After performing at opera festivals around Europe, tenor Chase Henry Hopkins ’12 wanted to create the same musical atmosphere in his hometown, Edwardsville, Ill. So in 2018 he founded Opera Edwardsville to develop performances, arts education and community collaborations through live opera. A sellout crowd of 350 guests attended the inaugural concert at the historic Wildey Theatre, built in 1909.
“I’m really interested in creating an arts organization that is not evangelical in nature but is actually being developed by and for this community,” says Hopkins, the company’s artistic director. He is also interim general director at Chicago’s Haymarket Opera Company.
Only in its second year, Opera Edwardsville has partnered with Southern Illinois University Edwardsville to offer master classes and children’s programs. The company also seeks to bridge the divide between artist and audience by hosting meet-and-greets with the singers.
Evan Bravos ’13 MMus, Sofia Troncoso ’13 and Julie Tabash Kelsheimer ’11, ’11 CERT have performed at Opera Edwardsville, and Bienen School of Music professor Karen Brunssen has taught master classes for the company.