Winter Opera St Louis
Past Seasons

Past Seasons

Season 17

KDHX & Broadway WorldSteve Callahan

“The great seducer is accompanied in his exploits by his servant, Leporello. This is a wonderful comic role, and it’s sung by the soon-to-be-great Robert … Mellon has a voice that easily fills the hall. He’s a skilled actor and has a lively, physical comic gift that makes Leporello sparkle. He triumphs in the famous “catalogue” aria, where he enumerates the many feminine conquests of his master. (In Spain alone two thousand three!)

PopLifeSTL – Chas Adams

“Before the opening notes of the overture, it was clear that this production would hew closely to a traditional interpretation (kudos to stage director John Stephens)”

“Nathan Whitson’s strong bass more than met the imposing demands of the character Commendatore. His performance was equal parts stentorian, imperious and stone-like (as the singing statue).”

Click HERE to view the Don Giovanni program booklet!

KDHX – Benjamin Torbert

“In Winter Opera Saint Louis’ seventeenth season, general director Gina Galati reminded us, the company has never repeated an opera… The programming choice was particularly appreciated for the richness of “Manon Lescaut’s” score, awfully close to the peak Puccini of the far more-frequently performed trio of “La Bohème,” “Tosca,” and “Madama Butterfly.” Collect them all—at the centennial of Puccini’s death, Saint Louis has now heard all ten of his canonical works live.”

Broadway World – Steve Callahan

“Two astonishingly fine voices lead the cast at Winter Opera.  I was delighted to find Zoya Gramagin cast in the title role..  She shows such effortless power, she so easily fills the hall.  And that pure voice is capable of such drama!”

“The Chevalier de Grieux, Manon’s young lover, is sung by Taylor Comstock… Here he shows that that voice is simply perfect for Puccini.  Several times he swiftly soars up an octave, his voice swelling with smooth power as he reaches that summit.  His Act 3 plea for mercy presents the sheer glorious size of his voice.”

Click HERE to view the Manon Lescaut program booklet!

KDHX & Broadway WorldSteve Callahan

“The brilliant soprano Brittany Hebel sings Marietta.  She’s a tiny, beautiful thing, with great dramatic eyes and an ebullient spirit.  How can a voice of that size be packed into that small frame?   She masters all those coloratura flourishes, as in the obligatos in the “Italian Street Song” where her voice soars like a meadowlark over all the exuberant singing and “zinging” of the chorus.   And she has a lovely sense of melodrama.”

HEC – Gerry Kowarsky

“Naughty Marietta has a wonderful score and a dated libretto. Because the work is out of copyright, Winter Opera was free to replace the libretto with a revision by David Taylor Little. Last year, Little provided an impressively updated libretto for Winter Opera’s staging of The Desert Song. He has done the same for the company’s Naughty Marietta, eliminating elements of the original that would be unplayable today.”

Click HERE to view the Naughty Marietta program booklet!

Season 16

HEC – Gerry Kowarsky

“The musical elements were delightful in the capable hands of conductor Dario Salvi, chorus master Jesse Cunningham, and the orchestra. Colleen Michelson provided attractive, appropriate costumes for the both the Marnish and the native characters. Scott Loebl’s flexible scenic design accommodated all the required settings. The lighting was by Michael Sullivan, the props by Laura Skroska, and the wigs and makeup by Jessica Dana. “

Broadway World – Steve Callahan

“Among the many fine voices in this production Lauren Nash Silberstein, as Margot, shines brightest. Full of life, she emanates a natural charm and she sings with such lucidity that every syllable is clear. ” “Benny Kidd, a feckless reporter alarmed at finding himself in the middle of this chaos, is played by Alexander Scheuerman. His is an utterly masterful comic gift and he excels at dance and physical comedy. He’s matched by the delightful Holly Janz as Susan, Benny’s Bronxy love-hungry secretary.”

Click HERE to view the The Desert Song program booklet!

HEC – Gerry Kowarsky

“Michael Nansel as Macbeth and Whitney Myers as Lady Macbeth take their characters on a convincing emotional journey as they deal with the intoxicating effects of ambition and prophecy and the dire consequences of their actions. Nathan Whitson as Banquo and Jonathan Kaufman as Macduff also turn in deeply-felt portrayals. All four artists produce a beautiful sound and sing with full commitment. “

KDHX – Chuck Lavazzi

“Baritone Michael Nansel, whose resume includes both musical theatre as well as opera, was a big, commanding Macbeth. Verdi wanted his Macbeth to display overweening ambition and crippling self-doubt. Nansel did that, backed up by a powerful voice. Bass Nathan Whitson was an equally compelling Banquo. Both had potent stage presence, making their Act I duettino (in which Macbeth’s growing royal aspirations are contrasted with Banquo’s unease about them) truly compelling. “

Click HERE to view the Macbeth program booklet!

The Riverfront Times – Tina Farmer

“Karen Kanakis is captivating as Magda, with a silky smooth soprano that’s delicate through control, not lack of power… Kanakis and Schafer’s voices are so well suited that their duets are naturally amplified by the pairing…Contrasting and still complimenting Kanakis, Lauren Nash Silberstein is a bright, sparkling, soprano-voiced coquette as Magda’s maid (and the poet Prunier’s secret love) Lisette.”

KDHX – Chuck Lavazzi

“Stage Director Eric Gibson has moved the action forward from the Second Empire France of the original to the 1920s, which makes it feel new enough to be almost familiar while still distant enough to make the attitudes of the characters understandable. His staging is clear and well-paced. The colorful scenic designs of Scott Loebl and period costumes Amy Hopkins compliment that nicely.”

Click HERE to view the La Rondine program booklet!

Season 15

Broadway World – Steve Callahan

“Such astonishing voices! Winter Opera, in St. Louis, has been offering splendid singers for 15 seasons now. But I’ve never heard more brilliant voices than those flourished by the cast in Winter Opera’s latest production, Giacomo Puccini’s MADAMA BUTTERFLY. These are of truly Olympian quality.”

St. Louis Post Dispatch – Fred Blumenthal

“Among the singers, the two male protagonists stood out: Pinkereton, sung by tenor Jonathan Kaufman, and Sharpless, the US Counsel, sung by baritone Michael Nansel. Both had magnificent voices and more than enough power to be understood by the orchestra. Kaufman, with his girth and great skill in long-held highs, is reminiscent of Luciano Pavarotti.”

Broadway World – Steve Callahan

“The level of excellence is so uniform that it’s hard to pick favorites, but I must especially commend Tyler Putnam (Grand Inquisitor), Priscilla Salisbury (Casilda) and Angela Christine Smith (the Duchess).Andrew Pardini and Alexander Scheurmann do splendid work as the two brother gondoliers, as do Holly Janz and Lauren Nash Silberstein as their brides. Gary Moss (a St. Louis favorite) makes the Duke a comic gem, and Clark Sturdevant is excellent (as always) as Luiz (the true Crown Prince). Every supporting role is filled with solid talent: Alexandra Billhartz, Janelle Pierce, Emily Moore are peasant girls, Thomas Taylor, Joel Rogier and Jason Mallory are gondoliers, and Stephanie Mossinghoff is the old nurse who knows the critical secret. (Miss Billhartz, by the way, has the very face of a G&S maiden: lofted delicate brows that express a perpetual delighted surprise.)”

Winter Opera’s 15th Season begins with the first annual Holiday Extravaganza on December 4. This holiday celebration welcomes in the festive winter season with holiday classics and opera favorites, including selections from The Nutcracker and Act II of La Bohème, from baritone Michael Nansel and soprano Megan Barrera. A local children’s chorus adds angelic voices to the sounds of the season and Ballet 314 will take the stage for a memorable ballet performance. Scott Schoonover, a St. Louis native and Winter Opera veteran, will conduct. The season begins with the Winter Opera’s first annual Holiday Extravaganza on December 4. This holiday celebration welcomes in the festive winter season with holiday classics and opera favorites, including selections from The Nutcracker and Act II of La Bohème, from baritone Michael Nansel and soprano Megan Barrera. A local children’s chorus adds angelic voices to the sounds of the season and Ballet 314 will take the stage for a memorable ballet performance. Scott Schoonover, a St. Louis native and Winter Opera veteran, will conduct.

Season 14

Ladue News – Mark Bretz

Stage director Galati moved her baker’s dozen of performers deftly during the 45-minute work, highlighted by Karen Kanakis, whose soaring soprano took advantage of the new building’s acoustics to deliver an affecting performance in the title role. Kanakis not only demonstrated her beautiful voice but also handled the acting elements of the tragedy with aplomb. There also was superb work by Nora Teipen as the Princess and Erin Haupt as the Abbess, each of whom richly showcased their own vocal talents. The all-St. Louis and all-female cast included Emily Moore, Sarah Pistorius, Kat Rubush, Holley Sherwood, Journee Carter, Alexandra Billhartz, Marguerite Lally, Janelle Pierce, Lauren Smith Bearden and Josie Moser.


Season 13

Ladue News – Mark Bretz

Conductor Scott Schoonover and director John Stephens merged their artistic talents together to deliver an easy-going, entertaining production strong on comedy as well as an inspired reading of Sullivan’s score by Schoonover and the accomplished Winter Opera orchestra. Friedlander has an impressive soprano voice which superbly shaped several numbers in the show. Of course, the highlight of Pirates frequently is I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General, which requires a singer to not only hit all the right notes but also knock off W.S. Gilbert’s complicated, witty and topical (for their day) lyrics in proper patter fashion, something Gary Moss handled with aplomb as the stiff-upper-lip English military man.

Broadway World – Steve Callahan

“Winter Opera, under the leadership of Gina Galati, has become a true treasure in St. Louis and it is set like a jewel in the elegant, comfortable Viragh Center…”

[Isaac Frishman’s] “a sweet-voiced tenor who is utterly undaunted by this role which includes an aria that’s been called “the Everest of tenor arias”–it has eight high C’s!”

“Once again scene designer Scott Loebl astonishes us with an awe-inspiring sky-scape… Costumes, by Felia Davenport, are perfect.”

Post Dispatch – Eric Meyer

“Winter Opera St. Louis clinched its 13th season this weekend with a riveting production and local debut of Giacomo Puccini’s Wild West opera, “The Girl of the Golden West (La Fanciulla del West)”” The three leading roles in particular were suitably cast. Soprano Karen Kanakis as Minnie handled the expressive swings the part demands with skill and grace; in the second act she reveals to Johnson her vulnerabilities with vocal charisma, yet by the end of the scene after she beats Sheriff Rance in the ultra-high stakes card game, her powerful voice renders the emotional growth of her character, easily penetrating the incredible wall of sound generated by conductor Dario Salvi and the orchestra.” “Tenor Jorge Pita Carreras as Dick Johnson (aka the bandit Ramerrez) brought to his part the crucial vocal flexibility needed for the wide-ranging emotional requirements of his dual nature.”

Season 12

Season 11

Season 10

Season 9

Season 8

  Season 7

  Season 6

 Season 5

Season 4

 Season 3

 Season 2

Season 1