Welcome to Opera Edwardsville

5th Anniversary Season!

July 9, 2022

Goldilocks and the Three Singing Bears | A free opera for kids!

Presented at the Edwardsville Public Library


The music of Mozart and Offenbach meet the magic of children's theatre for this operatic adaptation of the classic fable, Goldilocks and the Singing Three Bears. This 40-minute opera features music from famous operas with silly new words and fun dialogue, presented in English, and perfect for the entertainment of our youngest audiences (and their parents too!). Thanks to donors and sponsors, this program is free for the entire family to enjoy at no cost. Warning, audience participation is likely!

Over four years, OE has built a portfolio of educational programs that reach a range of students, offering mentorship sessions with our artistic advisor and Grammy-award winning soprano Christine Brewer, masterclasses with Northwestern University professor and President of the National Association for Teachers of Singing (NATS) Karen Brunssen, and an annual opera for kids!


The opera for kids has been presented in a range of formats and has reached over 5,000 kids through school tours, free community performances, and a filmed presentation and virtual field trip offered online. We proudly presented our 2022 opera for kids, Goldilocks and the Three Singing Bears to a packed audience at the Edwardsville Public Library on July 9, 2022 at 10am.


This performance featured local artists from Edwarsdville, Glen Carbon, Collinsville, Alton, Belleville, Bunker Hill, and St. Louis. The cast featured Angel Nicole Riley, Spencer Domer, Amy Waller Prince, and Jacob Lassetter. The production was directed by SIUE’s Marc Schapman, with sets and costumes designed by Roger Spiedel, and music direction by pianist and OE Artist-in-Residence, Joseph Welch.


Our Edwardsville performance was presented with the City of Edwardsville Arts in the Park program and the Edwardsville Arts center who offered opera-inspired crafts and activities ahead of the performance. The performance also featured three sign interpreters, making the performance accessible to those with hearing impairment.


The story: Goldilocks doesn’t just like bugs – she loves them. When a beautiful butterfly flutters off into the woods, she chases it, forgetting a promise made to her mom to stay close to home. Trying to find her way home after eating soup that doesn’t belong to her, Goldie meets Peek, a little bear. Peek confides to Goldie that a sneaky robber snuck into his family’s house that very morning, licked his spoon and ate his soup. Goldie is horrified, for she knows, of course, that she’s the sneaky soup robber. What should she do? Should she risk getting in trouble by telling the truth? Should she be dishonest and hope to avoid being punished?


This event is free for the entire public to enjoy thanks to OE's 2022 Season Sponsors and Donors. OE would like to recognize 2022 presenting Sponsors: The Rotary Club of Edwardsville, the City of Edwardsville, Lewis Rice, and Stifel, and the Schmidt and Barton Family Fund. Additional support comes from 222 Artisan Bakery, Hortica, the Bank of Madison County, and Tessitura Music. Special thanks to the Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau, Edwardsville Public Library, and Scott Evers Photography.


Featuring:

Angel Riley Nicole, Soprano Goldilocks, a little girl who loves bugs

Jacob Lassetter, Baritone Papa Bear, Peeks father and an avid gardener

Amy Prince, Soprano Mama Bear, Peeks mother and an amazing cook

Spencer Domer, Tenor Peek, a little bear and ambitious cub scout

Angel Nicole Riley

Jacob Lassetter

Amy Prince

Spenser Domer

Event Photos

Credit: Scott Evers Photography

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September 30, 2022

Opera Edwardsville at Edwardsville City Park | A free community concert

Presented outdoors at the Edwardsville City Park


Following a spectacular debut outdoors in 2021, Opera Edwardsville returns to its summer stage at Edwardsville City Park on September 30, 2022 at 7:30pm for a free community concert of operatic highlights in celebration of OE’s 5th Anniversary Season. Enjoy stars of the opera under the starry night sky for this open air concert!


Stars of the operatic stage join for this special performance in Edwardsville from around the world. From Berlin to Sydney, Australia, and Chicago to our very own backyard in St. Louis, this stellar line up of guest artists have appeared on stages including the Metropolitan Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opéra Royal de Versailles, Semperoper Dresden, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Seattle Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and now… Opera Edwardsville!


Guest artists include sopranos Emily Birsan and Sofia Troncoso, mezzo-soprano Emily Fons, tenors Eric Ferring and Matthew Newlin, baritone Robert Mellon, with accompaniment provided by pianist and 2022 OE Artist-in-Residence Joseph Welch. Cellist Marie Brown joins Grammy Award-winning soprano and OE Artistic Advisor Christine Brewer, who will make a special guest appearance in celebration of OE’s 5th Anniversary.


OE Founder and Artistic Director Chase Hopkins will emcee the concert, providing explanations, fun facts, and context for the musical selections. The musical program introduces some of opera’s favorite love stories. In part one of the program, we see the many ways in which characters meet, and fall in love. In part two of the program, we find out what happens next: For some it’s happily ever after, and for others, well, it’s opera… they don’t all make it! This program features the full dramatic range of opera from dramatic deaths to heartfelt comedy through gorgeous arias, duets, trios, and ensembles brought to life by OE’s extraordinarily talented lineup of guest artists.


Audiences are encouraged to bring their picnics and lawn chairs to enjoy this open-air concert at Edwardsville City Park. Additionally, Opera Edwardsville has partnered with the chef at Cleveland Heath to prepare a signature cocktail and pre-performance dinner entree in celebration of OE’s 5th anniversary that will be on special at Cleveland Heath’s restaurant just a minute’s walk from City Park and the performance: 106 N Main St, Edwardsville, IL 62025.


OE's customary champagne reception is planned at the Edwardsville Public Library for 2022 Season Sponsors and Donors, with a champagne toast hosted by Cleveland Heath and an artist meet-and-greet.


Check out the official Spotify playlist and get to know the music ahead of the concert: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/50pRiTbVbYxcdJNQi1UcPV?si=d68ba0660cc449e6


The musical program features selections from Verdi’s La Traviata, Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, Rossini’s La Cenerentola and Il barbiere di Siviglia, Delibes’ Lakmé, Offenbach’s Orphée aux enfers, and more.


This event will feature state-of-the-art amplification provided by Chicago’s Aphorism Studios, led by audio engineer Dan Nichols, named Person of the Year in Classical Music by the Chicago Tribune in 2021 for digital collaborations with arts organizations throughout the pandemic.


This event is free for the entire public to enjoy thanks to OE's 2022 Season Sponsors and Donors. OE would like to recognize 2022 presenting Sponsors: The Rotary Club of Edwardsville, the City of Edwardsville, Lewis Rice, and Stifel, and the Schmidt and Barton Family Fund. Additional support comes from 222 Artisan Bakery, Hortica, the Bank of Madison County, and Tessitura Music. Special thanks to the Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau, Edwardsville Public Library, Cleveland Heath and Scott Evers Photography.


Featuring:

Emily Birsan, Soprano

Sofia Troncoso, Soprano

Emily Fons, Mezzo-soprano

Eric Ferring, Tenor

Matthew Newlin, Tenor

Robert Mellon, Baritone


With accompaniment by:

Joseph Welch, pianist and OE Artist-in-Residence


With special guest appearance in celebration of OE’s 5th Anniversary by:

Christine Brewer, Grammy Award-winning soprano and OE Artistic Advisor

Marie Brown, cello


Emily Birsan

Eric Ferring

Sofia Troncoso

Joseph Welch

Emily Fons

Christine Brewer

Matthew Newlin

Marie Brown

DECEMBER 3, 2022

Opera Edwardsville at Dunham Hall | OE's Signature Ticketed December Concert

Presented by SIUE Arts & Issues at Dunham Hall


Opera Edwardsville is thrilled to be invited back to perform as part of the Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville's Arts & Issues Series. OE made history as the first local organization presented as part of the series, joining illustrious past guests including Maya Angelou, Ken Burns, George Winston, and more.


General Ticket Sales: Tickets will be sold by the SIUE Arts & Issues box office. Tickets will go on sale to the general public in the autumn of 2022. More information to be released soon. A post-concert champagne reception to celebrate OE's 5th Anniversary celebration is included in every ticket.


Complimentary Tickets for Sponsors and Donors: Complimentary tickets are offered to all 2022 OE Season Business Sponsors and Donors. Sponsors and donors should review the number of tickets they are entitled to and RSVP to operaedwardsville@gmail.com. All OE Season Sponsors and Donors are invited to join for a champagne reception with toast and artist-meet-and-greet following the performance.


A spectacular line-up of guest soloists will be presented at this concert as the culmination to OE's 5th Anniversary Season, including soprano Amanda Majeski, mezzo-soprano Emily Fons, tenor Jonathan Johnson accompanied by OE's pianist and Artist-in-Residence, Joseph Welch. OE founder and tenor Chase Hopkins makes a special guest appearance in celebration of OE's 5th Anniversary celebration.


Featuring:


Angel Azzarra, soprano

Angel Nicole Riley, soprano

Rachel Blaustein, soprano

Amanda Majeski, soprano

Emily Fons, mezzo-soprano

Jonathan Johnson, tenor


With accompaniment by:

Joseph Welch, pianist and OE Artist-in-Residence


With special guest appearance in celebration of OE’s 5th Anniversary:

Chase Henry Hopkins, tenor and OE Founder & Artistic Director

Amanda Majeski

Angel Azzarra

Emily Fons

Angel Nicole Riley

Jonathan Johnson

Rachel Blaustein

Joseph Welch

Chase Hopkins

December 12-23, 2022

The 12 Days of Opera Edwardsville | A free online series

Presented online, via eblast, facebook, and instagram.


Building on the success of our virtual season in 2020 and 2021, Opera Edwardsville will again present its popular online series The 12 Days of Opera Edwardsville, a digital series presented online for free that has reached over 80,000 viewers in past years. The 12 Days of Opera Edwardsville will be filmed on the stage of the historic Wildey Theatre, with film and audio produced by St. Louis production company Once Films.


Released daily December 12-23, 2022 online:

Eblast: Sign up here!

Facebook: Opera Edwardsville

Instagram: @operaedwardsville

YouTube: Opera Edwardsville’s channel

Website: www.OperaEdwardsville.org


Featured Artists

Miles Brenton, baritone

Grace Fisher, soprano

Sarah Price, soprano

Amy Prince, soprano

Angel Nicole Riley, soprano

Marc Schapman, tenor

Leann Schuering, soprano

James Stevens, tenor


Featuring a special student spotlight performance by:

Spenser Domer, tenor


With accompaniment by:

Joseph Welch, pianist and OE Artist-in-Residence


Sponsors

This free online series would not be possible without the generous support of the 2022 OE Business Sponsors and individual donors. 2022 Season presented by The Rotary Club of Edwardsville, the City of Edwardsville, Lewis Rice, Stifel, and the Schmidt and Barton Family Fund. Additional sponsorship comes from Hortica, 222 Artisan Bakery, Bank of Madison County, and Tessitura Music. Special thanks to the Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau, Once Films, Scott Evers Photography, and the Wildey Theatre.

Miles Brenton

Angel Nicole Riley

Grace Fisher

Marc Schapman

Sarah Price

Leann Schuering

Amy Prince

James Stevens

Behind-the-Scenes

Photos from filming with Once Films on the stage of the historic Wildey Theatre in July 2022. Credit: Scott Evers Photography

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Special thanks to our 2022 Sponsors & Donors

OE's 2022 season would not have been possible without the support of donors and sponsors who help to make arts education accessible to kids and families, support professional development and create opportunities for university singers, and connect over 80,000 members of the community with the arts though OE's in-person and online programs.

OE's 5th Anniversary Season is presented by the Rotary Club of Edwardsville, City of Edwardsville, the Schmidt and Barton Family Fund, Lewis Rice, and Stifel. Additional sponsorship comes from 222 Artisan Bakery, Bank of Madison County, Hortica, Friends of the Wildey Theatre, and the SIYAO Vocal Competition. Special thanks to the Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau, Once Films, Scott Evers Photography, the SIUE Arts & Issues Series, and the many individual donors who have supported our 2022 season.

Support OE: The generosity of donors and sponsors will enable 3 of the 4 programs in OE’s 5th Anniversary Season to be presented free of charge. To support cultural enrichment and arts education, become a sponsor or donor with exciting benefits: www.operaedwardsville.org/donate. OE is a registered 501(c)(3) and donations are tax deductible.

PRESENTING SPONSORS

Sponsorships of $2,500 or more.

PATRON SPONSORS

Business sponsorships of $500 or more.

SPONSORS

Business sponsorships of $300 or more.

COMMUNITY PARTNERS

PIANIST Joseph Welch Named OE Artist-in-Residence

Pianist Joseph Welch with guest artists in 2021 at Dunham Hall. Photo: Scott Evers

Opera Edwardsville is proud to recognize the incredible talent and contribution of pianist Dr. Joseph Welch through the creation of a new role within the organization.

Joseph has been named the company's first Artist-in-Residence, a designation that includes involvement within all 2022 season events and acknowledges OE's deep appreciation for the talent and expertise that Joseph brings to performances and rehearsals. This new season-long designation has been underwritten by an anonymous donor. OE's ability to welcome world-class singers to Edwarsdville is possible knowing that performances will be in collaboration with a pianist of Joseph's calibre.

Joseph serves as a Professor of Music at Blackburn College. An advocate for the vocal and keyboard arts, Dr. Welch is the Founder and Artistic Director of St. Louis Art Song, which recently hosted Libby Larsen in a weekend residency. He coaches studios in the Opera Theatre of St. Louis Artists-in-Training program and is the Director of Music at First Congregational Church in Bunker Hill, IL. He is the Assistant Music Director for Variety Theatre in St. Louis.

His previous music direction credits include Opera Edwardsville, SIUE's Summer Showbiz, Marble City Opera, Midwest Institute of Opera, and many summer programs. Joseph frequently works with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra. As choral accompanist, he plays for the St. Louis Children's Choirs’ Young Men's Chorus and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra's Holiday Festival Chorus. Dr. Welch serves on the boards of the Southern Illinois Young Artist Organization and the Bunker Hill Education Foundation. Recent awards include Member of the Year for the Illinois State Music Teachers Association - Gateway Arch East Chapter and Adjunct Instructor of the Year at Blackburn College. Dr. Welch enjoys studying genealogy, gardening, photography, farming, and home remodeling in his free time.

Joseph's new role with Opera Edwarsdville comes as part of our 5th Anniversary Season. In the past four years, Joseph has been a part of over 15 OE events. Looking ahead, OE's future is all the brighter with Joseph's growing involvement within the company.

2022 OE POSter Art


Our 2022 Season Poster features original art by local artist, John DenHouter in a poster designed by Clayton Hopkins.

© Opera Edwardsville 2022



Artist’s Biography

John DenHouter is a professor of art at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville teaching design, drawing, and painting for twenty- five years. He holds Master of Fine Arts degrees in Medical Illustration from the University of Michigan as well as oil painting from Eastern Michigan University. His artistic practice involves painting the local landscape “en plein aire” (on location) as well as producing still lifes and surrealistic landscape paintings in his studio.


Parallels Between the Visual and Performing Arts

The need to express oneself seems to be a universal desire and can encompass a wide variety of fields and activities. This is perhaps nowhere as prevalent as in the arts. Whether performing on stage in front of an audience or presenting paintings at a public exhibition, the tremendous satisfaction that results from having composed and performed a well composed song, dance, or strong visual image is one and the same. However, perhaps even more exhilarating, is the pursuit of practicing one’s artistic vision either in isolation or in collaboration. The never- ending quest to improve and excel in terms of concept and craft is a journey taken by all artists regardless of their artistic field or form of expression and can be truly intoxicating!


Edwardsville and the Arts

Edwardsville has a long and robust tradition of supporting the arts whether they be visual, performing, or dramatic. The community has shown its enthusiasm for the arts by attending events at the Edwardsville Arts Center,The Wildey Theatre, SIUE’s Arts and Issues Series, The Edwardsville Municipal Band concerts, and Curtains Up Theatrical productions to mention just a few. The citizens of Edwardsville and the Metro East are the beneficiaries of the work of many creative artists and administrators who have dedicated much time and effort to establish, enrich, and nourish the cultural life of the city.


Thoughts about the Opera Edwardsville Image

Regarding my painting, I was inspired by the inviting atmosphere that can be created by a nocturnal performance. Sitting under the stars and moon on a summer evening surrounded by likewise minded people can be a magical experience. I channeled my memories of going to night baseball games during my youth with friends and family and feeling my excitement and anticipation grow as game time approached and the artificial lights became stronger and stronger illuminating the night- time sky. I hope this image captures this feeling as much as the physical setting of City Park.


John DenHouter

A Note From the Founder

Welcome to Opera Edwardsville, where the history and charm of Edwardsville meet the power and beauty of Opera.

Our mission is to develop an arts organization for the benefit of Edwardsville, Illinois and the St. Louis Metro-East community with the goals of providing musical excellence, educational outreach, community development, an artistic platform, and cultural enrichment.

Music is an important part of Edwardsville’s history, with a 175-year-old Municipal Band, the iconic Mississippi River Festival, and now Opera Edwardsville. We use a European model to make OE a unique musical experience. Seeing the impact of these model opera festivals both large and small on the communities in which they are rooted inspired the creation of our organization. Through concerts, lectures, recitals, operas, masterclasses, and educational outreach programs, OE exposes audiences to bold artistic ideas, powerful dramas, fascinating history, global perspectives, and beautiful music through the shared experience of live opera.

Sharing the music I love with my hometown is an absolute joy. I am grateful for the support, enthusiasm and momentum behind Opera Edwardsville and consider it a great privilege to be contributing to the arts community in Edwardsville. I am so grateful for the many individuals, organizations, and businesses who support OE.

Thank you,

Chase Hopkins