Opera Tastings – OTSL’s Popular Interactive “Culinary Concerts” – Returns in 2017 with Two Engagements, January 25-30 and April 18-23
From Downtown St. Louis to Columbia, January’s Opera Tastings venues include National Blues Museum, Moulin, Quintessential Dining
St. Louis, MO, January 16, 2017 – Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’s popular Opera Tastings – a unique series of 80-minute “culinary concerts” that serve as the perfect introduction to opera – return this winter.  For the first time since the collaborative event began in 2014, Opera Theatre will host two engagements of Opera Tastings before its festival season: a winter series on January 25-30 and a spring series on April 18- 23.  The interactive events are a fun and delicious way for opera newcomers to discover opera for the first time.  The series is presented through PNC Arts Alive, an initiative of the PNC Foundation. All-inclusive tickets are $20-$25 per event.

Opera Tastings events take place at different venues across the region, each featuring a unique menu created by some of St. Louis’s best chefs, sommeliers, and mixologists.  At each venue, young acclaimed singers perform live music from across the history of opera. Each musical selection is paired with wine, beer, spirits, small bites or desserts.  Each course of music and food or drink is introduced by the venue’s culinary expert and by emcee Robert McNichols, Jr.  The pairings are designed to enhance the flavors of the music, and the music is designed to enhance the flavors of the pairings.  Each menu focuses on the specialties of this January’s culinary partners: Moulin Events, National Blues Museum, Quintessential Dining & Nightlife and The Wine Cellar & Bistro.
The Opera Tastings winter series will reach across the St. Louis region and beyond, with partnerships from Downtown St. Louis to St. Charles to Columbia, Missouri.  The six events of this winter’s Opera Tastings are as follows:
Wednesday, January 25, 7 p.m. & Thursday, January 26, at p.m. at Moulin Events
2017 Chouteau Avenue in Lafayette Square
Menu highlights by Executive Chef Ryan Luke: Wine and locally-sourced continental cuisine
All-inclusive tickets are $20
Friday, January 27, 7 p.m. at Quintessential Dining & Nightlife
149 N. Main Street in Historic St. Charles
Menu highlights by General Manager Eric Sohn: Beer and new American-style comfort food
All-inclusive tickets are $20
Sunday, January 29, 2 p.m. & 6 p.m. at The Wine Cellar
505 Cherry Street in Downtown Columbia, Missouri
Menu highlights by Executive Chef Craig Cyr and Sommelier Sarah Cyr: Wine and “Seed to Table” small plates
All-inclusive tickets are $25
Monday, January 30, 7 p.m. at The National Blues Museum
615 Washington Avenue in Downtown St. Louis
Menu highlights by Chef Jack of Culture Catering: Cocktails and Creole/Soul Fusion
All-inclusive tickets are $20
Doors will open 30 minutes prior to each event.  After each performance, audiences are encouraged to stay and dine or enjoy drinks with the singers at each of the partner venues.
The singers at this winter’s Opera Tastings are young opera stars who have started their careers at Opera Theatre – soprano Katherine Jolly, mezzo-soprano Jennifer Panara, tenor Joshua Blue and baritone Robert Mellon.  They will perform arias, duets, and trios at each venue, accompanied by pianist Lachlan Glen, with music ranging from Mozart and Puccini to Kurt Weill and Ricky Ian Gordon.
Opera Theatre of Saint Louis was one of only nine arts organizations in the St. Louis region that were selected for a PNC Arts Alive grant for bold thinking around increasing arts access and engagement.
PNC Arts Alive is a multi-year, multi-million dollar initiative of the PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.  The goal of PNC Arts Alive is to help area residents gain access to the arts and to help arts organizations expand and engage audiences.
“Through PNC Arts Alive, we continue to help invigorate local arts organizations while bringing new and exciting programs to our community,” said Michael Scully, PNC regional president for St. Louis.  “The creativity and collaboration demonstrated by the local arts community is evident in the programs that will be introduced, while enabling new visitors and residents alike to experience a diverse range of exhibits and performances.”
For more information on PNC Arts Alive and the grant recipients, visit http://www.pncartsalive.com.
All-inclusive tickets are $20 to the four events in St. Louis and $25 to the two events in Columbia, and available online at ExperienceOpera.org/OperaTastings or the Opera Theatre box office at (314) 961-0644. Additional details of the April locations, which will range from Edwardsville to the Cortex District to Chesterfield, will be announced later in January.
All attendees will receive a credit towards the purchase of tickets to any event during the 2017 Festival Season, which runs from May 20 – June 25 and features Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, the American premiere of Philip Glass and Christopher Hampton’s The Trial, the premiere of a new performing version of Ricky Ian Gordon and Michael Korie’s The Grapes of Wrath, Mozart’s Titus (La clemenza di Tito), and the annual Center Stage showcase concert by Gerdine Young Artists.
The series is also supported by the following several media partners, including Gazelle STL.  The series host committee consists of members of OTSL’s Young Friends Steering Committee and OTSL’s Engagement and Inclusion Task Force: Gail Boker, Geoff and Allison Bowers, Adrienne Davis, Mark Kent, Anthony and Laura Lancia, Teresa Lane, Laurie Lock, Tyrrell Rodgers, Jermaine Tarrant, Ashley Budde-Taylor and Matt Taylor, and Kira Van Niel.
About the PNC Foundation
The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (NYSE: PNC), actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of communities in which it has a significant presence.  The foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture.  Through Grow Up Great, its signature cause that began in 2004, PNC has created a $350 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life.
About Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is one of the leading American opera companies, known for a spring festival of inventive new productions, sung in English, featuring the finest American singers and accompanied by members of the St. Louis Symphony.  As of its 2016 Festival Season, Opera Theatre has presented 25 world premieres and 26 American premieres — which may be the highest percentage of new work in the repertory of any U.S. company.  Described by the Sunday Times of London as “one of the few American companies worth the transatlantic fare,” Opera Theatre of Saint Louis annually welcomes visitors from nearly every state and close to a dozen foreign countries.  Although the size of the theater typically limits box office income to less than a quarter of the budget, the company has consistently produced work of the highest quality while never accumulating a deficit.
Opera Theatre also has a long tradition of discovering and promoting the careers of the finest operatic artists of the current generation.  Among the artists who had important early opportunities at Opera Theatre are Christine Brewer, Susan Graham, Nathan Gunn, Patricia Racette, Thomas Hampson, Jerry Hadley, Dawn Upshaw, Matthew Polenzani, Sylvia McNair, Erie Mills, Dwayne Croft, Kelly Kaduce, and Lawrence Brownlee.  Opera Theatre has always been known for distinguished leadership: founding general director Richard Gaddes was succeeded in 1985 by general director Charles MacKay, with famed British stage director Colin Graham as artistic director and Stephen Lord (1992 – present) as music director.  Timothy O’Leary was named general director in October 2008 with acclaimed stage director James Robinson succeeding the late Colin Graham.
Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is funded in part by the Regional Arts Commission, Arts and Education Council, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Missouri Arts Council, with audience building programs supported by The Wallace Foundation.
Generous leadership support for the services of the St. Louis Symphony is provided by Jack C. Taylor and the Taylor family.