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Blog Post: Februrary 1, 2024

OTSL Announces Four-Year Contract Extension for Principal Conductor Daniela Candillari

ST. LOUIS, MO, Feb. 1, 2024Opera Theatre of Saint Louis (OTSL) announced the continuation of the creative partnership between Principal Conductor Daniela Candillari and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Candillari’s contract has been extended for four years, through September 2028. Increasingly renowned for guiding groundbreaking world premieres to the stage as well as her artistic prowess with opera’s most frequently performed masterpieces, Candillari made her OTSL debut in 2021 conducting the New Works, Bold Voices Lab and began her tenure as OTSL’s Principal Conductor in 2022.

“Since joining OTSL as Principal Conductor, St. Louis has become a musical home for me,” said Candillari. “Opera is vital and vibrant here thanks to the love and dedication of a community of artists, supporters, staff, and volunteers. I am very grateful to work in partnership with Artistic Director James Robinson, Artistic Director of Young Artist Programs Patricia Racette, and General Director Andrew Jorgensen to advance our shared commitments to commissioning and developing new work, supporting the next generation of artists, and achieving the highest levels of artistry. I also cannot wait to return in this and future seasons to collaborate with the wonderful St. Louis Symphony Orchestra players, one of this country’s great musical institutions.”


In addition to her critically acclaimed work with OTSL, Candillari has led productions at prestigious opera houses around the country including Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington National Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and Opera Philadelphia. Equally versed in symphonic repertoire, she has conducted the New York Philharmonic, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, and American Composers Orchestra, among others.


Candillari’s artistry across multiple genres has garnered significant national attention from noted media outlets. In her latest 2023-24 season, Candillari conducted Rene Orth’s 10 Days in a Madhouse at Opera Philadelphia. The New York Times hailed Candillari for her “confidence and apparently inexhaustible verve” and The Wall Street Journal stated “the orchestra shone under the leadership of conductor Daniela Candillari.” About her work with the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 2022 production of Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones, the Chicago Sun-Times noted that “conductor Daniela Candillari nicely shapes the dramatic flow and emotional contours of this opera and capably handles the changing moods and idiomatic flavor of the music.” 


Candillari is passionate about the education of young artists; in addition to her role at OTSL, she also currently serves as Principal Opera Conductor at Music Academy of the West and regularly conducts opera productions at Juilliard. Later this month, she will lead a production of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress at the Yale School of Music, and she is a frequent collaborator with the opera and symphony students of the Manhattan School of Music. 


“We’re thrilled to have Daniela Candillari with us for another four years,” said General Director Andrew Jorgensen. “Our company has greatly benefitted from her passion, talent, and dedication since 2022. Her commitment to artistic excellence and her love of collaboration are truly inspiring. She understands how opera can delight, empower, and unite a community, and she’s a steadfast champion of this art form. Daniela is one of the great lights in our industry, and we are so fortunate to partner with her. As we look ahead to our 50th season and beyond, we’re grateful for her artistic leadership, and we’re so excited about the role she will play in OTSL’s future.”  


At Opera Theatre, Candillari works alongside General Director Andrew Jorgensen, Artistic Director James Robinson, Artistic Director of Young Artist Programs Patricia Racette, and Director of Artistic Administration Yvette Loynaz. As Principal Conductor, she conducts one Festival Season production each year, as well as the annual Center Stage concert featuring Opera Theatre’s Gerdine Young Artists and Richard Gaddes Festival Artists. In addition, Candillari plays an important part in shaping the artistic direction of Opera Theatre, from overseeing all aspects of musical preparation to consulting on artistic programming, the selection of musical editions and translations, and the recruitment of music staff. Finally, Candillari plays a vital role in the unique 47-year partnership between OTSL and the Grammy-Award winning St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (SLSO), which accompanies every performance of the Festival Season. She made her St. Louis Symphony Orchestra debut in June 2021, conducting an “Operatic Encore” concert that featured works by Beethoven, Sarasate, Verdi, Massenet, Mozart, and more;  she will return to lead another SLSO concert in a future season.


Candillari is already deeply immersed in preparations for OTSL’s 2024 Festival Season, which will run from May 25 – June 30 at Webster University’s Loretto-Hilton Center. She will take the podium for six performances of George Frideric Handel’s Julius Caesar and for the one-night-only Center Stage concert. Daniela Candillari’s engagement in the 2024 Festival Season is made possible with generous support from OTSL Board Chair Kim Eberlein and her husband, Dr. Tim Eberlein.  


For more information on Opera Theatre’s upcoming 49th season, people may visit or call the OTSL Box Office at (314) 961-0644.