Opera Theatre of St. Louis general director Andrew Jorgensen has announced the addition of two members to the company’s artistic leadership team.
Soprano Patricia Racette, who made her directorial debut with OTSL’s 2018 production of “La Traviata,” will join the company as artistic director of young artist programs.
Damon Bristo, currently a vice president and artist manager at Columbia Artists, will be the director of artistic administration, succeeding Paul Kilmer.
Racette and Bristo, whose contracts begin in September, will collaborate with artistic director James Robinson and resident conductor and head of music Roberto Kalb in OTSL’s artistic planning. They’ll go on their first national audition road trip that month.
It’s a strong pair of appointments.
Racette, who is noted both for her voice and for her dramatic abilities, has sung big roles at notable companies, from the Metropolitan Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago to Teatro alla Scala and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. She’s worked with young singers at the Juilliard School, San Francisco Opera and the Santa Fe Opera, among others, with an intensive seminar called Integrative Artistry.
Racette will help to identify and audition singers from around the country for the company’s young artist programs. She’ll supervise the activities of those accepted into the Gerdine Young Artist and Richard Gaddes Festival Artist programs, including the annual Center Stage concert.
Bristo also has extensive experience working with young singers, having taught at LA Opera, Wolf Trap, the Washington National Opera, the Canadian Opera Company and others. His resume includes positions at the Glimmerglass Festival, Seattle Opera and Cleveland Art Song Festival; he’s been heard as a guest on WQXR’s “Operavore” and on the Met’s broadcast intermission Opera Quiz. As an artist manager, he’s represented singers including mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard, bass-baritone James Morris and soprano Amanda Majeski.
Bristo will help to plan, cast, and produce Opera Theatre of St. Louis’ artistic activities, from the regular season to special events and other programs. Kilmer will stay on in an advisory role through the 2020 season; he then plans to retire, after 36 years as an essential part of OTSL’s artistic success.