I have been coming to Saint Louis every summer for nearly thirty years to see the festival at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. I always enjoy coming here, but I have to confess the humidity can be almost unbearable. Well not this year—the weather has been glorious!
Last night’s performance of Stephen Sondheim’s SWEENEY TODD was terrific, with a cast headed up by Dallas Opera favorite Rod Gilfry, who was chilling in the title role. Opposite him was Broadway star (and Tony winner) Karen Ziemba as Mrs. Lovett, whose mix of trained “legit” voice and what is known as the “Broadway belt” style of singing was ideal. Susanne Mentzer was wonderful as the “Beggar Woman” and I couldn’t help but flash back to 1993, when she sang “Dorabella” in COSI FAN TUTTE opposite Rod Gilfry’s “Guglielmo” at The Dallas Opera. That was Rod’s TDO debut, and was also the American debut of a young British conductor named Graeme Jenkins…
Also in the cast, making her OTSL debut was the radiant young soprano Deanna Breiwick, a recent Juilliard graduate, who I recently found out actually lives in my old New York apartment. Not just the same building—the actual apartment! How odd is that?
The performance was wonderfully conducted by OTSL’s music director Stephen Lord, who has a long history with The Dallas Opera, and conducted our production of LA RONDINE a few years ago. I am off to meet with him this morning, so I will have to cut this short.
I will see the dress rehearsal of a new opera based on ALICE IN WONDERLAND by Unsuk Chin and David Henry Hwang this afternoon and then a performance of CARMEN tonight, and COSI tomorrow, so more later.