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Tent Talks

Opera Theatre St. Louis Event Image
  • May 1 – June 26
  • Times vary
  • Facebook Live
  • Free


Tent Talks

Have you ever wondered what it takes to produce a festival opera season? Dive into the process of artistic creation in OTSL's newest online series: Tent Talks! Hosted by Damon Bristo, Opera Theatre's Director of Artistic Administration, each episode of Tent Talks features acclaimed singers, musicians, and creatives from the operatic world. Watch along on Facebook Live every Friday, and submit your own questions for our artists to answer in real-time!

Please note that weekly guests are subject to change.

May 1, 2:30 p.m. CT: Ricky Ian Gordon, Composer

Opera Theatre speaks with composer Ricky Ian Gordon about his 2014 world premiere of "27" as well as other operas including The Grapes of WrathEllen West, and Intimate Apparel.

May 8, 4 p.m. CT: Leonard Slatkin, Conductor

Opera Theatre interviews beloved conductor Leonard Slatkin, who led the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra from 1979–1996, conducted our 1979 production of Strauss' Ariadne on Naxos, and has garnered six Grammy Awards and 34 nominations. Join us at 4 p.m. CT on Friday, May 8 for a conversation with this prolific musician and ask Maestro Slatkin your questions in real time.

Friday, May 15, 4 p.m. CT: Christine Brewer & Erie Mills

Two iconic American sopranos, one Tent Talk! Christine Brewer and Erie Mills both launched their careers at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis before going on to acclaimed international careers. From Christine's dramatic portrayal of Madame Lidoine in The Dialogue of the Carmelites (2014) to Erie's gripping performance as Miss Havisham in Miss Havisham's Fire (2001), both have proven their skill not just as singers, but as great actresses of the stage. Learn more about their stories in this week's installment of Tent Talks.

Friday, May 22, 4 p.m. CT: "Mezzo Fest" with Susan Graham and Denyce Graves

The fourth installment of Tent Talks features two internationally renowned mezzo-sopranos: Susan Graham and Denyce Graves. Both have appeared at OTSL in previous years (Regina, 2018 and Champion, 2013 respectively) but their careers have taken them all over the world. Dig into the details and ask them your own questions!

Friday, May 29, 4 p.m. CT: Marin Alsop & Carolyn Kuan

Artistic Director James Robinson moderates this conversation with two of the leading conductors of our era: Marin Alsop (music director, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; chief conductor, Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra) and Carolyn Kuan (music director, Hartford Symphony Orchestra). Join us for a lively conversation about their careers and experiences.

Friday, June 5 at 4 p.m. CT: Jamie Barton, Mezzo-Soprano

Since winning both First and Song Prizes at the 2013 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton has established herself as a major dramatic talent on both sides of the Atlantic. Hear about Jamie's story in this relatable, humorous episode of Tent Talks!

Friday, June 12 at 4 p.m. CT: Nicole Freber and Karen Slack

Learn more about the opportunities and obstacles for women in the opera industry in this frank conversation with Managing Director of Advancement Nicole Freber and soprano Karen Slack. As two of the new co-chairs for the national Women's Opera Network, Nicole and Karen bring expert insights to women's issues in opera, both on stage and off.

Friday, June 19 at 4 p.m. CT: Gerdine Young Artists Angel Azzarra, Ganson Salmon, and Jasmin White

In our penultimate episode, Damon Bristo leads a roundtable discussion with three members of the 2020 Gerdine Young Artists Program: soprano Angel Azzarra, tenor Ganson Salmon, and soprano Jasmin White. They will share what it means to be a young artist in the 21st century, as well as where they see opera going in the future. 

Friday, June 26 at 4 p.m. CT: Terence Blanchard, Composer

Grammy Award-winning musician and acclaimed composer Terence Blanchard joins us for the final Tent Talks of the digital festival! Hear him relive the creations of his two smash hit operas Champion and Fire Shut Up in My Bones, and learn more about what this prolific artist is working on these days.