2023 Season

The Billy Goats Gruff

JULY 15, 2023 | A FREE opera for kids and families!

10am at the Edwardsville Public Library

Over five 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 6,000 kids through school tours, free community performances, and a filmed presentation and virtual field trip offered online. This year, we proudly present our 2023 opera for kids, The Billy Goats Gruff at the Edwardsville Public Library on July 15, 2023 at 10am. 

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

This event is free for the entire public to enjoy thanks to OE's 2023 Season Sponsors and Donors

Meet the Artists

This performance features local artists from Edwarsdville, Glen Carbon, Alton, Bunker Hill, and St. Louis. The cast features Karen Kanakis, Spencer Domer, Joel Rogier, and Jacob Lassetter. The production is 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. 










Stage Director




The world famous tunes of Mozart, Rossini, and Donizetti ring out in this operatic adaptation of "The Billy Goats Gruff" that is brimming with fun and laughs for kids and the whole family! Join three best friends and one bully billy goat who learn the importance of kindness.

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!

Join before the performance when the City of Edwardsville Arts in the Park series will be making crafts. Then, enjoy the performance in the main reading room of the Edwardsville Public Library at 10am.

The story: An after-school game of hide and seek is ruined for three billy goat friends when a big bully blocks a bridge, preventing them from being able to go home. Remembering what their moms, dads and teachers have told them about dealing with bullies, two boy billy goats resolve to go home a different, longer way and share their difficulties with grownups. The littlest girl goat, however, not wanting to abandon the beloved doll that’s been snatched from her, tromps to the crest of the bridge and, confronting the bully, prevails by inadvertently pushing him into the creek below. Concerned for his well-being, she shows her would-be adversary kindness by asking if he’s OK. He responds by asking if she’s OK. By the time the two boys return with help, she’s able to introduce a soggy, forlorn ex-bully as their new friend.

40 minutes performance in English. Music by Sir Arthur Sullivan with words and story adaption by John Davies.


This concert would not have been possible without the generous support of the 2023 OE Business Sponsors and individual donors.