A native Kansan I have a BA (Math and Theatre) and MA (Theatre). I was working on a PhD in Theatre when IBM sniffed my math background and lured me away with money enough to feed my (then two) children. Nevertheless I've been active in theatre all my life--having directed fifty-three productions (everything from opera in Poughkeepsie to Mrozek in Woodstock to musical melodrama in Germany) and I've acted in seventy others. Now that I'm retired I don't have that eight-to-five distraction and can focus a bit more. I've regularly reviewed theatre in St. Louis for KDHX since 1991 and am tickled now to also join BWW.
The Union Avenue Opera is so good at fulfilling our expectations - our expectations of really fine traditional opera. But once in a while they enjoy surprising us, jerking us out of that normal path. For instance, with 'Trouble in Tahiti' several years ago the orchestra was a jazz trio. Now this splendid little company surprises us again with a lovely production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1945 Broadway classic, Carousel. It's the familiar story of a young mill-worker who makes the tragic mistake of falling in love with a rough but beautiful carnival barker.BWW Review: Will Albert Herring ever shed his innocence? July 11, 2017
The Opera Theater of St. Louis has opened the fourth and last production of it's forty-second festival season. It's Mozart's final opera, La clemenza di Tito, or (as it's billed for this English-language performance) simply Titus. Everything about this production - from its glorious voices and orchestral display to the set, costumes, lights and sound - is as near perfect as could be imagined.BWW Review: Two Icons Meet in OTSL's THE TRIAL June 15, 2017
The American premiere of The Trial has opened at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis. This is a very major event in opera. Franz Kafka's nightmare tale of Joseph K, trapped in an enigmatic trial for his life, has fascinated readers since it appeared in 1925. Composer Philip Glass read the novel as a youth and even then he yearned to write an opera based on it. But Glass kept that idea 'in his pocket' for sixty years. It was not until he received a commission from the Music Theatre Wales, the Royal Opera, Theatre Magdeburg and the Scottish Opera that Glass was able to fulfill that dream. The London premiere of The Trial opened in 2014.OTSL reads Steinbeck's righteous sentence with a commanding voice. May 31, 2017
What a show! Opera Theatre of St. Louis has opened The Grapes of Wrath, a work by Ricky Ian Gordon and Michael Korie. I have never in my life been more emotionally moved by an opera than by this glorious production.BWW Review: A Beautiful 'BUTTERFLY' Alights in St. Louis May 24, 2017
(Thus review first appeared on KDHX, St. Louis.)
The wonderful Opera Theater of St. Louis has opened its forty-second season with a deeply satisfying production of Giacomo Puccini's 'Madam Butterfly'. Opera Theatre has grown to be among the world's first rank of opera producers. Audiences and reviewers come from all across America and from five continents around the globe. This production of Butterfly is right up there with their best.BWW Review: CARMEN: A Triumphant Crown to a Decade of Impressive Opera March 8, 2017
High passion and sheer unrestrained melodrama overflow in Verdi's 'Il Trovatore,' the current offering by Winter Opera St. Louis. And the voices are glorious! Once again Winter Opera has assembled a sterling group of singers. Caruso once said that all it takes for a successful performance of 'Trovatore' is the four greatest singers in the world. I'm not sure if the judges' ballots are all in yet, but the singers of the four principal roles in this production would seem to be right up there among the finalists.BWW Review: COSI FAN TUTTE Shines at Winter Opera! January 28, 2016
Gina Galati and her Winter Opera continue to bless St. Louis with exemplary productions! They've just opened 'Cosi fan tutte,' and it's a superb presentation of this popular Mozart work.