Winter Opera St. Louis is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide St. Louis with world-class operatic performances during the winter months. Our work features nationally and internationally known artists, performing classic operas in their original languages, with English supertitles. We also highlight local performers and strengthen the local artistic community year-round through community outreach programs and workshops. We are committed to enhancing public appreciation and support of opera in St. Louis and to preserving the beauty of this art form for generations to come.
Gina Galati, General Director
Gina Galati is the recent recipient of The Historical Society of St. Louis County’s James O’Flynn Community Service award for founding New Opera Saint Louis, now called Winter Opera St. Louis, where she serves as General Director. Gina received a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Music from Washington University and later received a Masters of Opera from the University of Kansas and earned an Artist Diploma from the Academia Verdiana in Bussetto, Italy. Ms. Galati has performed Rosina in The Barber of Seville with Winter Opera, Amici Opera and the Southern Illinois Music Festival, Musetta in La Bohéme with Witchita Grand Opera, and has performed frequently with the Atlantic Coast Opera Festival, singing Nedda in I Pagliacci, Zerlina in Don Giovanni and Norina in Don Pasquale. Gina sang the role of Giorgetta in Union Avenue Opera’s production of Il Tabarro and made her Powell Symphony Hall debut in December 2008 as the soprano soloist in Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with the St. Louis Bach Society. Gina has performed the roles of Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, Gilda in Rigoletto, Norina in Don Pasquale, Nedda in I Pagliacci, Violetta in La Traviata, Mimi in La Bohème, Baby Doe in The Ballad of Baby Doe, Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor and Suzel in L’amico Fritz with Winter Opera St. Louis. In the summer of 2014, Gina sang Norina in Miami Lyric Opera’s Don Pasquale and Rosina in Opera Medellin’s Il barbiere di Siviglia.
Collaborative Pianist & Chorus Master
As a pianist, vocal coach, conductor, and educator, Jesse Cunningham has been exposed to a diverse repertoire and worked with a wide range of musicians, from young students to emerging artists and professional musicians. In the past, Jesse was involved with Indianapolis Opera, Chicago Summer Opera, Bay View Music Festival for Opera, MIOpera, New York Lyric Opera, and Lyric Theatre at Illinois and held a staff position at the University of Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s College, Eastern Illinois University and Mannes School of Music. Currently, Jesse works as the Chorus Master and Collaborative Pianist at Winter Opera St. Louis. Jesse has a DMA in Vocal Coaching and Accompanying from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a MM and BM in Piano Performance from Florida International University.
Jason Harris, Orchestra Personnel Manager
Jason Harris holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Missouri – St. Louis and a Master of Arts in Music from Webster University. A recent trumpet professor at Lindenwood University and Jefferson College, Harris has performed trumpet with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, The Temptations, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Metropolitan Orchestra of St. Louis, New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players, Illinois Symphony, Susan Slaughter’s Holiday Brass, St. Louis Brass Band, and the American Kantorei Orchestra to name a few. Currently, Harris is a member of the Winter Opera St. Louis Orchestra, Union Avenue Opera, Clarion Brass Quintet, and Stonehenge Brass. Jason is currently serving as an Associate Director of Bands at Ladue Horton Watkins High School. As an educator, Mr. Harris has garnered national recognition for his innovative approaches to utilizing technology in music education.
Kelly Thomas, Administrative Director
A Liberal Arts graduate of Harold Washington College in Chicago, Illinois, Kelly Thomas serves as the Administrative Director of Winter Opera St. Louis. She once held the position during Seasons 8 & 9 and, after a hiatus, has returned for Season 15, where she manages the box office, patrons & donor relations, studio rentals, and designs advertisement artwork. Her love for opera came when attending the Season 8 performance of Le Nozze Di Figaro, her first opera. If she’s not working, Kelly’s focusing on computer programming and video game design as hobbies. She lives with her husband, their two children and their dog Willard.
Cassandra Langley, Media Relations Manager
Cassandra Langley is a communications professional with more than 10 years of experience in public relations and marketing in the St. Louis area. Cassandra is a Mizzou grad and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication. In her career, she has served as communications manager, media liaison, and lead writer in the agriculture, real estate and event industries in for-profit and non-profit organizations. Cassandra looks forward to sharing the one-of-a-kind Winter Opera experience with St. Louis-area media and residents as another wonderful opportunity that our community has to offer. Born in Texas, Cassandra has lived in St. Charles County, MO, for more than 30 years. She currently lives in St. Peters with her dogs.
Lauren Smith, Costume & Alterations Director
Lauren Smith Bearden is a St. Louis based costume designer and technician. Local design credits include Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Q-Collective) Guys and Dolls (Stray Dog Theatre) and King Lear (Ozark Actors Theatre). She also serves as the Costume Director for the Jewish Community Center’s Youth Theatre and guest designs for Missouri Baptist University and East Central College. Other companies she has worked for include The St. Louis Rep, New Harmony Theatre, and the Purple Rose Theatre Company. She holds an MFA in Theatre with an emphasis in costume design and technology from the University of Florida.