OTSL Season Achieves Widespread Acclaim and Unprecedented Level of New Audiences
St. Louis, MO — Opera Theatre of Saint Louis (OTSL) closes its 2011 Wells Fargo Advisors Festival Season with exceptional national and international acclaim, as well as an unprecedented level of new audiences discovering the company’s work – continuing to enhance the profile of the company and the classical music community in St. Louis among local and global audiences.
The volume of national and international press more than doubled with Opera Theatre’s 2011 season appearing in 36 national and international media outlets, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Financial Times of London, The Boston Globe, The Dallas Morning News, The Times-Picayune of New Orleans, ABC News, NPR’s “All Things Considered,” and many more.
The centerpiece for acclaim was the company’s groundbreaking new production of The Death of Klinghoffer, which was the first fully-staged U.S. production of the opera by Pulitzer Prize winning composer John Adams since the original production in 1991. The Chicago Tribune declared that “St. Louis brilliantly reaffirms Klinghoffer as a landmark American opera,” and the Associated Press reported that “The enterprising Opera Theatre of St. Louis… made a strong case for Klinghoffer as a gripping and eerily beautiful work.”
The 2011 season also attracted new patrons in record numbers and saw continued growth of the company’s Young Friends program, which attracts new patrons below the age of 45. Approximately 23% of the audience was new to Opera Theatre in 2011 – an increase of 8% since 2009. Young Friends attendance grew by 32% over 2010; audiences for this program have nearly quadrupled since it launched in its current form in 2008.
As in the past, a substantial audience of more than 4,300 opera-goers traveled to St. Louis from outside the metro area in order to attend the season, including opera lovers from 45 states and 12 foreign countries including Bali, South Korea, Costa Rica, and Egypt.
“We were thrilled to see the power and relevance of the 2011 season translate into fantastic recognition for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as well as deeply moving experiences for our audiences,” said OTSL General Director Timothy O’Leary. “I was especially glad to hear from so many people who were experiencing Opera Theatre for the very first time. We look forward to welcoming everyone back for a very exciting lineup in 2012.”
Opera Theatre’s 2012 season opens on May 19, 2012 with the OTSL debut of St. Louis’s own rising international opera star Kendall Gladen in Bizet’s Carmen, continues with the company’s second Sondheim production, his 1979 masterpiece Sweeney Todd and Mozart’s sparkling comedy Così fan tutte. The season concludes with the much-anticipated American premiere of Unsuk Chin and David Henry Hwang’s Alice in Wonderland.
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 Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. 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 45 states and 12 foreign countries in 2011. 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 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.
More Acclaim for Opera Theatre
“The Opera Theater of St. Louis is a small, hardy institution not averse to risk. Its choice of John Adams’s Death of Klinghoffer, which opened triumphantly on Wednesday, was only the latest proof. …the theater earned its renown by championing opera in English, including standard works sung in translation, and by offering premieres and unusual, important revivals.”
New York Times
“Year after year, the Opera Theatre of St. Louis attracts opera fans from all over North America to its spring festival seasons at the Loretto-Hilton Center here, and for good reason. Connoisseurs as well as lay listeners are lured by a combination of new and unusual repertory, including 22 world premieres and 22 American premieres to date.”
“Some of the country’s most imaginative opera seasons are produced by Opera Theatre of St. Louis.”
Dallas Morning News
“OTSL’s thoughtful and sensitive staging by James Robinson should go a long way toward opening minds about Klinghoffer.”
Wall Street Journal
“The scenes that hit home involve the Klinghoffers themselves – their simple yet tender moments together, and her fierce reaction to his death… As Klinghoffer, Brian Mulligan projects considerable strength, especially in his post-murder monologue. Nancy Maultsby is shattering in conveying Marilyn Klinghoffer’s despair.”
Financial Times (London)
“Mr. Curran… embraced [The Daughter of the Regiment] as the frothy entertainment it is… Armed with a bright smile, a pealing voice ideally suited to the intimate Virginia Jackson Browning Theater, and a gift for physical comedy, Ms. Emerson was captivating as Marie… As Tonio, Marie’s peasant lover, the charming tenor René Barbera hit his notorious nine high C’s and considerably more, securely and seemingly effortlessly.”
New York Times
“Imaginative company dazzles with Pelléas…the compact setting intensified the hothouse atmosphere, and Hugh Macdonald’s English translation was effective. OTSL music director Stephen Lord and the orchestra made magic of exquisite music.”
Dallas Morning News
“The latest installment of OTSL’s Mozart-Da Ponte trilogy was notable chiefly for Jane Glover’s superbly stylish conducting, her crisp accompaniments at the fortepiano and the vital playing she drew from the orchestra… Elliot Madore’s hunky, vocally burnished Don made him a talent to watch.”