Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Announces Productions and Final Casting for the 2018 Festival Season

The 2018 Festival Season includes the world premiere of the two-act version of Huang Ruo and David Henry Hwang’s An American Soldier; a new production of Verdi’s La traviata directed by acclaimed soprano Patricia Racette; Marc Blitzstein’s Regina starring Susan Graham, James Morris, Susanna Phillips and Ron Raines; and Gluck’s Orfeo & Euridice. 

Single tickets are now on sale for all performances. 

St. Louis, MO, February 6, 2018 — Opera Theatre of Saint Louis General Director Timothy O’Leary has announced the repertory and full casting for the 2018 Festival Season. The 43rd season will present its 27th world premiere this season with Huang Ruo and David Henry Hwang’s An American Soldier. Celebrated mezzo-soprano Susan Graham will star as the title character in Marc Blitzstein’s Regina, also featuring James Morris, Susanna Phillips, and Ron Raines. Renowned soprano Patricia Racette will direct a new production of Verdi’s La traviata, and a new production of Gluck’s Orfeo & Euridice will feature a collaboration with St. Louis-based The Big Muddy Dance Company. The season will also include the fourth annual Center Stage concert, conducted by Music Director Emeritus Stephen Lord, showcasing the talents of OTSL’s Gaddes Festival Artists and Gerdine Young Artists. In addition, during the final week of the season, Opera Theatre will also host the 2018 National Opera Conference, which will bring hundreds of leaders from across the international opera community to St. Louis to discuss innovations, issues, and opportunities in the field of opera today. Opera Theatre’s 2018 Festival Season begins on Saturday, May 19 and continues through Sunday, June 24. 

Full cast and creative teams for the 2018 Festival Season continue on the following pages.


*Debut artist Former Young Artist Gaddes Festival Artist +Gerdine Young Artist 


Giuseppe Verdi (1853) 

Conductor: Christopher Allen 

Stage Director: Patricia Racette 

Eight Performances: May 19, 25, 30, June 2 (m), 7, 10, 20 (m), 23 

Violetta: Sydney Mancasola○ 

Alfredo: Geoffrey Agpalo○ 

Germont: Joo Won Kang* 

Flora: Briana Hunter

Set Designer: Laura Jellinek 

Costume Designer: Kaye Voyce 

Lighting Designer: Christopher Akerlind 

Wig & Makeup Designer: Tom Watson 

Choreographer: Séan Curran 

Chorus Master: Cary John Franklin 

Violetta has one important rule: never fall in love. As a Parisian courtesan, her life is full of parties, admirers and – most importantly – freedom. Then she meets Alfredo. His naïve sincerity sweeps her off her feet. Just when Violetta thinks she has escaped her past, she is asked to make an unthinkable sacrifice. Will pride, love, or honor prevail? 

Soprano Sydney Mancasola, who was described as “radiant and glittering” by Opera News, takes on the role of Violetta. Geoffrey Agpalo, whose “…big, beautiful tenor” was praised by The St. Louis Post-Dispatch during his performance of Jim Casy in The Grapes of Wrath, will portray her lover, Alfredo. Baritone Joo Won Kang makes his OTSL debut as Germont. 

Major production sponsorship is provided by the William T. Kemper Foundation – Commerce Bank Trustee and The Commerce Trust Company


Marc Blitzstein (1949) 

Conductor: Stephen Lord 

Stage Director: James Robinson 

Seven Performances: May 26, 31, June 6 (m), 8, 16 (m), 20, 24 

Regina Giddens: Susan Graham 

Ben Hubbard: James Morris* 

Oscar Hubbard: Ron Raines 

Birdie Hubbard: Susanna Phillips* 

Alexandra (Zan) Giddens: Monica Dewey○

Horace Giddens: Kristopher Irmiter* 

Leo Hubbard: Michael Day○ 

Addie: Melody Wilson○ 

Cal: Justin Austin○ 

Jazz: Chaz’men Williams-Ali♦ 

Set Designer: Allen Moyer Costume Designer: James Schuette 

Sound Designer: Michael Hooker 

Lighting Designer: Christopher Akerlind 

Wig & Makeup Designer: Tom Watson 

Choreographer: Séan Curran 

Chorus Master: Cary John Franklin 

Dialect Coach: Stephen Gabis 

Theft. Blackmail. Murder. Is there nothing that Regina Giddens won’t do to satisfy her ambition? Based on Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes, and set against a Southern backdrop of spirituals, jazz, and ragtime, this deliciously twisted opera pits siblings and spouses against each other in a battle for the family business. 

Regina assembles a star-studded cast, led by Susan Graham, hailed by Gramophone magazine as “America’s favorite mezzo.” She is joined by soprano Susanna Phillips, with acclaimed bass-baritone James Morris and baritone Ron Raines playing her brothers, Ben and Oscar. 

Made possible with leadership gifts from Centene Charitable Foundation, Mrs. Walter F. Brissenden, and Sally S. Levy & Family. This performance is funded in part by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, Inc., New York, NY. 


World Premiere of the New Two-Act Opera 

Huang Ruo and David Henry Hwang (2018) 

Conductor: Michael Christie 

Stage Director: Matthew Ozawa 

Co-Director/Dramaturg: James Robinson 

Six Performances: June 3, 6, 9 (m), 14, 16, 22 

Pvt. Danny Chen: Andrew Stenson* 

Mother Chen: Mika Shigematsu* 

Josephine Young: Kathleen Kim* 

Sgt. Aaron Marcum: Wayne Tigges 

Military Judge: Nathan Stark* 

Pvt. Manny Davis/Pvt. Washington: Babatunde Akinboboye* 

Pvt. Sonia Gonzalez: Andrea Nuñez

Pvt. Stanton: Briana Hunter+

Set Designer: Andrew Boyce* 

Costume Designer: Gregory Gale 

Videography Designer: Greg Emetaz 

Lighting Designer: Christopher Akerlind 

Wig & Makeup Designer: Tom Watson 

Choreographer: Séan Curran 

Chorus Master: Cary John Franklin 

Danny Chen is the son of Chinese immigrants, and a proud American. He enlists in the US Army in 2011, eager to serve his country. In boot camp, Danny is welcomed by his band of brothers. But in Afghanistan, his own base becomes enemy territory as military hazing turns deadly. Based on a true story, this opera asks powerful questions about what it means to be an American. 

Composer Huang Ruo has been lauded by The New Yorker as “one of the world’s leading young composers.” His diverse compositional work ranges from orchestral music, chamber music, opera, theater, and dance to cross-genre, sound installation, multi-media, experimental improvisation, folk rock, and film. He is joined by celebrated playwright and librettist David Henry Hwang, acclaimed by TIME as “the first important dramatist of American public life since Arthur Miller.” 

Made possible in part by the Fred M. Saigh Endowment at Opera Theatre and by the Sally S. Levy Family Fund for New Works, which provides support for contemporary opera and related community engagement activities. 

Leadership support comes from the Whitaker Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Berges Family Foundation, and the Ferring Family Foundation, with an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, and with production underwriting from Clayco, Inc

Orfeo & Euridice 

Christoph Willibald Gluck (1866) 

Translation: Amanda Holden 

In Collaboration with The Big Muddy Dance Company 

Conductor: Pierre Vallet* 

Stage Director: Ron Daniels 

Choreographer: Katarzyna Skarpetowska 

Six Performances: June 9, 13, 15, 17, 21, 23 (m) 

Orfeo: Jennifer Johnson Cano○ 

Euridice: Andriana Chuchman 

Amore: Maria Valdes* 

The Big Muddy Dance Company: Geoffrey Alexander* 

CJ Burroughs* 

Karina Cardella* 

Dustin Crumbaugh* 

Brandon Fink* 

Mallory Hensel* 

Thomas Jacobson* 

Zoe Lindner* 

Miranda Payne* 

Robert Poe* 

Ellen Reed*