Pre-Festival Events Begin May 2

Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Pre-Festival Events Begin May 2


OTSL’s popular concert/lecture series Spotlight on Opera, the free pop-up community concert Spring Sing!, and a panel discussion with the Missouri History Museum allow audiences to discover and connect before the start of the 41st Festival Season


St. Louis, MO, May 2, 2016 — Opera Theatre of Saint Louis will present a series of special events in May as a lead-up to the company’s 41st Festival Season, which begins Saturday, May 21 and continues through Sunday, June 26.  Committed to building and strengthening the community through opera beyond the theater, Opera Theatre’s pre-festival events are fun, free, and low-cost ways to explore and learn.  Audiences of all ages are welcome.

Details of the pre-festival May events continue on the pages to follow.



Mondays, May 2, 9, 16 and 23 at 7:30 p.m.

The Ethical Society of St. Louis, 9001 Clayton Road, St. Louis, MO 63117


At Spotlight on Opera, audiences discover unexpected insights about the operas in the current season through a panel discussion and live performances of excerpts from each opera performed by Opera Theatre’s Richard Gaddes Festival Artists and Gerdine Young Artists. Each evening event focuses on a different opera in the upcoming season. Panelists include the productions’ directors, conductors, and designers, with special guest speakers who are leaders in the arts locally and nationally.

May 2La bohème: Artists on the Fringe – Bohemia in the 19th and 21st Century
Guest speaker: Em Piro, Executive Director, St Lou Fringe Festival

May 9: Macbeth: Out, Damn’d Spot

Guest speaker: Rick Dildine, Artistic and Executive Director, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

May 16: Ariadne on Naxos: Backstage Drama, Onstage Comedy – When Art Mimics Life

Guest speaker: Ken Page, Broadway actor and The Major Domo in Ariadne on Naxos

May 23: Shalimar the Clown: Bringing an Acclaimed Novel from the Page to the Stage

Guest speaker: Jack Perla, the composer of the world premiere opera Shalimar the Clown


Tickets are $12 per event, $36 for all four.  Tickets may be purchased at 




Saturday, May 7 at 12:30 p.m.

Missouri History Museum, 5700 Lindell Boulevard (Forest Park), St. Louis, MO 63108


Now in its third year, Spring Sing! brings together professional singers from OTSL with hundreds of community volunteers from diverse backgrounds for an annual “spontaneous” concert at an iconic St. Louis location.  Participants build new friendships while working with one of the country’s pre-eminent choral conductors, Opera Theatre’s Chorus Master and Head of Music Staff, Robert Ainsley.


The performance will take place under the iconic “Spirit of St. Louis” airplane at the Missouri History Museum on the afternoon of Saturday, May 7 at 12:30 p.m.


Participants in Spring Sing! commit to attending one three-hour rehearsal session (either 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. or 2 p.m. - 5 p.m.) on Saturday, April 30 held at Opera Theatre’s Sally S. Levy Opera Center (210 Hazel Ave, 63119).  To ease the logistics of learning music and rehearsing, OTSL provides a recording that teaches the parts in advance, plus the concert is performed “on book,” so no memorization is required.


Spring Sing is made possible with generous support from Mary Susman and Tom Herm.



Free and open to the public. Registration is required to sing in the concert. To register or for more information, please visit


Kashmir: Paradise Lost?

Thursday, May 12 at 7 p.m.

Missouri History Museum, 5700 Lindell Boulevard (Forest Park), St. Louis, MO 63108


A distinguished panel of experts will help unlock the mysteries of Kashmir at this free panel event.  The region, one of both idyllic beauty and modern political upheaval, serves as the backstage to Salman Rushdie’s riveting novel Shalimar the Clown, the inspiration for Opera Theatre’s upcoming world premiere.  Speakers include OTSL General Director Tim O’Leary, Artistic Director James Robinson, and scholar Shazia Ahmad. Kashmir: Paradise Lost? is presented in partnership with the Missouri History Museum.


Underwriting for community engagement events is provided by the Sally S. Levy Family Fund for New Works, and with support from PNC Arts Alive and OPERA America’s Opera Fund.

Free and open to the public.


Opera Theatre’s 2016 Festival Season runs from May 21 to June 26. The season features Opera Theatre’s signature combination of compelling new operas and masterpieces by beloved composers, including Giacomo Puccini’s eternally popular La bohème, Richard Strauss’s moving comedy Ariadne on Naxos, Giuseppe Verdi’s magnificent and murderous Macbeth, and the highly anticipated world premiere of Jack Perla and Rajiv Joseph’s Shalimar the Clown, based on the much-admired novel by Salman Rushdie. The season also includes the second annual Center Stage concert, showcasing the talents of OTSL’s young artists. All main season productions at Opera Theatre are accompanied by members of the St. Louis Symphony and are performed in English, with projected supertitles. 


Single tickets are currently on sale, with prices starting at $25.  Subscriptions to the 2016 season are also currently available, starting at $82 for a two-opera Wednesday or Saturday matinee series and $170 for a four-opera evening or matinee series.  Special packages are available for K-12 educators, audiences under 45 years of age, and audiences travelling from out of town.  To purchase tickets or for more information, visit or call the box office at (314) 961-0644.

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, sung in English, featuring the finest American singers and accompanied by members of the St. Louis Symphony.  As of its 40th anniversary 2015 Festival Season, Opera Theatre has presented 24 world premieres and 26 American premieres (including the 2015 production of Handel’s Richard the Lionheart) — which may be 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,” Opera Theatre of Saint Louis annually welcomes visitors from nearly every state and close to a dozen foreign countries.  Although the size of the theater typically limits box office income to less than a quarter of the budget, the company has consistently produced work of the highest quality while never accumulating a deficit.

Opera Theatre also has a long tradition of discovering and promoting the careers of the finest operatic artists of the current generation.  Among the artists who had important early opportunities at Opera Theatre are Christine Brewer, Susan Graham, Nathan Gunn, Patricia Racette, Thomas Hampson, Jerry Hadley, Dawn Upshaw, Matthew Polenzani, Sylvia McNair, Erie Mills, Dwayne Croft, Kelly Kaduce, and Lawrence Brownlee.  Opera Theatre has always been known for distinguished leadership: founding general director Richard Gaddes was succeeded in 1985 by general director Charles MacKay, with famed British stage director Colin Graham as artistic director and Stephen Lord (1992 – present) as music director.  Timothy O’Leary was named general director in October 2008 with acclaimed stage director James Robinson succeeding the late Colin Graham.

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.