Opera Theater of St. Louis Appoints First Principal Conductor, Extends Other Contracts | Arts and theater

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By Daniel Durchholz | Special for Post-Shipment

The Opéra Théâtre de Saint-Louis has announced the appointment of Daniela Candillari as its first principal conductor.

The organization has also extended the contracts of artistic director James Robinson and artistic director of young artist programs Patricia Racette until 2026.

“It’s exciting on so many levels,” Candillari said via Zoom from his home in New York. “I know the work that (OTSL) does and I know the importance they have not only in the American operatic landscape, but in the world.”

Candillari, whose tenure is three years, first worked with OTSL last year, leading its “New Works, Bold Voices Lab,” which featured the world premieres of a trio of short operas. She made her debut with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra two weeks later, conducting its “Opera Encore” program.

Born in Serbia and raised in Slovenia, Candillari’s conducting skills are in high demand. Some of the orchestras and opera companies she has worked with include the New York Philharmonic, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Los Angeles Opera and Philadelphia Opera. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut in December with Matthew Aucoin’s “Eurydice” and is scheduled to conduct Terrence Blanchard’s “Fire Shut Up in My Bones” in March at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

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In addition to her appointment to the OTSL, she will be principal conductor of the Music Academy of the West.

“It’s been exhilarating,” Candillari said of his busy schedule. “But it’s amazing to be involved in meaningful work and work that moved people, said something and enriched people’s lives.”

In her role as head of the OTSL, Candinllari will participate in steering the artistic direction of the organization. She will lead a production each year – beginning with this year’s season opener, “Carmen” – as well as the annual “Center Stage” young artists concert.

“The Opéra Théâtre de Saint-Louis has such a strong tradition of nurturing young voices, young singers and preparing them for the future and making fantastic productions of traditional works and (also) in the contemporary arena “, she said.

As for the city itself, Candillari said while traveling here last year, “I was so blown away by all that St. Louis has to offer. It felt like a community that I was familiar with, even though it was my first time there, and I came to learn more about the community and hear more of the people who live there and get a sense of what they want and who they are and how we can make art together.






james robinson


Photo by Simon Pauly


Robinson, meanwhile, has been the artistic director of OTSL since 2008. Among the many operas he has directed is the 2019 world premiere of Blanchard’s “Fire Shut Up in My Bones,” which he co-directed last year at the Met, earning worldwide acclaim. Other world premieres Robinson has performed include another work by Blanchard, “Champion”, as well as Jack Perla’s “Shalimar the Clown” and Ricky Ian Gordon’s “27”.



In the upcoming season of OTSL, Robinson will direct the world premiere of Tobias Picker’s “Awakenings” and co-direct the world premiere of the new performance edition of Stewart Wallace’s “Harvey Milk.”






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Patricia Racette


Photo by Kate Russell


Racette, a renowned soprano who has performed and sung lead roles in operas around the world, is also a director, teacher and mentor. Appointed Artistic Director of OTSL’s Young Artist Programs in 2019, she helped grow the organization’s Gerdine Young Artist Program. She and Robinson co-host the annual “Center Stage” young artists showcase.

In a statement, general manager Andrew Jorgensen praised Robinson and Racette for “dynamically advancing this art form”, adding that “their visionary work enables us to continue to take bold and transformative steps in opera. “.



OTSL gave the St. Louis singers a high school start.  Now they are on stage during festival season.

OTSL’s 2022 festival season includes productions of “Carmen” (starting May 21), “The Magic Flute” (May 28), “Awakenings” (June 5), “Harvey Milk” (June 11), the “Center Stage” concert (June 21) and “A Celebration of Black Music Month” (TBA). A full schedule and ticket information is available at opera-stl.org.

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Sunday, February 6, 2022

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Saturday, February 5, 2022

GMT-0600

Saturday, February 5, 2022

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