Opera Theatre's Artists-in-Training Program continues with the partnership of Bayer Fund

Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’ Monsanto Artists-in-Training Program, recognized as a flagship arts education program in the U.S. for more than 29 years, will be renamed the Bayer Fund Artists-in-Training Program in recognition of the company’s generous investment. Since its inception in 1990, Monsanto Fund has provided support for the Artists-in-Training Program, with more than $500,000 in scholarships awarded to over 240 students. It has helped launch the careers of celebrated singers, including Julia BullockJermaine Smith, and Derrell Acon. Opera Theatre gratefully acknowledges Monsanto Fund for its visionary and steadfast investment in the Artists-in-Training Program and is honored to now partner with Bayer Fund, which has provided leadership support to continue this important work.

“Bayer Fund is honored to continue the many years of ongoing support for the Artists-in-Training Program,” said Al Mitchell, Bayer’s Vice President of Community Engagement. “This program has positively impacted the lives of a large number of St. Louis students, and we look forward to seeing this success continue.”

“We are so grateful for the support Monsanto Fund has provided over the past 29 years,” said Opera Theatre of Saint Louis General Director Andrew Jorgensen. “I look forward to continuing the work of identifying and nurturing rising artists in the St. Louis community in partnership with Bayer Fund.”

The Annual Spring Recital for Bayer Fund Artists-in-Training will be held on Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. at the Sheldon Concert Hall, 3648 Washington Boulevard. This event is the culmination program of a year’s study for these talented young singers, and approximately $12,000 in scholarships will be awarded based on their performances.

The 2019 Bayer Fund Artists-in-Training Program provides year-long college-level vocal training to 24 high school students from across the St. Louis region, as well as week-long master classes with major artists from across the country. In the week leading up to the recital, these students will train with internationally renowned bass Morris Robinson.

Morris Robinson is considered one of the most interesting and sought-after basses performing today. Mr. Robinson regularly appears at the Metropolitan Opera, where he is a graduate of the Lindemann Young Artist Program. He made his debut there in a production of Fidelio and has since appeared as Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, Ferrando in Il Trovatore, the King in Aida, and in roles in Nabucco, Tannhäuser, Les Troyens, and Salome. He has also appeared at such prestigious venues as the San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Teatro alla Scala, among others.

Established in 1990, Opera Theatre’s Bayer Fund Artists-in-Training Program sets out to identify, coach, and encourage talented students from high schools across the St. Louis area with weekly voice lessons by opera professionals at one of the four area universities. The year-long program also offers master classes with visiting artists, awards more than $25,000 annually in scholarships, provides college tours of vocal programs from select universities and conservatories, and offers college guidance to high school graduates. The Bayer Fund Artists-in-Training Program has been recognized by the President’s Committee for the Arts and the Humanities as one of ten model U.S. programs for at-risk youth.