Opera Theatre of Saint Louis announces a series of four community conversations to be presented with partners across the St. Louis community, examining representation and equity in the arts, entertainment, and media. Each panel event will address a different topic, including casting in the performing arts, leadership in film and television, opportunities within the music industry, and the voice of the media.
The panels will feature Opera Theatre artists, prominent St. Louis arts and media professionals, and leading figures with a national perspective on these questions. The series strives to further dialogue in the St. Louis community about equity, making art, and the responsibility to reflect the rich diversity of our community.
The first event in the series is presented in partnership with John Burroughs School.
Representation and Responsibility: Perspectives on Equity, Casting, and the Performing Arts
in the 21st Century, will be held on Friday, October 26 at 7 p.m. at the Haertter Performing
Arts Center at John Burroughs School, at 755 S Price Road, St. Louis MO 63124.
The community conversation will be moderated by Adrienne Davis, Vice Provost and William M.
Van Cleve Professor of Law at Washington University, and will include an audience Q&A and a reception with the four panelists:
• Soprano Julia Bullock
Bullock returns to St. Louis in OTSL’s 2019 Festival Season as one of the stars
of the world premiere Fire Shut Up in My Bones. A former member of
OTSL’s Monsanto Artists-in-Training Program, which is now in its 29th year of
providing college level voice lessons to high school students, Ms. Bullock has now
given critically acclaimed performances at Carnegie Hall, the San Francisco Opera,
The Santa Fe Opera, the English National Opera, the Berlin Philharmoniker, and The
• Actor and educator Duane Foster
Foster made his Broadway debut in the original cast of Ragtime in 1998 and
enjoyed an extensive national career before returning to St. Louis and his alma mater in
the Normandy School District to revive their drama program and chair the district’s
fine arts program.
• Christina Rios, Artistic Director of R-S Theatrics
Rios’s St. Louis-based theatre company is now in its tenth year of producing St.
Louis premieres of thought-provoking works that demand conversation, offering new
productions of work by such important contemporary voices as Lin-Manuel Miranda,
Rajiv Joseph, and Stephen Adly Guirgis. She serves as casting director for R-S. As a
performer, she has appeared in numerous St. Louis productions, including The
Threepenny Opera, Jerry Springer: The Opera, First Lady Suite, and Into the Woods.
• Opera Theatre General Director Andrew Jorgensen
Mr. Jorgensen assumed leadership of OTSL in July 2018 after most recently serving as
Director of Artistic Operations and acting as Interim Executive Director at the
Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center. Highlights of his collaborations
with WNO Artistic Director Francesca Zambello include the revised world premiere of
Appomattox, the East Coast premiere of Champion, and the commissioning of six new
chamber-length operas as part of the American Opera Initiative Program.
The discussion will be held at John Burroughs School, 755 S Price Road. The panel will last
approximately 75 minutes, with a casual reception immediately following. Tickets can be
reserved online at www.ExperienceOpera.org, or by calling the Box Office at (314) 961-0644.
During Julia Bullock’s visit to participate in this event, she will also lead masterclasses for
students at Southeastern University Illinois Edwardsville and John Burroughs School, her alma
mater. She also appears in recital at The Sheldon Concert Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 8
p.m. Tickets to the Sheldon concert are available at www.thesheldon.org.
Subsequent panels in the series will continue through June, 2019, featuring filmmaker and
producer Kasi Lemmons, composer and Grammy Award-winning jazz trumpeter Terence
Blanchard, and New York Times columnist Charles Blow – all members of the creative team
behind “Fire Shut Up in My Bones,” which opens Saturday June 15, 2019 as part of OTSL’s 2019
Festival Season. More information regarding later Representation and Responsibility
discussions will be announced later this fall.
Representation and Responsibility is made possible in part by the Fred M. Saigh Endowment at
Opera Theatre and by the Sally S. Levy Family Fund for New Works, which provides support
for contemporary opera and related community engagement activities. Leadership support comes
from the Whitaker Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Fire Shut Up in My
Bones is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and made
possible by an OPERA America Innovation Grant, supported by the Ann and Gordon Getty
Foundation. Major production support is provided by OPERA America’s Opera Fund.
Audience development programming is made possible by PNC Arts Alive.
About Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is a spring festival featuring casts of the opera world’s most
exciting singers accompanied by the acclaimed St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Each season,
OTSL presents four inventive new productions in English during the months of May and June. In
addition to presenting innovative interpretation of classics, OTSL is also committed to
premiering new and relevant operas by prominent composers; since its inaugural season in 1976,
27 operas have premiered Opera Theatre.
Opera Theatre’s competitive young artist programs foster the next generation of emerging
American singers; these programs have been a springboard for countless artists to launch
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 Orchestra is provided
by the Taylor family and the late Jack C. Taylor.