inaugural "Christmas at the Wildey" Concert

December 22, 2018

Opera Edwardsville's launch and inaugural concert was marked by welcoming London based soprano Sofia Troncoso and Chicago-native baritone Evan Bravos alongside OE Founder and Artistic Director, Chase Henry Hopkins.

The musical program featured these three soloists, along with seven St. Louis musicians in the music of Handel, Purcell, Vivaldi, and Tchaikovsky.

Listen to the musical program on Spotify here.

2018 Artists

Sofia Troncoso, Soprano

London-based Soprano Sofia Troncoso (originally from New York) spent 2018 lending her voice to the Scottish Opera (Scotland), Les Azuriales (France), the Longborogh Opera Festival (England) where she debuted in the title role of Monteverdi’s L’incoranazione di Poppea, as well as a guest soloist for the Xi’an Symphony in China.

Sponsored by Barb & Paul Pizzini

Evan Bravos, Baritone

Chicago-native Baritone, Evan Bravos has been praised by the Chicago Tribune for his “strong singing and acting” and marked as a “talent to watch.” 2018 highlights include singing at Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Virginia Opera, Sarasota Opera and recently sang as a guest recitalist and Vocal Fellow at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago.

Sponsored by The Bank of Edwardsville

Chase Henry Hopkins, Tenor

OE Founder and Artistic Director, Chase Henry Hopkins was born and raised in Edwardsville. 2018 Highlights include singing at the Wexford Festival Opera, debuting the role of “Jupiter” in Handel’s Semele with the American Bach Soloists in San Francisco, and joining the Britten Pears Festival in England for two recitals.

Hannah Frey, Violin

Violinist Hannah Frey is currently Concertmaster of Winter Opera St. Louis, and performs regularly with the Metropolitan Orchestra of St. Louis, the Illinois Symphony, and the Union Avenue Opera Orchestra, as well as the St. Louis Symphony, The Muny Orchestra, and the Fox Theatre. In addition to performing, Hannah is on faculty at Washington University in St. Louis and Lindenwood University.

Sponsored by Lewis Rice LLC

Jane Price, Violin

Violinist Jane Price has previously been a fellow at the Tanglewood Institute, the Norfolk Festival, the Spoletto Festival in Italy and spent a year as a member of the New World Symphony. Jane currently teaches as an adjunct faculty member at the Washington University in St. Louis, and performs with Chamber Project St. Louis as well as a featured performances with the Festival of Music (FEMUSC) in Santa Catarina, Brazil.

Sponsored by Lewis Rice LLC

Eliana Haig, Viola

Violist Eliana Haig is an active performer and educator who performs with the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Winter Opera St. Louis, and Chamber Project St. Louis. Eliana previously served as a section violist in the Erie Philharmonic and Binghamton Philharmonic Orchestras and performed with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and Civic Orchestra of Chicago.

Sponsored by Lewis Rice LLC

Stephanie Hunt, Cello

Performing regularly on both modern and baroque cello, Stephanie Hunt currently performs with the Persied String Quartet, Chamber Project St. Louis, and Le Petite Brise, and early music ensemble. Stephanie has participated in numerous international music festivals including the Nederlandse Orkest-en-Ensemble (Netherlands), Royaumont Festival (France), and the Britten Pears Festival (England). Stephanie teaches Cello in the SIUE Suzuki Program, and at Lindenwood University.

Sponsored by Lewis Rice LLC

Dawn Weber, Trumpet

Trumpeter, composer, singer and entertainer, Dawn Weber currently performs with The Electro Funk Assembly, Naked Rock Fight, the Dawn Weber Trio, Arch City Brass, and the Gateway Brass Quintet. A unique musician comfortable in many genres and styles of Music, Dawn spent two years touring with St. Louis’ own ‘Vargas Swing,’ and has released six albums, as main song writer, covering jazz, funk, swing, and electronica.

Sponsored by James Hopkins

Caroline Robinson, Harp

St. Louis-native, Caroline Robinson is currently completing her musical studies at Indiana University, Jacobs School of Music where she is training as a classical harpist. Caroline has recently recorded with Focus, a smooth Jazz ensemble and performed with Union Avenue Opera.

Sponsored by Theresa Elofson

Dr. Joseph Welch, Piano & Harpsichord

Pianist and Vocal Coach, Dr. Joseph Welch earned his Doctor of Music in Collaborative Piano and Vocal Coaching at the University of Minnesota. Joseph currently teaches at Southern Illinois University, Blackburn College, McKendree University, and for the Artist-in-Training Program at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Joseph is the Founder of St. Louis Art Song and on the board of the Southern Illinois Young Artists Organization.

Performer and Instrument sponsored by Suzanne L. Wagner

2018 Sponsors

Opera Edwardsville would like to thank the generous sponsors who made this performance possible:

Presenting Sponsor:

Lewis Rice LLC

Artist Sponsors:

The Bank of Edwardsville

Lewis Rice LLC

Theresa Elofson & James Hopkins

Barb & Paul Pizzini

Suzanne L. Wagner

Patron Level Sponsorship:

Tucker Allen, Estate Planning Attorneys

Kathryn & Bob Biarkis

Pete Fornof

Mary & Robert LaRose

Meg & Bart Solon

Music-Lover Level:

Becky & Dale Claussen

Edwardsville Family Dentist

Dr. Ed Hightower

Michael Lambert & Tim Hutchison

Joe & Barb Hutton

Hyten Oral Surgery

Dr. Lois Ladd

Betsy Meyer

Larry and Maureen Meyers

SJ & Emily Morrison

Brian Pezza & Nichole DeWall

Rotary Edwardsville

Town & Country Bank

David & Kay Werner



Anita & Jerry Bracalente

Cathy Crowder

Henry Evans

Olivia Hopkins

John & Kate Motley

Marian Smithson

Special Thanks:

Artisan Bakery

Kathryn Biarkis

Burton Art Services

Al Canal

Jim Harper Creative

City of Edwardsville

Henry Evans

Chris Head

Holiday Inn & Suites

Clayton Hopkins

Olivia Hopkins

Julie Tabash Kelsheimer

Lewis Rice LLC

Emily Ottwein

Brian Pezza & Nichole DeWall

Barb Pizzini

Rivers & Routes

Jill Schmidt

Dr. Marc Schapman

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church

Dr. Joseph Welch

Wildey Theatre

Program Notes

For Opera Edwardsville’s inaugural concert, we celebrated the holiday season with traditional carols, hymns, and majestic classical music by Handel, Purcell, Vivaldi, and Tchaikovsky.

To capture the magic of the season, the program began with an overture comprised of two instrumental selections from Purcell’s King Arthur and a “Prelude” from Handel’s mythical opera, Amadigi di Gaula. Following several iconic selections from Handel’s great Messiah, the program featured a dramatic section reflective of winter with two works by Vivaldi and the famous “Frost Scene” from Purcell’s King Arthur. Handel’s “Eternal Source of Light Divine” brought us out Winter's harshness and back into the holiday spirit, drawing upon the images of light and hope often associated with Christmas. We concluded the first half with traditional Christmas carols.

Following intermission, we began with music around the theme of angels, followed by our own take on the three Kings, with arias from three operatic Kings. The program then finished with highlights from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, and several holiday favorites.

Our program drew upon the joy, hope, magic, and excitement of Christmas, while exploring the somber nature and harsh elements of Winter. The themes and images of Christmas were reflected through the beauty, drama, and power of opera.

Musical Program

Part I

"The Trumpet Tune" - Henry Purcell: King Arthur

"Fisherman's Dance" - Henry Purcell: King Arthur

"Prelude" - George Frideric Handel: Amadigi di Gaula

Highlights from The Messiah, George Frideric Handel

  • Recit: "Comfort ye"

  • Aria: "Every Valley"

  • Aria: "Rejoice greatly"

  • Aria: "The Trumpet shall sound"

  • Chorus: "Hallelujah Chorus"

"Cum Dederit" - Antonio Vivaldi: Nisi Dominus

“L’inverno” - Antonio Vivaldi: Le Quatro Stagione

(The Four Seasons: Winter)

  • Allegro non Molto

  • Largo

  • Allegro

"The Frost Scene" - Henry Purcell: King Arthur

"Eternal Source of Light Divine" - Handel: Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne

Carol: “What Child is This?”

Carol: “O come all ye faithful”


Part II

"Let the Bright Seraphim" - Handel: Samson

"Waft her, Angels through the Skies" - Handel: Jephtha

Carol: "Hark the Herald Angels Sing"

Carol: "We Three Kings"

"Sibilar gli angui d'aletto" - Handel: Rinaldo

"Ombra mai fu" - Handel: Serse

"Ciel e terra" - Handel: Tamerlano

The ‘Nutcracker Suite’

Carol: "O little town of Bethlehem"

Carol: "Have yourself a Merry little Christmas"

Carol: "O Holy Night"

Spoken elements throughout the program were delivered by OE Steering Committee member, SJ Morrison. The concert was followed by a Champagne reception to celebrate the launch of Opera Edwardsville, generously sponsored by Lewis Rice LLC.