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OTSL Announces 2011 Season

New production of John Adams’s The Death of Klinghoffer highlights Wells Fargo Advisors 2011 Festival Season  

 David Alden to debut with new production of Pelléas and Mélisande



St. Louis, MO — Full of passion, romance, and revelation, Opera Theatre’s 2011 spring season opens Saturday, May 21 and continues for 28 performances through Sunday, June 26.  Much-anticipated debut artists join Opera Theatre favorites for all new productions of Mozart’s revolutionary Don Giovanni, Donizetti’s lively comedy The Daughter of the Regiment, the company’s first-ever production of Debussy’s haunting romance Pelléas and Mélisande, and the first U.S. staged production of John Adams’s The Death of Klinghoffer since the opera’s original 1991 production.



* Debut Artist 

 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: DON GIOVANNI (1787)

Nine performances: May 21, 25; June 2, 10, 12, 15 (matinee), 18, 22, 25 (matinee)

 Conductor: Jane Glover

Stage Director: James Robinson

Co-Stage Director: Michael Shell

Set and Costume Designer: Bruno Schwengl

Lighting Designer: Christopher Akerlind

Choreographer: Seán Curran

 Don Giovanni is the second in Opera Theatre’s cycle of the three revolutionary operas Mozart wrote with his greatest librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte.  While the legend of Don Juan (who has seduced well over two thousand women in five countries, according to his servant) is a darker story than last season’s Figaro – this hero dies in flames – Mozart’s music is just as spectacular and the opera has been hailed as a masterpiece ever since.  Opera Theatre’s production is led by famed conductor Jane Glover, the production is staged by OTSL artistic director James Robinson with Michael Shell. 

Staged by OTSL artistic director James Robinson and led by famed conductor Jane Glover, the production also features Elliot Madore in the title role and St. Louis’s own Maria Kanyova as Donna Anna.  Levi Hernandez* and Kishani Jayasinghe* make Opera Theatre debuts as Leporello and Donna Elvira.  The cast also includes David Portillo* (Don Ottavio), Andrew Gangestad* (Commendatore), and former Gerdine Young Artists Kathryn Leemhuis (Zerlina) and Bradley Smoak (Masetto). 

Opera Theatre’s 3-year Mozart/Da Ponte cycle is made possible with leadership support from the William T. Kemper Foundation – Commerce Bank, Trustee, and The Commerce Trust Company.

 This production is made possible is part with leadership support from Centene Corporation.

 Gaetano Donizetti: THE DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT (1840)

Seven performances: May 28; June 1, 3, 9, 18 (matinee), 22 (matinee), 26

 Conductor: John McDaniel*

Stage Director and Choreographer: Seán Curran

Set and Costume Designer: James Schuette

Lighting Designer: Christopher Akerlind

 A dazzling showcase for coloraturas, Donizetti’s delicious comedy is the tale of Marie – who was found on the battlefield as a tiny baby and adopted by the 21st Regiment of the French Army – and her beloved Tonio (he’s the one with the nine high C’s).  Led by Grammy-winning conductor John McDaniel*, the production is staged by Seán Curran, who returns after his triumphant Salome in 2009. 

Former Gerdine Young Artist Ashley Emerson returns as Marie after four consecutive seasons at the Metropolitan Opera, and tenor René Barbera* makes his OTSL debut as Tonio.  Two-time Grammy winner and St. Louis favorite Sylvia McNair cameos as the Duchess of Krakenthorp.  The cast also includes Dale Travis* (Sulpice) and Dorothy Byrne (Marquise of Birkenfeld).

Made possible with generous support from an anonymous donor

and by production underwriter Mrs. Walter F. Brissenden.

 Claude Debussy: PELLÉAS AND MÉLISANDE (1902)

Six performances: June 5, 8, 11, 14 (matinee), 16, 24

 Conductor: Stephen Lord

Stage Director: David Alden*

Set Design: Paul Steinberg

Costume Designer: Constance Hoffman

Lighting Designer: Adam Silverman

 Often considered the musical equivalent of a Monet masterpiece, Debussy’s only opera is at once both intensely lyrical and richly erotic.  Golaud finds a mysterious young woman weeping in the forest, brings her back to his father’s castle, and marries her – but she falls in love with his brother Pelléas, with fatal consequences.  Opera Theatre’s first-ever Pelléas will be staged by world-renowned director David Alden* and led by OTSL music director Stephen Lord.    

Corinne Winters (Mélisande), Maria Zifchak (Genevieve), and Gregory Dahl (Golaud) return with up and coming tenor Liam Bonner* (Pelléas) in his OTSL debut.  Michael Kepler Meo (Yniold) and Metropolitan Opera veteran John Cheek (Arkel) round out the cast. 


Six performances: June 15, 17, 19, 21 (matinee), 23, 25

 Conductor: Michael Christie

Stage Director: James Robinson

Set Designer: Allen Moyer

Costume Designer: James Schuette

Lighting Designer: Christopher Akerlind

Sound Designer: Mark Grey

 Opera Theatre presents the first U.S. staged production of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Adams’s astonishing opera since the original 1991 production.  Based on the true story of the hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro by Palestinian terrorists and the subsequent murder of a passenger, The Death of Klinghoffer represents a chilling moment in recent history.  Praised by Newsweek as “a work that fires the heart,” and by the New York Times as “humane, perceptive, and engrossing,” Klinghoffer is a significant event in both the St. Louis community and the music world.  This landmark production is staged by artistic director James Robinson, with Michael Christie returning to conduct. 

Christopher Magiera (Onegin in 2010) is the Captain.  Former Gerdine Young Artist Aubrey Allicock returns as the terrorist Mamoud.  The cast also includes Brian Mulligan* (Leon Klinghoffer), Nancy Maultsby (Marilyn Klinghoffer), Paul La Rosa* (Officer/Rambo), Lucy Schaufer* (Swiss Grandmother/Austrian Woman/British Dancer), Matthew DiBattista (Molqi), and Laura Wilde (Omar). 

This production is made possible with a leadership gift from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and with generous support from Whitaker Foundation.  Major production support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.  Special thanks to The Aaron Copland Fund for Music.

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 featuring the finest American singers, sung in English, and accompanied by members of the St. Louis Symphony.  As of 2011, Opera Theatre has presented 22 world premieres and 22 American premieres – which is perhaps 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,” and by Opera Today as “the leading summer opera destination in the United States,” Opera Theatre of Saint Louis welcomed visitors from 47 states and 10 foreign countries in 2010.  Although the size of the theater limits box office income to 26% of the budget, the company has consistently produced work of the highest quality while never accumulating a deficit.

 Opera Theatre gratefully acknowledges season presenting sponsor Wells Fargo Advisors.

 Opera Theatre is a sustaining member of the Arts & Education Council of Greater Saint Louis, and receives major support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Missouri Arts Council.







New production of John Adams’s The Death of Klinghoffer highlights Wells Fargo Advisors 2011 Festival Season  


David Alden to debut with new production of Pelléas and Mélisande