Soprano Laura Wilde Announced as the 6th Winner of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’s Mabel Dorn Reeder Foundation Prize

This $10,000 career grant provides support for continued artistic and professional development. Ms. Wilde will return to the OTSL stage in 2020 opposite Russell Thomas and Roland Wood in an all-new production of Peter Grimes.”

Opera Theatre of Saint Louis general director Timothy O’Leary announced today at a luncheon at the Sally S. Levy Opera Center in St. Louis that soprano Laura Wilde has won the 2018 Mabel Dorn Reeder Foundation Prize.  The prize recognizes extraordinary artistic potential in early-career artists and provides support for the recipient’s continued artistic and professional development.  Laura Wilde will receive a $10,000 award that may be applied to expenses to further her artistic and professional growth. Ms. Wilde is the sixth Opera Theatre singer to receive the grant.  Previous winners are soprano Corinne Winters in 2011, bass-baritone Aubrey Allicock in 2013, tenor René Barbera in 2015, soprano Sydney Mancasola in 2016, and soprano Andriana Chuchman in 2017. All previous winners have continued on to prestigious international careers in opera.”

The prize is a key component of The Mabel Dorn Reeder Foundation Young Artist Education and Development Programs at Opera Theatre, which were named in recognition of a $2 million gift from The Mabel Dorn Reeder Foundation in 2010.  This gift helps endow Opera Theatre’s acclaimed professional development initiatives, which include The Gerdine Young Artist Program, The Richard Gaddes Festival Artist Program, Emerson Behind the Curtain, theAdministrative Internship Program, the graduate study awards for Monsanto Artists-in-Training participants, and several others.”

"My support of this endeavor related to education allows me to continue to improve upon the ways in which I can make a difference in the world and the people around me,” said Dr. Mabel L. Purkerson, who serves as co-trustee of the Mabel Dorn Reeder Foundation.”

“We have been so fortunate to see Laura grow as an artist from her first years here in the Gerdine Young Artist program” said Opera Theatre general director Timothy O’Leary. “Her talents as a musician and actress have only continued to grow, and have led her to an international career as one of the opera world’s most promising young singers. We look forward to her sharing her artistry with audiences worldwide in the future.””

Ms. Wilde, a former Gerdine Young Artist, was most recently seen last season as Vitellia in Mozart’s Titus during the 2017 season. The St. Louis Post Dispatchpraised Wilde as “a force of nature, with a big rich voice that’s perfectly produced.” Opera News called her an “exceptional actress … funny and furious,” and Opera Today touted her as “...highly adept at executing the florid writing and ornamentations … Her dramatic gifts equal her splendid instrument, most especially her deft, subtle comic timing.”

Ms. Wilde’s career is continuing to flourish. Since her appearance this past summer at Opera Theatre, she appeared as Ortlinde in Die Walküre at the Lyric Opera of Chicago this fall. In 2018, she will sing the role of Laura in Der Ring des Polykrates at the Dallas Opera, Freia in Das Rheingold at Arizona Opera, and the Foreign Princess in Rusalka at Des Moines Metro Opera.”

Ms. Wilde will return to OTSL in 2020 as Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes, the title character’s beloved. This all-new production will star Metropolitan Opera favorite Russell Thomas in the title role, making his OTSL debut. Roland Wood will return to OTSL, after performing the title role in 2016’s Macbeth, to sing Balstrode, a friend to both who must grapple with the growing suspicions that surround Grimes’ behavior with his apprentice. The production will be conducted by OTSL Music Director Emeritus Stephen Lord.”

Ms. Wilde made her European debut in 2016 as the title character in Janáček’s Jenůfa at the English National Opera. Other recent engagements also include Anna in Nabucco, Marianne Leitmetzerin in Der Rosenkavalier, and Freia in Das Rhinegold at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Ms. Wilde also sang the role of Micaëla in Carmen at Nashville Opera, and originated the role of Jane Withersteen in the world premiere of Riders of the Purple Sage at Arizona opera, where she spent two seasons as a Marion Roose Pullin Artist in Residence. In 2015, during her tenure at The Ryan Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Ms. Wilde performed on the mainstage as Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly and a Flower Maiden in Parsifal. She also covered Renée Fleming as the Countess inCapriccio and the role of Marta in The Passenger. In 2015, she sang the role of Lucy in the Grant Park Music Festival’s performance of Menotti’s The Telephone, and in 2014 appeared alongside famed mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe in the inaugural Beyond the Aria recital series at Chicago’s Harris Theatre.”

Originally from Watertown, South Dakota, Ms. Wilde attended St. Olaf college, where she received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance. She earned her Master of Music degree from Indiana University. Ms. Wilde began her career at Opera Theatre as a Gerdine Young Artist from 2009 through 2011, during which she sang the roles of Mrs. Segstrom in A Little Night Music and Omar in The Death of Klinghoffer. In 2010, she was a Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Semi-Finalist. She also served as an apprentice artist at The Santa Fe Opera during the 2012 season, and is a recent graduate of The Patrick G. and Shirley W.  Ryan Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.”

Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’s 2018 Season will feature Verdi’s La traviata directed by renowned soprano Patricia Racette, Marc Blitzstein’s Regina starring Susan Graham, James Morris, Susanna Phillips, and Ron Raines, the world premiere of the two-act performing version of An American Soldier by Huang Ruo and David Henry Hwang, Gluck’s Orfeo and Euridice, and the annual young artist showcase concert Center Stage conducted by Stephen Lord. Subscriptions and single tickets can be purchased online, in person at the Loretto-Hilton Center Box Office, or by calling (314) 961-0644.”

About the Mabel Dorn Reeder Foundation

Mabel Dorn Reeder (1908-2007) was committed to creating a better world for future generations by giving financially to worthy causes. From McCormick, South Carolina, she was the daughter of a prominent businessman and state senator. Her privileged background enabled her to attend Greenville Women’s College and pursue graduate studies at Columbia University. “I am her namesake and she was a wonderful role model because she embodied many of the things I thought I’d like to do in life,” explains Mabel L. Purkerson, M.D., Professor Emerita of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Purkerson is co-trustee of the Foundation and makes allocations with great care honoring Ms. Reeder’s passion for music, education, photography, animals, travel, and history.