Program to visit twenty schools, with public performances in St. Louis and Washington, MO
St. Louis, MO, October 8, 2014 – From October 18 through October 31, Opera on the GO!, OTSL’s education touring production for students in grades 3-12, takes opera off the stage and into schools with workshops and presentations that integrate live performance, video design, costume design, and beloved music from opera. Opera on the GO! is developed by the Opera Theatre artistic and education departments, and features members of OTSL’s Gerdine Young ArtistsProgram, now beginning its 25th year. This year’s program focuses on Gilbert & Sullivan’s comic operetta The Pirates of Penzance, which was last seen in an internationally acclaimed production during the Wells Fargo Advisors 2013 Festival Season, receiving the accolade “Operetta of the Year” from Opera Now magazine. Opera on the GO! will travel to 20 schools throughout the region, including those in the Jennings, Ferguson/Florissant, Pattonville, and St. Louis Public School districts. There will be two opportunities for the public to experience this interactive program, on October 18 in St. Louis and on October 25 in Washington, Missouri.
In two hours, students learn about the process of creating an opera through three thirty-minute workshops on characters and music, opera and comedy, and stage make-up. A condensed version of the opera is performed during the final half-hour, which includes cameo appearances made by students who participated in the workshops. This year’s productionis directed by Doug Scholz-Carlson, who returns to Opera Theatre after directing the 2013 children’s opera The Very Last Green Thing. The production is conducted by Gail Hintz, who has previously served for over twenty years as OTSL’s Monsanto Artists-in-Training Program Coordinator. The five current or former Gerdine Young Artists who perform in this year’s program are Jessica Harika (Ruth), Kyle Erdos-Knapp (Major General Stanley), Rob Mellon (Pirate King), Liz Sutphen(Mabel), and Spencer Viator (Frederic).
During the workshops, students are invited to ask questions and are even used as demonstrators, creating a deeper understanding about the universal appeal and connection that opera has to the history of modern arts and culture. In this way, Opera on the GO! “does away with stereotypes of what we might think opera is and defines it in a way that is very relatable,” says Allison Felter, Director of Education and Community Engagement for Opera Theatre. Since Opera Theatre began Opera on the GO! in 2005, the program has toured to 90 schools, reaching over 13,000 children in the metropolitan region. An additional 2,100 students will experience the program in 2014.
For the first time this year, Opera Theatre also offers two opportunities for the public to experience this unique program outside of the classroom setting. A free dress rehearsal is offered on Saturday October 18 at 11 a.m. at the Sally S. Levy Opera Center. For tickets, call the Opera Theatre box office at (314) 961-0644. On Saturday October 25, Opera on the Go!travels to Washington, Missouri to present the workshops and performance at St. Francis Borgia School as part of the Washington Fall Festival of Arts and Crafts, through support from the Arts Council of Washington. Pre-performance workshops begin at 2 p.m., with the performance to follow at 3:30 p.m. Those participating will meet at 1:45 p.m. in the grade school gym, located at 225 Cedar Street, Washington, Missouri 63090. Tickets for children who are participating in the workshops and seeing the show are $10. Admission to the performance alone is $5. Children must be registered to participate in workshops by October 24. For more information, call (636) 239-1743.
Opera on the Go! is made possible with leadership support from the Fred M. Saigh Endowment at Opera Theatre and with a generous grant from Monsanto Fund.
Special thanks to Pi Beta Phi/Sign of the Arrow.
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. As of 2014, Opera Theatre has presented 24 world premieres and 23 American premieres – which may be one of the highest percentages of new work in the repertory of any U.S. company. Described by The Sunday Timesof 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, Lawrence Brownlee, Jamie Barton, Corinne Winters, Anthony Dean Griffey, and Christine Goerke. 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 the late Colin Graham. For more information, visit ExperienceOpera.org.
Opera Theatre gratefully acknowledges 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.