Friday, July 2, 2010

Another Fine OTSL Season

Well, opera season is over here in St. Louis.  My allergies were acting up the last week and I was coughing so much that I ended up skipping the last opera in my series:  The Golden Ticket.   I was sorry to miss it since I always like the (very strange) Willy Wonka story.

According to an email I got from Timothy O’Leary, OTSL’S general director, this season earned Opera Theatre its highest box office revenue ever even though they didn’t raise ticket prices.  Since 2008, they’ve seen an audience increase of 5.5% and they were at 90% capacity over this season which, in this economy, is almost a miracle.  The good box office this year surely had to do with choosing to bring in new audience members by doing A Little Night Music.  22% of the audience was brand new this year.   I hope they all come back next year for at least one opera.

And speaking of next year:

Meanwhile, subscriptions for 2011 go on sale next week, and I hope you will join us for a season that opens with Mozart's masterpiece Don Giovanni, and continues with Donizetti's hilarious The Daughter of the Regiment, as well as OTSL's first-ever Pelléas and Mélisande featuring the much-anticipated return of soprano Kelly Kaduce, and John Adams's chilling tragedy The Death of Klinghoffer, created by the same team that brought us OTSL's landmark production of Nixon in China in 2004.

I’m particularly excited about The Daughter of the Regiment.  I’ve seen it before and it’s a lot of fun.  PLUS it will mark the conducting debut at OTSL of John McDaniel who I knew back in high school.   It’s a comedy and a classic and probably is the opera to choose if you’ve never been to opera before.

Of course you couldn’t go wrong with Don Giovanni either -  after all, it’s Mozart.  But it’s not a comedy.  

Every year OTSL does four operas and I always classify them as The Big Draw (Don Giovanni), The Other Classic (Daughter of the Regiment), The Less Peformed One (Pelleas and Mellisande) and The Modern One (The Death of Klinghoffer).  This year they shook things up a bit by throwing A Little Night Music in the mix as The Less Performed One.

It used to be that there was a better than 50/50 chance that I would think The Modern One was horrible (musically) and The Less Performed One would be … well, let’s just say that it would be obvious to me why it wasn’t performed as often. Over the years, though,  I’ve grown to really like most of The Modern Ones and the productions of The Less Performed Operas have been such clever productions that I often like them the best.  So I’m really looking forward to next year’s Pelleas and Melisande because it features Kelly Kaduce who was the simply outstanding Salome in 2009 (and in pretty much every thing else I’ve seen her in).  That leaves Klinghoffer.  Let’s just say I’m not a big fan of John Adams.  But I’m going to keep an open mind.

So make plans for next season – May and June in St. Louis. 

And in the meantime we have another smaller opera company called Union Avenue Opera.  It has been around since 1994 when it was founded by Scott Schoonover, the music director of Union Avenue Christian Church, which serves as the venue for the operas.   They do a very good job with a very small space.   I’m going to go see The Pirates of Penzance in a couple of weeks.