Magazine article Opera Canada

Opera Theater of St. Louis

Magazine article Opera Canada

Opera Theater of St. Louis

Article excerpt

For 40 years, Opera Theater of St. Louis has done some extraordinarily fine things, but nothing finer than the centerpiece of this year's season, Emmeline by Tobias Picker. Although it was Picker's first opera, it is masterly. It tells the true story of a 14-year-old girl sent from home to work in a cotton mill, where the boss's son-in-law seduces her. She returns home, where her disgrace is unknown, to look after her aging parents. Twenty years later, a young man comes to town and they marry, but he turns out to be the son she had given up for adoption. Emmeline is ostracized for the rest of her life. OTSL Artistic Director James Robinson and set designer Allen Moyer created something not merely marvelously theatrical but also intensely moving.

Joyce El-Khoury sang the title role, colouring her voice subtly between the character's younger and older selves. Her performance was a tour de force--a mix of stunning vocalism and searing emotion. On the evening of Jun. 21, everyone seemed caught up in the terrible drama as it unfolded. …

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