Last week I returned from a fantastic experience and great honor in singing with the St. Louis Symphony. The history of this orchestra is just amazing and it was so cool to see the pictures, posters, and autographs from so many of the legends that have performed with them over the years. I was there to sing the role of Sarastro in an abridged Magic Flute that they did for their family concert series. Apparently, it is a new thing or them and thankfully it went very well. One never knows what to expect from an audience heavy with children, but this group did not disappoint. When all was said and done, we were treated to a marvelous standing ovation and even a return trip to the stage for more bows. We like that.
It was a wonderfully talented cast of singers led by the young conductor on the rise, Ward Stare, the current resident conductor who seems to be taking the fast track to the big leagues. It was a real treat to work with a young conductor who was so full of energy and confidence with his musical intention and ability to communicate it with the stick, but at the same time easy-going and making for a relaxed and fun working atmosphere. The orchestra was simply fantastic. I’ve done a lot of Magic Flutes in full production and various abridged versions and I’d say this was luxury accompaniment, without a doubt. Best of all, the orchestra’s home, Powell Hall, is not only beautiful, but has an acoustic that any orchestra would want for. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the hall practically sings itself. It seems strange to think a space would make us sing with more or less ease, but I can honestly say that a place like that does make it easy to sing. Again…we like that.
Here are some pics I took of the hall. I was told it was originally built as a movie theater. Grander days for the movie going experience, apparently.
Below is the orchestra warming up for their concert the evening before our performance. They were doing Dvorak’s 7th Symphony, A Haunted Landscape by George Crumb (very cool piece), and Strauss’s Four Last Songs sung by Christine Brewer. A very enjoyable concert, for sure. Sorry the picture isn’t quite in focus, but it was taken with my iPhone and the usher lady scolded me with lightning speed for taking a picture .
As one last little offering, I will share something I found amusing. Downstairs in Powell Hall there are dressing rooms for the musicians where each has their own closet of sorts. One of the musicians had the door covered with various cartoons and commentaries. I liked this one so much I had to take a picture.