Union Avenue Opera is nothing if not fearless, often taking on works that strain the company's space at the Union Avenue Christian Church to the limit.
Although George Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess" is now widely regarded as one of the masterpieces of 20th century opera, it took (to quote one of the opera's lyrics) "a long pull to get there".
I can sum up the Opera Theatre production of Donizetti's 1832 romantic comedy "The Elixir of Love" in one word: bravi. Or maybe that should be "bravissimi," since every aspect of this funny, endearing, and beautifully sung show deserves heaps of praise.
Writing in the Larousse Encyclopedia of Music, Donald Paine notes that Benjamin Britten's "War Requiem," written for the consecration of Coventry Cathedral in 1962, "may stand as representative of his genius and of the theme that recurs throughout his work: the indictment of human folly as it shows itself both in the tragedy and wastage of war and in the corruption of human innocence."
Winter Opera has closed their current season with a musically splendid and visually satisfying production of Puccini’s 1900 political melodrama “Tosca.” Acting and some casting choices did not always strike me as ideal, but the company sang beautifully, the orchestra sounded solid, and the sets and costumes were, given the group’s small budget, quite lavish.
Winter Opera’s ambitious production of Strauss’s seriocomic “Ariadne auf Naxos” is impressive, given the size of the cast and intellectual complexity of the piece.
Union Avenue Opera is one of the hidden gems of the local musical theatre scene. Their productions may sometimes be a bit rough around the edges and their theatre in the remodeled sanctuary of the Union Avenue Christian Church may have its acoustic and sight line issues, but their artistic commitment and professionalism are beyond reproach. The second production of their 2010 season, Donizetti’s 1840 romantic opéra-comique romp La fille du régiment (The Daughter of the Regiment), is a truly charming piece of work with a pair of leads that I’d put up against anyone on the Opera Theatre of St. Louis stage.