St. Louis, MO, January 11, 2018 — Opera Theatre of Saint Louis presents the Annual Winter Recital for its Monsanto Artists-in-Training (AIT) vocal program on Sunday, January 14 at 3:00 p.m. at Graham Chapel on the Washington University Campus. The event is free and open to the public.
Internationally acclaimed Bass-baritone, Kevin Short, will join OTSL’s AIT students for a 10-day residency, which includes one-on-one voice lessons and three master class events. The residency will culminate in the winter recital, which will feature 23 of the high school students in the program. Mr. Short has been thrilling audiences around the globe in a wide range of repertoire ranging from Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail to John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles. Short has been a favorite on opera and concert stages alike, including Opera Theatre of Saint Louis where he last performed in Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet (2005). Short now serves on the faculty of University of Maryland.
Opera Theatre’s Director of Education and Community Engagement who manages the AIT program says, “Visiting artist Kevin Short is among the most gifted and prominent singers of our day, and to have him work with our students is beyond inspiring. This residency can easily influence the trajectory of a young singer’s future.”
Established in 1990, Opera Theatre’s Monsanto 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 Monsanto Artists-in-Training program has been recognized by the President’s Committee for the Arts and the Humanities as one of ten model US programs for at-risk youth.
Notable alumni include soprano Julia Bullock, who performed a solo recital at the Sheldon earlier this year on March 30, won the 2014 Naumburg International Vocal Competition, and recently originated the role of Dame Shirley in the world premiere of John Adams’ Girls of the Golden West at San Francisco Opera; bass-baritone and 2014 Fulbright Scholar Derell Acon; tenor Jermaine Smith, who has performed in Porgy and Bess world-wide; critically acclaimed New York cabaret singer Jennifer Sheehan; and rising opera stage director Alison Moritz.
About Monsanto Fund
The Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of the Monsanto Company, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the communities where farmers and Monsanto Company employees live and work. Visit the Monsanto Fund at www.monsantofund.org.
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 its 2017 Festival Season, Opera Theatre has presented 26 world premieres and 27 American premieres — which may be the highest percentage of new work in the repertory of any U.S. company. Described by the Sunday Times of 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 Erie Mills, Jerry Hadley, Christine Brewer, Thomas Hampson, Sylvia McNair, Dawn Upshaw, Susan Graham, Dwayne Croft, Patricia Racette, Matthew Polenzani, Nathan Gunn, Lawrence Brownlee, Kelly Kaduce, and Jennifer Johnson Cano. 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.
Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is funded in part by the Regional Arts Commission, Arts and Education Council, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Missouri Arts Council.
Generous leadership support for the services of the St. Louis Symphony is provided by the Taylor family and the late Jack C. Taylor.