Springfield Regional Opera

(Logo courtesy Springfield Regional Opera)

This week’s “Coronavirus Edition” of “Arts News” features a talk with Christopher Koch, Music Director and conductor of Springfield Regional Opera.  I asked him what SRO was working on when the stay-at-home order hit in March.                                                                

(Photo courtesy Springfield Regional Opera)

Jeff Houghton, host of the Mystery Hour TV show, contacted Springfield Regional Opera artistic director Michael Spyres to help with a special project earlier this week at several area independent and assisted living and nursing facilities. Michael, a major tenor soloist at opera houses around the world, is currently at home near Rogersville, and we talked on the phone yesterday about his nursing home concerts.                    

(Logo courtesy Springfield Regional Opera)

According to a press release received from Springfield Regional Opera:

(Photo: www.michaelspyres.com)

Ozarks native Michael Spyres, who over the past decade and a half has become one of the most sought-after operatic tenors of his generation, spends part of his year in Springfield as Artistic Director of Springfield Regional Opera. 

(Poster design courtesy Springfield Regional Opera)

Mansfield, Missouri native Michael Spyres is an internationally renowned tenor—he’s back (briefly!) in Springfield for a week following a production of Vincent D'Indy's epic opera “Fervaal” with the Radio France Music Festival in Montpellier.  Recently he was named Artist of the Year by The Professional Critics Syndicate of France, and he’ll make his Metropolitan Opera debut this season in the title role of Berlioz’s “La Damnation de Faust.” But Spyres “grew up” musically with Springfield Regional Opera, of which he is now Artistic Director.

(Poster design courtesy Springfield Regional Opera)

Springfield Regional Opera is about to celebrate its 40th season—the company’s official debut was a production of Verdi’s “La Traviata” at the Gillioz Theatre in the summer of 1980. The year before that, there was a sort of “calling card” production of Puccini’s “La Boheme” at the Landers, that was officially produced by Springfield Little Theatre. Its success proved to the late Dawin Emanuel, then Lecturer in Opera at Missouri State University, that Springfield was ready for a local opera company.

(Logo design courtesy Lost & Found Grief Center)

Springfield Regional Opera's local-premiere production of Leonard Bernstein's Candide at the Gillioz Theatre (Friday, April 5th at 7:30pm) is also a fundraiser for another local non-profit.  Ten percent of ticket sales to this single performance of Candide will be donated to Lost & Found Grief Center, which provides grief support services in a safe and supportive environment for children, their families, and adults who are grieving the loss of a loved one.

(Poster design courtesy Springfield Regional Opera)

One of two opera productions in Springfield next weekend (you can read and hear about the other one here) comes courtesy of Springfield Regional Opera.

(Poster design courtesy Springfield Regional Opera)

Springfield Regional Opera opens their new season celebrating the Leonard Bernstein centennial with a performance of "Trouble in Tahiti" tonight (Sept.28) at 7:30pm in Clara Thompson Hall at Drury University.  Opening the evening will be Samuel Barber's short (VERY short!) opera "A Hand of Bridge."

Claire Kidwell / KSMU

Dress rehearsals for Springfield Regional Opera’s production of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” are underway ahead of its opening weekend; the show opens Friday. 

And the people who make up the chorus have a wide variety of other occupations.

KSMU’s Claire Kidwell is one member, and has this first-person account of being an opera chorus member in Springfield.

Music has always been a passion of mine, so when I found out I could sing in the chorus of one of my favorite operas, I jumped on the chance.

(Poster design courtesy Springfield Regional Opera)

Love... magic... destiny.  Springfield Regional Opera presents a much-loved operatic fairy tale for young and old, Mozart's "The Magic Flute", Friday and Saturday April 13 and 14 at 7:30pm at the Gillioz Theatre, 325 Park Central East.   I talked with SRO’s Artistic Director Michael Spyres about the production.  The well-known tenor is not performing in it (he just got back to Springfield from a stint singing the lead role of Vasco de Gama in Frankfurt Opera’s production of Meyerbeer’s “L’Africaine”)—but his wife AND his brother are both in “Magic Flute.”

(Photo courtesy Limmie Pulliam)

It’s hard to believe, but Springfield Regional Opera has been in operation for 36 years.  And to open their 37th season, SRO is producing an opera I, frankly, never expected them to attempt, but have always wished they could produce: Verdi’s Shakespearean masterpiece Otello.  But they’ve found a cast that can sing the work—particularly the problematic title role—and a way to perform it as economically as possible: in a semi-staged concert version, with the orchestra on the stage.  And they’re only doing one performance: Saturday October 7th at 8:00pm in the Juanita K.

(Poster design courtesy Springfield Regional Opera)

March 11th and 12th Springfield Regional Opera presents an opera you can’t refuse! It’s an updated version of Donizetti’s comic masterpiece “Don Pasquale.” “The Don” is a wealthy older man who decides to teach his lecherous nephew a lesson, but is then tricked by his friend into unwittingly agreeing to marry Norina, who is also the love of his nephew’s life AND the sister of Pasquale's friend. Hijinks ensue as the sham marriage is embraced and everyone turns “The Don’s” Italian restaurant, and life, upside down to teach him a lesson.

(photo courtesy Springfield Regional Opera Guild)

Springfield Regional Opera Guild’s 18th Annual Hat Luncheon, a fundraiser for Springfield Regional Opera, will take place Saturday Sept.24 from 11:30am to 1:00pm in the Sunset Room at the Tower Club, 901 E. St. Louis Street. 

(Poster design courtesy Springfield Regional Opera)

Springfield Regional Opera has been rejuvenated this season by the additions of world-renowned tenor Michael Spyres--himself an SRO alum, originally from Mansfield, Missouri--as the company's Artistic Director, and Christopher Koch of the Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra as the new SRO Music Director and Conductor.

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