Welcome to Opera Edwardsville

5th Anniversary Season!

DECEMBER 3, 2022

Opera Edwardsville's 5th Anniversary Celebration & Holiday Concert OE's Signature Ticketed December Concert

Presented by SIUE Arts & Issues at Dunham Hall

Kick off the holiday season with Opera Edwardsville on December 3rd for a 5th Anniversary Celebration & Holiday Concert! Opera's drunkest characters will help us toast our 5th anniversary with musical excerpts of famous operas, and our guest artists will kick off the holiday season with festive favorites and classic carols! OE’s signature December event returns to Dunham Hall on December 3, 2022 at 7:30pm, presented by SIUE Arts & Issues.

Following a festive 2021 debut, Opera Edwardsville is thrilled to return to the beautiful campus of Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville to join the Arts & Issues Series in 2022. OE was the first local organization presented as part of the series, and the first to be re-invited as well! OE is proud to join illustrious past-series guests including Maya Angelou, Ken Burns, George Winston, and more.

Guest artists include sopranos Amanda Majeski, Angel Azzarra, Rachel Blaustein, and Angel Nicole Riley, mezzo-soprano Emily Fons, tenor Jonathan Johnson, and baritone Christian Purcell, with accompaniment provided by pianist and 2022 OE Artist-in-Residence Joseph Welch.

Important information for all ticket holders:

All tickets, including complimentary tickets for donors and sponsors, have been sent electronically from the SIUE Arts & Issues' new box office system in an email from fansupport@hometownticketing.com. The subject line will read: "Your receipt and tickets for Opera Edwardsville’s Fifth Anniversary Celebration and Holiday Concert." Please print your tickets out at home or pull up the QR code on your phone to gain entry to the concert. If you have any problems locating your tickets or other concerns, please email Grant Andree at gandree@siue.edu.

Drink & Be Merry!

Before the show, stop by Cleveland Heath, (OE’s official restaurant partner) for an inspired cocktail and dinner special in celebration of OE’s 5th anniversary. Cleveland Heath: 106 N Main St, Edwardsville, IL 62025.

As part of the event, a champagne reception and 5th Anniversary Season celebration will be hosted by OE’s 2022 Season Sponsors and Donors, with a champagne toast and an artist meet-and-greet. The reception will take place in the intermission of the performance. All are invited!

Sponsored by:

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, the First Presbyterian Church of Edwardsville, the SIYAO Vocal Competition and Tessitura Music.

Special thanks to the Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau, Cleveland Heath and Scott Evers Photography.

Musical program and artists to be featured:

The musical program draws upon some of opera’s greatest parties, toasts, and drinking songs. Some parties get out of hand, some characters drink a bit too much, and because it’s opera… some don’t live to tell about it! Part I features operatic toasts from operas including Bizet’s Carmen, Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia and L’elisir d’amore, Verdi’s Macbeth, Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, and more. Part II features the sounds of the season with festive favorites and holiday classics. Raise a glass, pick your poison, and kick off the holiday season with Opera Edwardsville!

Artistic Director Chase Hopkins will emcee the concert, providing explanations, fun facts, and context for the musical selections.

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.


Angel Azzarra, soprano

Angel Nicole Riley, soprano

Rachel Blaustein, soprano

Amanda Majeski, soprano

Emily Fons, mezzo-soprano

Jonathan Johnson, tenor

Christian Pursell, baritone

With accompaniment by:

Joseph Welch, pianist and OE Artist-in-Residence

With emcee:

Chase Henry Hopkins, tenor and OE Founder & Artistic Director

Get to know the musical program on Spotify:

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


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


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

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.


Sponsorships of $2,500 or more.


Business sponsorships of $500 or more.


Business sponsorships of $300 or more.


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