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Opera Theatre to Celebrate the Launch of the Wells Fargo Advisors 2014 Festival Season with the “27” Gala, May 17 at Union Station

Event Honors World Premiere Opera “27,” Set in Early 20th Century Paris

St. Louis, MO, May 6, 2014 – Saturday, May 17,Opera Theatre will launch its 39th festival season with the “27” Gala, at Union Station. The gala will celebrate the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon and Royce Vavrek’s “27,” commissioned by Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as its 24th world premiere and the second installment of the New Works, Bold Voices cycle of new American operas. The opera is inspired by Gertrude Stein and legendary artists and writers Matisse, Cézanne, Picasso, Hemingway, and Man Ray who gathered in her private salon at 27 rue de Fleurus in Paris.

The Grand Hall at historic Union Station will provide the ideal Parisian setting for the cocktail hour with its barrel-vaulted ceiling, gold leaf detailing, and beautiful Tiffany glass windows. A delectable French dinner will be served in the Midway, which will be transformed into Gertrude’s salon, and guests will end the evening with dancing at “Maxim’s,” the legendary Parisian night club. Performances by three Opera Theatre principal artists, soprano Kelly Kaduce, tenor René Barbera, and baritone Levi Hernandez, will be the highlight of this memorable evening. 

The 27” Gala is chaired by Alison Ferring and Susan Sherman. Proceeds from the event benefit Opera Theatre’s professional development programs for emerging artists, as well as the company’s education and community engagement initiatives, which serve more than 11,000 students across the bi-state area each year.

The gala is Opera Theatre’s largest annual fund-raising event, generating nearly 7% of the revenue for the company’s annual operating expenses. Centene Charitable Foundation, Wells Fargo Advisors, and World Wide Technology, Inc. andThe Steward Family Foundation serve as presenting sponsors for the event, with generous support provided by Alison and John Ferring and numerous corporations and individuals throughout the community.

Gala tickets begin at $500, and patrons under 45 may purchase Young Friends tickets for $250. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. For more information, please call (314) 963-4223 or visit

The Wells Fargo Advisors 2014 Festival Season at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis opens on May 24 with an all-new production of Mozart’s beloved masterpiece, The Magic Flute, directed and designed by fashion icon Isaac Mizrahi and conducted by Jane Glover. The season continues with Donizetti’s sparking romantic comedy The Elixir of Love, Poulenc’s powerful and heartbreaking Dialogues of the Carmelites, and the world premiere of “27.” Subscriptions start for as little as $79, and single tickets begin at $25, with special pricing available for as little as $15 for students and active members of the military. For more information, visit

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 close 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 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 2014 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.