Opera Theatre of Saint Louis announces the repertory and full casting for the 2019 Festival Season. The 44 th season will feature the company’s 28 th world premiere with Terence Blanchard and Kasi Lemmons’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones, based on the best-selling memoir by New York Times columnist Charles Blow. New productions of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Verdi’s Rigoletto, and Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppea will be presented. The season will also include the fifth annual Center Stage concert, conducted by Music Director Emeritus Stephen Lord, showcasing the talents of OTSL’s Gaddes Festival Artists and Gerdine Young Artists.
Opera Theatre’s 2019 Festival Season begins on Saturday, May 25 and continues through Sunday, June 30. Subscriptions and single tickets can be purchased online, in person at the Loretto-Hilton Box Office, or by calling (314) 961-0644. Full cast and creative teams for the 2019 Festival Season continues on the following pages.
THE 2019 REPERTORY *Debut artist ○Former Young Artist ♦Richard Gaddes Festival Artist +Gerdine Young Artist
The Marriage of Figaro Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1786)
Translation: Andrew Porter Conductor: Christopher Allen Stage Director: Mark Lamos Eight Performances: May 25, 31, June 6, 8 (m), 12, 16, 19 (m), 29 Count Almaviva: Theo Hoffman○ Countess Almaviva: Susannah Biller Figaro: Aubrey Allicock○ Susanna: Monica Dewey○ Cherubino: Samantha Gossard○ Dr. Bartolo: Nathan Stark Marcellina: MaryAnn McCormick○ Don Basilio: John McVeigh○ Antonio: Philip Lopez○♦ Barbarina: Elena Villalón*+ Don Curzio: Calvet Young*+ Set Designer: Paul Steinberg Costume Designer: Constance Hoffman Lighting Designer: Christopher Akerlind Wig & Makeup Designer: Tom Watson Choreographer: Séan Curran Chorus Master: Cary John Franklin
Life at court is about to get complicated. The maid Susanna is determined to wed her fiancé, Figaro, while the Count is equally determined to add her to his list of conquests. But Susanna and Figaro won’t allow one self-entitled nobleman to ruin their happy ending! They each hatch their own plots to teach their master a lesson. What follows is a whirlwind day of romantic intrigue, cunning schemes, and uproarious fun. One of Mozart’s most beloved masterpieces, The Marriage of Figaro reminds us all that love will always prevail, and forgiveness is always within reach. Made possible with a leadership gift from Lelia & David Farr and with production underwriting from Mabel L. Purkerson, M.D.
Rigoletto Giuseppe Verdi (1851) Translation: James Fenton Conductor: Roberto Kalb Stage Director: Bruno Ravella Seven Performances: June 1, 5, 14, 20, 22 (m), 26 (m), 30 Duke: Joshua Wheeker○ Rigoletto: Roland Wood Gilda: So Young Park○ Monterone: Nicholas Newton* Sparafucile: Christian Zaremba* Maddalena: Lindsay Ammann○ Set Designer: Alex Eales Costume Designer: Mark Bouman Lighting Designer: Christopher Akerlind Wig & Makeup Designer: Tom Watson Choreographer: Séan Curran Chorus Master: Cary John Franklin There is no purer love than that of a father for his daughter — and no more impossible task than protecting her from the world. Rigoletto is a bitter court jester who serves the Duke, a lecherous womanizer. Together, they are despised throughout the city. But alone, Rigoletto is all tenderness when it comes to his innocent young daughter, Gilda. Little does he know that an ominous curse is about to take its toll. When the Duke seduces Gilda, only to then abandon her, the enraged father swears vengeance.
Set to some of Verdi’s most powerful music, this tale of innocence lost is wrenchingly poignant and all too human. Rigoletto is made possible with leadership gifts from Phyllis Brissenden and Sally S. Levy Family.
The Coronation of Poppea Claudio Monteverdi (1624)
Translation: Tim Albery & Laurence Cummings Conductor: Nicholas Kok* Stage Director: Tim Albery* Six Performances: June 9, 13, 15 (m), 22, 26, 28 Poppea: Emily Fons Nerone: Brenton Ryan Ottone: Tom Scott-Cowell* Ottavia: Sarah Mesko* Seneca: David Pittsinger Arnalta: Patricia Schuman Drusilla: Devon Guthrie Virtù: Jennifer Aylmer Theorbo: Daniel Swenberg, Andrew Maginley Viola da Gamba & Lirone: Joshua Keller Baroque Harp: Christa Patton Set/Costume Designer: Hannah Clark* Lighting Designer: Christopher Akerlind Wig & Makeup Designer: Tom Watson Choreographer: Séan Curran Chorus Master: Cary John Franklin The fight for the throne is never dignified. Poppea will stop at nothing to become Empress, no matter who she has to blackmail, betray, or kill. And Emperor Nerone, who is infatuated with Poppea, is not thinking with his head. Separately, they’re bad enough. Together, they will turn Rome upside down. Sexy, bloodthirsty, and unapologetic, this opera is the best kind of political thriller. Fire Shut Up in My Bones World Premiere Terence Blanchard and Kasi Lemmons (2018) Co-Comissioned with Jazz St. Louis Conductor: William Long Stage Director: James Robinson Six Performances: June 15, 19, 21, 23, 27, 29 (m) Destiny/Loneliness/Greta: Julia Bullock* Mother: Karen Slack* Charles Blow: Davóne Tines* Spinner: Chaz’men Williams-Ali○ Ruby: Rehanna Thelwell+ Verna: Katerina Burton+ Bertha: Tesia Kwarteng+ Foreman/Pastor: Leroy Y. Davis+ Set Designer: Allen Moyer Costume Designer: James Schutte Video Projection Designer: Greg Emetaz Lighting Designer: Christopher Akerlind Wig & Makeup Designer: Tom Watson Choreographer: Séan Curran Chorus Master: Cary John Franklin
One moment can change everything. When Charles discovers that his cousin has returned to his Louisiana hometown, he races home from college to confront his past. Memories and shadows surround Charles as he strives to move beyond a cycle of violence and forge a brave new path. Terence Blanchard, composer of OTSL’s hit Champion, teams up with screenwriter Kasi Lemmons (Eve’s Bayou) for a haunting, powerful, and tender coming-of-age story inspired by a memoir celebrated as “stunning” (Essence), “riveting” (Chicago Tribune), and “exquisite” (The New York Times). Casting of several additional roles in Fire Shut Up in My Bones will be finalized by April 2019. Made possible in part by the Fred M. Saigh Endowment at Opera Theatre and by the Sally S. Levy Family Fund for New Works, which provides support for contemporary opera and related community engagement activities. Leadership support comes from the Whitaker Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Centene Charitable Foundation, Noémi & Michael Neidorff, and the Berges Family Foundation. This production is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and made possible by an OPERA America Innovation Grant, supported by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation. Major production support
All main season productions at Opera Theatre are accompanied by members of the St. Louis
Symphony Orchestra and are performed in English, with projected supertitles. Concerts and
special events, such as Center Stage, feature music sung in its original language. Performances
are presented in the Virginia Jackson Browning Theatre of the Loretto-Hilton Center for the
Performing Arts on the campus of Webster University. Productions are performed in rotating
repertory, making it easy for audiences to enjoy all four productions of the festival in a single
About Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is a spring festival featuring casts of the opera world’s most
exciting singers accompanied by the acclaimed St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Each season,
OTSL presents four inventive new productions in English during the months of May and June. In
addition to presenting innovative interpretation of classics, OTSL is also committed to
premiering new and relevant operas by prominent composers; since its inaugural season in 1976,
27 operas have premiered at Opera Theatre.
Opera Theatre’s competitive young artist programs foster the next generation of emerging
American singers; these programs have been a springboard for an exceptional number of
extraordinary artists in launching international careers.
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. Opera Theatre gratefully
acknowledges Webster University for its sustaining partnership
Lynn Venhaus has had a continuous byline in St. Louis metro region publications since 1978. She is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic, currently reviews films for Webster-Kirkwood Times and KTRS Radio, covers entertainment for PopLifeSTL.com and co-hosts podcast PopLifeSTL.com…Presents, and writes features and news for Belleville News-Democrat and contributes to other publications. She is a member of CCA, AWFJ and St. Louis Film Critics Association. She is a founding member of the St. Louis Theater Circle.