major production sponsor Phoebe Dent Weil and production underwriter Emily Rauh Pulitzer.

Mozart: THE MAGIC FLUTE  (1791)

(Ten performances) May 24, 28, 30; June 5, 11, 15, 18m, 21, 24m, 28m

The season opens on Saturday, May 24 with Mozart’s The Magic Flute, directed and designed by fashion superstar Isaac Mizrahi, who directed and designed OTSL’s critically-acclaimed A Little Night Music in 2010. Mozart’s last opera is an enchanting fairytale about a prince who is sent on a quest to rescue a beautiful princess; he is accompanied by the birdcatcher Papageno, one of the most beloved characters in all of opera.  Conductor Jane Glover returns to lead her fourth Opera Theatre production.

ConductorJane Glover 
DirectorIsaac Mizrahi 
Set and Costume Designer Isaac Mizrahi 
Lighting Designer Michael Chybowski 
Wig and Makeup Designer Tom Watson  
Choreographer  John Heginbotham*  
Chorus Master Robert Ainsley 
Sarastro Matthew Anchel⁰ 
Tamino Sean Panikkar  
Pamina Elizabeth Zharoff⁰ 
The Queen of the Night Claire de Sévigné* 
Papageno Levi Hernandez 
Monostatos Matthew DiBattista 
Speaker / Priest Andrew Kroes* 
Papagena Katrina Galka†     
Three Ladies  Raquel González*† 
 Summer Hassan*† 
 Corrie Stallings*† 
Three Spirits  Emily Tweedy*† 
 Gillian Lynn Cotter*† 
 Fleur Barron*†  
Two Armed Men Frederick Ballentine*†  
 Zachary Owen†

 * Debut Artist     -    Current Gerdine Young Artist   -  ⁰ Former Gerdine Young Artist

Made possible with a leadership gift from Mrs. Walter F. Brissenden and by lead corporate sponsor

Centene Charitable Foundation. Special thanks to major production sponsor Engelhardt Family

Foundation and to production underwriter Ameren.

 

Donizetti: THE ELIXIR OF LOVE  (1832)

(Seven performances)  May 31; June 4, 6, 8, 12, 21m, 25m

Donizetti’s delicious comedy tells of the lovelorn Nemorino, (sung by tenor René Barbera, 2011 winner of Placido Domingo’s Operalia world opera competition) who believes that a love potion sold by a traveling salesman can help him win the heart of the beautiful Adina. As he waits for its magic to kick in, however, he discovers that Adina has become engaged to his rival, Belcore. James Robinson’s original production will be staged by Jose Maria Condemi, and conducted by Opera Theatre’s music director Stephen Lord, recognized worldwide as a master of this brand of dazzling bel canto opera.

Conductor Stephen Lord
Original Production James Robinson 
Stage Director Jose Maria Condemi 
Costume Designer Martin Pakledinaz 
Lighting Designer Michael Chybowski 
Wig and Makeup Designer     Tom Watson 
Choreographer  Seán Curran  
Chorus Master   Robert Ainsley 
Adina  Susannah Biller* 
Nemorino   René Barbera 
Belcore Tim Mix⁰ 
Dulcamara Patrick Carfizzi 
Giannetta Leela Subramaniam*† 

* Debut Artist     -    Current Gerdine Young Artist   -  ⁰ Former Gerdine Young Artist

The production of The Elixir of Love is made possible in part by production underwriter Enterprise

Bank & Trust.

 

Poulenc: THE DIALOGUES OF THE CARMELITES (1956) (Five performances: June 18, 20, 22, 26, 28)

 

The fourth opera of the season, Poulenc’s long-awaited The Dialogues of the Carmelites, opens on Wednesday, June 18. Some of the company’s most highly regarded singers from past seasons share the stage in this unforgettable opera, which depicts the devastating choice that confronted the sisters in a Carmelite convent during the darkest days of the French Revolution. The production features the return of soprano Christine Brewer, who began her career in the chorus at Opera Theatre before going on to be hailed as one of the BBC’s “top 20 sopranos of the 20th century.” Ward Stare conducts, returning after his 2013 debut with Il tabarro and Pagliacci, and Robin Guarino makes her OTSL debut as director.

ConductorWard Stare 
Stage Director Robin Guarino* 
Set Designer Andrew Lieberman 
Costume Designer Kaye Voyce  
Lighting Designer James F. Ingalls* 
Wig and Makeup Designer Tom Watson 
Chorus Master Robert Ainsley 
Mme. Lidoine Christine Brewer⁰ 
Blanche de la Force Kelly Kaduce 
Mme. de Croissy Meredith Arwady 
Mother Marie of the Incarnation  Daveda Karanas* 
Marquis de la Force  Troy Cook 
Sister Constance of St. Denis Ashley Emerson⁰ 
The Father Confessor Kyle Erdos-Knapp 
Sister Mathilde Stephanie Sanchez*† 
Jailer  Erik Van Heyningen*† 
Mother Jeanne of the Child Jesus Sofia Selowsky*†  
M. Javelinot  Zachary Owen†  

 

* Debut Artist     -    Current Gerdine Young Artist   -  ⁰ Former Gerdine Young Artist

The production of The 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 2014 season, Opera Theatre will have presented 24 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 singers 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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