ST. LOUIS – Critics are hailing Union Avenue Opera’s Twenty-Ninth Festival Season openerThe Turn of the Screwas “creepy and masterful” by a company that “always delivers” and “consistently achieves artistic wonders.” Amidst the excitement the cast of UAO’s production ofDon Pasquale have begun staging Donizetti’s bubbly farce that will have audiences rolling in the aisles.The production is helmed by directorJon Truitt and conductorStephen Hargreaves who previously paired together for last summer’s critically acclaimedFalstaff and 2021’sIl barbiere di Sivigliaat the Big Top.
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“Don Pasqualeis such an appealing and enjoyable comedy,” said Truitt. “It has loads of truly funny moments, delightful arias and small ensembles that we’d expect from Donizetti, and it’s just a joy to experience as an audience member. I think of this opera in the vein of the “screwball comedies” of the mid-20th century like “His Girl Friday” or “It Happened One Night”. I love the strong female comedy leads in those pieces and I see that connection with this piece quite strongly, as well as the fast-talking and witty repartee between the characters.”
When asked why he continues to return St. Louis each summer, Hargreaves replied “Union Avenue Opera is one of my absolute favorite places to conduct. Though it is a small company, everybody involved, from cast, directors, orchestra, chorus and stage management, is as high a level as one can find at companies of greater size and budget. As a result, there is a great amount of care taken in the quality of the work. I emerge from each rehearsal excited about the next and am thrilled by the energy of the audience when they arrive. Union Avenue Opera is one of the best sides of the future of opera - exciting, intimate, and emotionally moving, with an audience that is close to the action.”
Leading the talented cast as Don Pasquale isAndy Papas who audiences will remember from his portrayal of Dr. Bartolo in 2021’s production ofIl barbiere di Sivigliaduring Opera Under the Big Top.Peter Kendal Clark makes his return as Dr. Malatesta following his portrayal of Fredrik Egerman in last summer’s critically acclaimed production ofA Little Night Music.Singing the roles of the young lovers Norina and Ernesto are two UAO newcomers,Christine Lyons andNamarea Randolph-Yosea, who will be making their UAO stage debuts. No stranger to the UAO stage, local artistJoel Roger will sing the role of Carlino. Rounding out the cast is a talented sextet as the chorus, comprised of local St. Louis artists.Teresa Doggett provides costume for this updated telling with sets byLaura Skroska, lights byPatrick Huber, and props byRachel St. Pierre.
Don Pasquale will be presented in its original Italian, with projected English supertitles and is accompanied by a full union orchestra, all members of the American Federation of Musicians.
Single tickets range from $35 to $55 and are available at unionavenueopera.org or by calling 314-361-2881. Discounts are available for Seniors (65+), Military/Educator, and Young Audiences (under 18). All performances start at 8:00PM and free parking is available in the lots behind the venue and overflow parking is available on the street.
Gaetano Donizetti: DON PASQUALE
July 28, 29, August 4, 5 at 8:00PM
Presented in Italian with projected English supertitles
Don’t miss this uproarious, screwball comedy—perfect for seasoned operagoers and newcomers alike. Don Pasquale, a wealthy old bachelor, is determined to disinherit his rebellious nephew Ernesto—who refuses to marry for money, insisting on marrying the poor widow Norina for love. With the help of the mastermind Dr. Malatesta, the lovers hatch an outrageous plan to teach the old Don a lesson once and for all. This unorthodox love triangle yields a hilarious and touching masterpiece that takes a riotously entertaining slant on the threat of disinheritance, a mock marriage, and a spendthrift wife who believes husbands should be seen and not heard.
Don Pasquale – Andy Papas
Norina – Christine Lyons*
Ernesto – Namarea Randolph-Yosea*
Malatesta – Peter Kendall Clark
Carlino – Joel Rogier
Ensemble: Spencer Domer, Grace Yukiko Fisher, Jeffrey Heyl, Ryan Keller, Brittany Moleski*, and Stephanie Mossinghoff*
Mark your calendar forFlaherty and Ahrens’ RAGTIME
Four Performances: August 18, 19, 25, 26 at 8:00PM
Conducted by Scott Schoonover
Directed by Annamaria Pileggi
It’s the dawn of a new century and America has never been more alive with change and opportunity.
Scored with the syncopated rhythms of a hopeful new age,Ragtime effectively weaves together three distinctly American tales: from the Jewish immigrant searching for a better life for his daughter, to the stifled upper-class wife yearning for something more, to the daring young Harlem musician with the determination to empower change. Social and racial conflicts rise to the surface as the lives of the characters become intertwined. United by their courage, compassion, and belief in the promise of the future, together they confront history’s timeless contradictions of wealth and poverty, freedom and prejudice, and hope and despair. The Tony-winning score is just as diverse as the melting pot of America itself, from the ragtime rhythms of Tin Pan Alley to the klezmer of the Lower East Side, with waltzes, banjo tunes, period parlor songs and expansive anthems throughout.Ragtime is an impassioned, jubilant, and timeless tribute to the American Dream.
About Union Avenue Opera -UAO was founded in 1994 to bring affordable, professional, original-language opera to St. Louis, a mission the company continues to pursue to this day. UAO is committed to hiring the most talented artists, directors, designers and technicians both locally and from across the United States. UAO provides promising singers the first steppingstone of their professional career. The company celebrated its 25th Anniversary Season in 2019 and offers vibrant and affordable opera experiences in original languages to audiences who reflect the breadth and diversity of the St. Louis region. UAO is a publicly supported 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization registered in Missouri.
Financial assistance for the 2023 Festival Season has been provided by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency, and with support from the Regional Arts Commission.
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