First Coast Opera to present ‘Opera Mystique’ at Waterworks


“Opéra Mystique” is First Coast Opera’s inaugural production at The Waterworks, 184 San Marco Ave., in uptown St. Augustine. This otherworldly program features staged performances of two short operas written and performed in English — Gustav Holst’s “Sāvitri” and Gian Carlo Menotti’s “The Medium,” both offering poignant glimpses into how people confront and react to death. Tickets are available at

“Opéra Mystique” invokes mysticism and the afterlife to explore the idea that people believe what they want to believe. Small casts and a small orchestra will offer uniquely intimate experiences, both thought-provoking and dramatic.

“We are thrilled to produce this production in The Waterworks, an intimate venue for these short opera programs,” said Curtis Tucker, First Coast Opera artistic director, and orchestra conductor for “Opéra Mystique.”

Returning stage director Helena Binder (“Madama Butterfly,” “La Traviata”) leads this production.

In “Sāvitri,” Holst, composer of the popular orchestral suite “The Planets,” combines Eastern culture and Western musical elements to tell an ancient story about Death’s claim upon a young man’s soul and his wife’s attempt to delay the inevitable. Holst uses strings and woodwinds to create an ethereal sound that transports the audience to another realm.   

Soprano Lisa Lockhart, tenor Eric Botto, bass-baritone Lloyd Reshard Jr. and dancer Christina Santos all return to First Coast Opera for this production.

“The Medium” by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Menotti recalls film noir in this tragic drama of seances and unexplained phenomena.

The work was performed on Broadway in 1947, representing the first major and international success for the composer best known for the Christmas opera “Amahl and the Night Visitors.” The story revolves around Madame Flora. Does she really help others communicate with departed loved ones or is she merely a shyster taking their money? 

Former Metropolitan Opera singer Heidi Skok makes her FCO debut as Madame Flora, joined by Eric Botto as Toby and other FCO newcomers Kyaunnee Richardson as Monica, Cass Panuska and Torlef Borsting as Mr. and Mrs. Gobineau, and Laura Kimmel as Mrs. Nolan.

Tickets are $40 for general admission; and $10 for students and children. Tickets are available at or by calling 905-417-5555.

The Waterworks is available through the generosity of the City of St. Augustine and the St. Johns Cultural Council. This event is sponsored in part by the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council and the St. Johns Cultural Council.


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