2021 Season in Review

A Remarkable Year at OE!

July 2021

Jack and the Beanstalk | An opera for kids!

Over three years, OE has built a portfolio of educational programs that reach a range of students. The opera for kids has been presented in a range of formats and has reached over 3,500 kids through school tours, free community performances, and a filmed presentation and virtual field trip offered online. In 2021, three performances of Jack and the Beanstalk were presented at two locations, including a packed house at the Edwardsville Public Library and the St. Louis City Museum, on July 10 and 11, 2021.

Jack and the Beanstalk featured student singers from 2018 and 2019 OE masterclasses with Northwestern University professor of voice, Karen Brunssen, including soprano Delaney Holliday (Jack), mezzo-soprano Stephanie Mossinghoff (Jack's mother / The Giant's wife), and baritone David Fournie (The Trouble Man / The Giant). The production was directed by SIUE’s Marc Schapman, with sets and costumes designed by Roger Spiedel, and music direction by pianist 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. Our City Museum performances partnered with Circus Harmony to include a stilt-walking giant and a large beanstalk-sculpture.

This program was presented in partnership with the St. Louis City Museum, Edwardsville Public Library, City of Edwarsdville’s Arts in the Park program, Edwardsville Arts Center, and the Edwardsville Children’s Museum.

September 2021

Opera Edwardsville at Edwardsville City Park | A free community concert

Following an entirely virtual season in 2020, Opera Edwardsville made a triumphant return to live performance on September 10th when OE performed its first-ever outdoor concert at Edwardsville City Park.

Guest artists included sopranos Angel Azzarra and Katherine Weber, mezzo-soprano Lindsay Metzger, tenor Alex McKissick, baritone Schyler Vargas, and pianist Joseph Welch. Soprano Delaney Holliday, who starred as Jack in OE’s 2021 opera for kids, joined as OE’s student spotlight. The musical program included operatic highlights and selections from the golden era of musical theatre by composers including Mozart, Rossini, Puccini, Verdi, Bernstein, Rogers, and more.

This event featured state-of-the-art amplification provided by Chicago’s Aphorism Studios, led by audio engineer Dan Nichols, with a concert grand piano. Audiences filled the park with their lawn chairs, picnics, and a fantastic display of tables, candles, and fresh flowers to add to the enjoyment of the open-air event. Under a canopy of stars, the excitement of searchlights drew notice from communities in the surrounding area, with cars slowing their drive to glimpse the event.

On September 9, 2021, OE provided the vocal department of SIUE with a free masterclass with Northwestern University voice professor and President of the National Association for Teachers of Singing, Karen Brunssen. Student performers workshopped their vocal technique and performance practice, masked but in person in SIUE’s Abbott Auditorium, with the entire department tuning in via zoom.

December 1-12, 2021

The 12 Days of Opera Edwardsville | A free online series

Building on the success of our virtual season in 2020, Opera Edwardsville presented an online series The 12 Days of Opera Edwardsville, a digital series presented online for free that reached over 40,000 viewers. The 12 Days of Opera Edwardsville was filmed on the stage of the historic Wildey Theatre, with film and audio produced by St. Louis production company Once Films.

The series featured artists from Illinois communities including Lebanon, Bunker Hill, Belleville, Glen Carbon, Edwardsville and St. Louis, Missouri. Performers include OE artistic advisor and Grammy Award-winning soprano, Christine Brewer, sopranos Angel Azzarra, Karen Kanakis, Julie Kelsheimer, and Amy Prince, tenor Marc Schapman, baritone Jacob Lassetter, and pianist Joseph Welch. Soprano Delaney Holliday was featured as a student spotlight on the series. The musical program included 12 performances of cherished holiday carols and classical Christmas favorites.

DECEMBER 18, 2021

Opera Edwardsville at Dunham Hall | OE's Signature Holiday Concert

Opera Edwardsville was honored to be invited to perform as part of the Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville's Arts & Issues Series. OE is proud to be the first local organization presented as part the University's series, joining illustrious past guests including Maya Angelou, Ken Burns, George Winston, and more. OE's signature holiday concert debuted with Arts & Issues on December 18, 2021 at Dunham Hall.

A spectacular line-up of guest soloists included sopranos Mathilda Edge and Liv Redpath, contralto Lauren Decker, tenor Jonathan Johnson, baritones Evan Bravos and student spotlight Miles Wadlington, harpist Caroline Robinson, and pianist Joseph Welch. OE’s annual December concert will featured operatic highlights by French composers Gounod, Saint-Saëns, Bizet, Offenbach, and more, alongside festive selections from the timeless classic, White Christmas.

Special thanks to our 2021 Presenting Sponsors & Partners

OE's 2021 season would not have been possible without the support of donors and sponsors who helped to make arts education accessible to kids and families, support professional development and create opportunities for university singers, and connect over 40,000 members of the community with the arts though OE's in-person and online programs.

OE's 2021 Season is presented by the City of Edwardsville, Lewis Rice, Stifel, and the Rotary Club of Edwardsville. Additional sponsorship comes from 222 Artisan Bakery, Bank of Madison County, Friends of the Wildey Theatre, SIUE Meridian Society, and the SIYAO Vocal Competition. Special thanks to the Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau, the SIUE Arts & Issues Series, and the many individual donors who made our 2021 season possible.

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