$10,000 grant provides support for continued artistic and professional development
St. Louis, MO, February 15, 2017 – 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 Andriana Chuchman has won the 2017 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. Andriana Chuchman will receive a $10,000 award that may be applied to expenses to further her artistic and professional growth. Ms. Chuchman is the fifth 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, and soprano Sydney Mancasola in 2016. All previous winners have gone forward to enjoy meaningful growth in their careers since receiving the award.
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, the Administrative Internship Program, the graduate study awards for Monsanto Artists-in-Training participants, and several others.
Mabel Purkerson, a trustee of the Mabel Dorn Reeder Foundation and an Opera Theatre board member commented, “It has been a pleasure to watch the careers of these young artists blossom, in part as a result of this award. We are honored to play a small role in helping these talented singers achieve great success. I cannot wait to see the new milestones in Andriana’s career in the years ahead – and her return to the OTSL stage.”
“Andriana was the unanimous choice of the awards committee,” said Opera Theatre general director Timothy O’Leary. “She is a gifted singer and actress, and in Shalimar the Clown her performance transformed audiences each night. We look forward to a bright future for her on operatic stages across the world.”
Ms. Chuchman is familiar to Opera Theatre audiences for singing the double role of Boonyi Kaul and India Ophuls in the critically acclaimed world premiere of Jack Perla and Rajiv Joseph’s Shalimar the Clown, adapted from the award-winning novel by Salman Rushdie, during OTSL’s 2016 Festival Season. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch lauded the Canadian soprano for her “voice of brilliance and flexibility, with a beautiful face and person to watch.” “She turned in a bravura performance,” praised The New York Times, “her dancing as beautiful and idiomatic as her singing.” Opera Today said she “possesses a full lyric soprano with admirable control, capable of serene beauty, wily insinuation, powerful dramatic statement, and heart-rending pathos… She does not so much perform the difficult role of Boonyi as inhabit it.”
Ms. Chuchman boasts an impressive performance history. Since her OTSL debut in Shalimar the Clown in 2016, Ms. Chuchman has made two stunning appearances, singing Magnolia in Show Boat for Dallas Opera and Pat Nixon in Nixon in China in her debut at Houston Grand Opera. Her roles at New York’s Metropolitan Opera include Adina in L'Elisir d'amore, Miranda in The Enchanted Island, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, and Valencienne in The Merry Widow.
Other recent opera engagements have included Micaëla in La tragédie de Carmen at the San Diego Opera, Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi at the Los Angeles Opera, Gretel on the Glyndebourne Festival Tour, Magnolia in Show Boat at the Washington National Opera, Olympia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann at Canadian Opera Company, Kumudha in John Adams' A Flowering Tree at Opera Omaha, Guinevere in Camelot at the Glimmerglass Festival, both Cleopatra in Guilio Cesare and staged performances of Orff's Carmina Burana at the Michigan Opera Theater, Minka in Le roi malgré lui at the Bard Music Festival, the title role in Flora, an Opera, Irma in Louise at the Spoleto Festival USA, and both Alinda in Giasone and Dorinda in Orlando at the Chicago Opera Theater.
In concert, Ms. Chuchman has appeared with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in performances of the Brahms Requiem, the Ravinia Festival as a guest on Minnesota Public Radio’s “A Prairie Home Companion” radio show, and with the International Music Foundation of Chicago in performances of Handel's Messiah. In Canada, concert performances have included engagements with the Toronto Symphony and Prince George Symphony.
Ms. Chuchman is a graduate of the Ryan Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and a member of the Merola Program at San Francisco Opera. Born in Winnipeg, she received her bachelor's degree in voice performance from the School of Music at the University of Manitoba. She was a prizewinner at the finals of the 2009 Neue Stimmen competition in Germany, and received a Sullivan Foundation Encouragement Award in 2007. In a 2010 interview, Chicago Magazine referred to Chuchman as “a star about to go supernova,” saying, “her crystalline voice and striking Ukrainian looks — both her parents are from Ukraine — completely upstaged her costars.”
Opera Theatre’s 2017 Festival Season runs from May 20 – June 25, and features Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, the American premiere of Philip Glass and Christopher Hampton’s The Trial, the premiere of a new performing version of Ricky Ian Gordon and Michael Korie’s The Grapes of Wrath, Mozart’s Titus (La clemenza di Tito), and the annual Center Stage showcase concert by Gerdine Young Artists. Subscriptions for the 2017 Festival Season are now available, with single tickets going on sale February 27, 2017. For more information, visit ExperienceOpera.org or call the box office at (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.
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 2016 Festival Season, Opera Theatre has presented 25 world premieres and 26 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 Christine Brewer, Susan Graham, Nathan Gunn, Patricia Racette, Thomas Hampson, Jerry Hadley, Dawn Upshaw, Matthew Polenzani, Sylvia McNair, Erie Mills, Dwayne Croft, Kelly Kaduce, and Lawrence Brownlee. 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, with audience building programs supported by The Wallace Foundation.
Generous leadership support for the services of the St. Louis Symphony is provided by Jack C. Taylor and the Taylor family.