The mission of Union Avenue Opera is to provide professional opportunities for gifted, emerging artists and to offer vibrant and affordable opera experiences in original languages to audiences that reflect the breadth and diversity of the St. Louis region. Believing that the arts are vital to the health and reputation of a community, Union Avenue Opera is committed to its urban setting, educational outreach, and artistic integrity.
Union Avenue Opera grew out of one man’s vision for an opera company that would offer professional opportunities for gifted, emerging artists. In the summer of 1995, Scott Schoonover, with the support of the Arts Group of Union Avenue and on a shoestring budget, mounted a production of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and the rest is history. In 2007 a new orchestra pit and expanded stage were constructed successfully completing UAO’s first capital campaign. Over the last twenty-two years, Union Avenue Opera’s repertoire, audience, reputation, and funding have grown as it has pursued its mission with excellence and integrity, offering professional opera in original languages at reasonable prices. Union Avenue Opera has become an integral part of the St. Louis arts community.
Union Avenue Opera performs out of the acoustically superb sanctuary within the historic Union Avenue Christian Church at 733 N. Union Blvd, STL 63108.
Click here for a complete list of past productions.
Who We Are
Artistic Director & Conductor
Scott Schoonover is Founder and artistic Director of the critically acclaimed Union Avenue Opera in St. Louis, Missouri. At UAO, he has served as conductor for more than 60 productions over the past 25 years, including 2019’s Candide and Glory Denied. Other UAO credits include: Lost in the Stars, Carousel, Wagner’s complete Ring cycle (Dove reduction), Dead Man Walking, La traviata, along with Albert Herring and Doubt both starring world renowned soprano, Christine Brewer. Schoonover also has conducted for several other regional companies. Productions include West Side Story, Don Giovani, and La traviata for Asheville Lyric Opera, Le Nozze de Figaro, Rigoletto I Pagliacci, Samson et Dalila, Werther, Don Pasquale, and Wise Women for Winter Opera Saint Louis, and Le Nozze de Figaro, L’elisir d’amore, The Merry Widow, world premiere of Abe, Pirates of Penzance, and The Mikado for Muddy River Opera Company in Quincy, Illinois. He conducted the world premiere of Barbara Harbach’s opera, O Pioneers! at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and regularly conducts Webster Opera Studio performances at Webster University. This season, Schoonover will conduct Les contes d’Hoffmann and The Cradle Will Rock as part of Union Avenue Opera’s Twenty-Sixth Festival Season..
Also active as a choral conductor, Schoonover is the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Missouri Women’s Chorus and has acted as a guest conductor and clinician for several choruses in the St. Louis area. He serves as Director of Music at Union Avenue Christian Church in St. Louis where he has led the Chancel Choir on two European concert tours, and recently led a choral concert tour of England and Ireland in June 2015.
Emily (DePauw) Stolarski
Emily Stolarski earned a Bachelor of Arts from Quincy University with a double major in Vocal Performance and Communications, and in 2010, she joined Union Avenue Opera as its Administrative Director. A native of Jerseyville, Illinois, she returned to the St. Louis region in 2009 after serving as Director of Advertising and Operations at Dame & Hurdle Jewelers in Quincy, Illinois. For eight years, she was active in Quincy’s arts community as a student, performer, and volunteer, including a three-year tenure with the Muddy River Opera Company Board of Directors. Stolarski has performed such roles as Rose in Gypsy, Marian in The Music Man, Roxie in Chicago, and Joanne in Godspell. As a soloist she has been featured in Handel’s Messiah, Schubert’s Mass in G, Mozart’s Laudate Dominum, and Faure’s Requiem. Stolarski is also a charter member of the Missouri Women’s Chorus and singes with the Union Avenue Christian Church Chancel Choir, with whom she toured German and Austria, and, most recently, Ireland and England.
2023 Board of Directors
Marilyn Sheperd – President
Scott Schoonover – Executive Vice President
Jack Swanson – Treasurer
Mary Karr – Secretary
Carolyn Hewes Toft
Joseph Lintzenich – Honorary member