Five Fun Facts About OTSL's 2018 Season

1. St. Louis Native Plays Title Role in Orfeo

The leading role of Orfeo, the love-struck shepherd from ancient mythology, will be sung by none other than St. Louis native Jennifer Johnson Cano. Jennifer is actually an alumna of our popular Spring Training camp for teens!

After completing her education, Jennifer made her professional operatic debut with OTSL in Street Scene (2006). She then went on to join the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Met, and made her Met debut in the 2009-10 season. Today, she performs across the world, including at Carnegie Hall, Boston Lyric Opera, the New York Philharmonic, and the London Symphony Orchestra. We cannot wait to welcome her home next spring!

2. Regina Based on Tony-Nominated Play

This opera first opened on Broadway in 1949, but its theatrical history goes back even farther. The libretto is actually based on Lillian Hellman’s 1939 play, The Little Foxes, which was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play last June.

Produced by Manhattan Theatre Club, the Tony revival featured two leading ladies, Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon. Incredibly enough, these two women swapped roles every night. While the casting in OTSL’s production of Regina doesn’t feature the same rate of turnover, it is just as star-studded by opera comparisons. The title role will be played by the Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano Susan Graham. Susan will be joined by two of American opera’s leading men: bass-baritone James Morris and tenor Ron Raines.

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3. Star Soprano Patricia Racette Makes Her Directing Debut

Patricia Racette is an internationally renowned soprano who has performed on the world’s largest stages. With our production of La traviata, she will take on a new role: stage director. Verdi’s classic romance is sure to get a star treatment in her hands!

Patricia has been featured across the world, from the San Francisco Opera and Metroplitan Opera to the Vienna State Opera and La Scala. She won the prestigious Richard Tucker Award in 1998, but Patricia’s connection to Opera Theatre dates back to the earliest days of her career. She first appeared here in 1993, just five years after her professional debut, and played the role of Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni.

Patricia still maintains a busy performing schedule, but is enthusiastic to embrace her first opera as a stage director. “For me, La traviata in its purest form is a story encompassing the tumults of love marked by beauty, passion, and sacrifice alongside the ever-present struggle to maintain honor and true nobility of character,” she shares. “I so look forward to collaborating and discovering what each of these talented young singers has to say as they reveal their unique imprints on this indelible and timeless story.”

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4. OTSL Presents its 27th World Premiere

An American Soldier marks the 27th world premiere in our company’s 43-year history. OTSL continues to have one of the highest rates of world premieres of any American opera company!

This opera is based on the true story of Private Danny Chen of the US Army. The artistic team is led by renowned Chinese composer Huang Ruo and famed Chinese-American playwright/librettist David Henry Hwang. This opera is part of OTSL’s New Works, Bold Voices series, which emphasizes the creation of American works that tell compelling, modern stories for a 21st century audience.

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5. The Opera World Travels to St. Louis

In 2018, Opera Theatre is hosting OPERA America’s national conference! Members from North American opera companies will all be traveling to St. Louis during the last week of our season for industry panels, roundtables, and, of course, OTSL’s spring season.

This conference is an important hub for learning and networking among the opera community. Previous conference themes have centered on issues such as diversity, technology, collaboration, civic impact, etc. While conference visitors usually travel from opera companies, individuals are also allowed to register for special guest passes! Visit OPERA America’s website in Spring 2018 for more information about how to participate.

The 2018 Opera Conference takes place in St. Louis June 20–23.

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