11 Fun Facts About OTSL's 2019 Season

Enjoying three beloved classics, hearing acclaimed Champion composer Terence Blanchard's new world premiere, and meeting our new General Director Andrew Jorgensen are three great reasons to be excited about Opera Theatre's 44th season. But here are a few additional fun facts that make the upcoming season even more impressive!

  1. Julia Bullock, one of the lead singers in Fire Shut Up in My Bones, began her career with OTSL’s Monsanto Artists-in-Training Program for high school students.
  2. Fire Shut Up in My Bones will reunite Julia Bullock and Davóne Tines after their acclaimed world premiere performances in John Adams’ and Peter Sellars’ Girls of the Golden West.
  3. The principal cast of The Marriage of Figaro features no fewer than six former Gerdine Young Artists! This production will be the perfect example of OTSL’s mission to nurture the talent of the future.
  4. Mark Lamos, the director of The Marriage of Figaro, was a 1991 Tony Award nominee for Best Director. His leadership as Artistic Director of Hartford Stage also led to his company receiving the 1989 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre.
  5. Mozart was only 30 years old when he composed The Marriage of Figaro, and according to many sources, he wrote the entire opera in just six weeks.
  6. As the composer of Rigoletto and many other beloved operas, Verdi was so popular in Italy that when he died, his 1901 funeral service was attended by thousands upon thousands of people. To date, it remains the largest public assembly ever recorded in Italy.
  7. Rigoletto boasts the tune “La donna è mobile,” which is arguably one of the most famous arias of all time. In fact, Verdi was so paranoid that it might be leaked during rehearsals that he refused to give the aria to the tenor until just a few days before the premiere, swearing not just the tenor but all the theater’s staff to absolute secrecy. 
  8. How popular are The Marriage of Figaro and Rigoletto? Across the globe, both operas were among the top ten most performed operas in 2017 and 2018, with more than 500 productions of each!
  9. Emily Fons, who sings the title character in The Coronation of Poppea, was last seen at OTSL as Rosina in The Barber of Seville. She is also an SIU graduate!
  10. Monteverdi (1567-1643) is considered one of the founding fathers of opera. He wrote The Coronation of Poppea in 1642, and it was performed in Venice’s very first opera house.
  11. Although The Coronation of Poppea is one of only a few Monteverdi operas that have survived the centuries intact, the original score actually doesn’t list a full orchestra. Instead, the writing shows just one bass line. All the orchestrations performed today are extrapolations based on that one line!

Feeling inspired to join us for the 2019 season? Subscribe before September 28 to take advantage of special early-bird pricing!