ANCHORS AWAY and take to the high seas aboard Her Majesty's Ship Pinafore as UNION AVENUE OPERA opens its twenty-fourth festival season with Gilbert and Sullivan's beloved comic operetta HMS PINAFORE. The cast of unforgettable characters that spill out onto the stage share tales of mistaken identity, duty, intrigue, and lots of laughs! The season opens Friday, July 6, and continues with performances July 7, 13, and 14, all at 8 p.m.

More than 40 artists will make their company debut this summer. The seven-week summer season opens Friday, July 6 with a traditional take on Gilbert & Sullivan’s comedic H.M.S Pinafore and continue through August 25 with performances of Verdi’s dramatic Nabucco and Kurt Weill’s Lost in the Stars, a provocative work that addresses the weighty moral issues of racism and injustice.

“It’s going to be a wonderful summer at Union Avenue Opera as we tackle three unique and significant company premieres” said UAO Founding Artistic Director Scott Schoonover. “We’ve once again assembled top-notch casts and crews that will bring these dynamic productions expertly to life. UAO has a successful track record of producing Gilbert & Sullivan and Verdi operas, but I’m especially pleased to bring Kurt Weill’s Lost in the Stars to the St. Louis stage. It’s UAO’s first-ever Weill production and in my estimation, one of his most important and relevant works. This season truly offers something for every fan of the musical stage and I’m thrilled to offer it to our audiences.”

For its production of Lost in the Stars, Union Avenue Opera received a $25,000 grant from the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, Inc., New York, NY. “In these contentious times and in cities where the struggle against racial injustice is painfully real, it is critical that some of what we produce as artists mirror our surroundings and challenges us to see ourselves in the characters and situations onstage. Lost in the Stars with its searing portrayal of 1940’s South African apartheid allows contemporary audiences to connect with these issues, and in a visceral way realize that tragically we continue to face many of the same challenges today. A powerful theatrical work like this one has the power to evoke self-reflection, dialogue and potentially even a shift in held beliefs. While it’s heartbreaking conclusion is difficult to bear, the last moments of Lost in the Stars offer hope for reconciliation and the possibility of a path to understanding” said Schoonover.

Over the past twenty-three years, UAO has grown in artist quality and excellence. Known throughout the region for presenting original language operas such as RigolettoLa traviata, and Wagner’s epic four-part Ring cycle alongside newer works including Dead Man WalkingA Streetcar Named Desire, and Doubt.

All operas will be presented in their original language with projected English supertitles and accompanied by a full union orchestra; all instrumentalists are members of the American Federation of Musicians.

Single tickets are on sale for as low as $32 and subscription packages start at $80. Tickets are available online or call the box office on (314) 361-2881. Student rush tickets are available at the door for $15 (cash only) with a valid student ID. There is ample free parking available.

 If you’re interested in volunteering with UAO as an usher, hosting an out-of-town cast member, or helping out with other tasks, please contact Emily (DePauw) Stolarsky to share your interest and availability.