REVIEWS: The Grapes of Wrath

Opera Theatre of Saint Louis

"In his OTSL debut, conductor Christopher Allen, winner of the 2017 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award, was impressive in his command of the score and maintaining a good balance with the stage. The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra overcame the acoustical handicaps of the Loretto-Hilton’s pit to give a first-rate performance."
Sarah Bryan Miller, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"There was a lot to like about this “Grapes of Wrath"... Christopher Allen (recently heard in Washington leading “The Daughter of the Regiment”) conducted with energy, bringing out the colors of the score."
Anne Midgette, Washington Post

"In the pit, Conductor Christopher Allen ruled with a sure hand and a full heart, wringing passion and pathos out of his musicians in equal measure. Maestro Allen not only embraced the sweeping cinematic phrases, he also injected sass and wit into the folk-like sections. Best, he managed to support and propel the soloists as they strove unrestrained to reach the emotional jugular in their arias and confrontations. He expertly shepherded the opera’s immense forces, including Cory John Franklin’s meticulously prepared chorus."
James Sohre, Opera Today

"Bravos to the conductor Christopher Allen for authoritatively managing the many shifts of idiom and emotion."
Scott Cantrell, Opera Magazine

“This version can keep an audience absorbed throughout. Certainly, conductor Christopher Allen engages members of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra in a compelling reading of Gordon’s highly listenable and unmistakably American score... Hints of folk music, bluegrass, blues, gospel and jazz permeate Gordon’s affecting music which distinctly matches the subject matter.”
Mark Bretz, Ladue News

"Christopher Allen conducted this complex score with fervor and panache."
Eric A. Gordon, People's World

"Standouts included...Christopher Allen as the capable conductor."
Heidi Waleson, Wall Street Journal

"The orchestra (made up of members of the St. Louis Symphony) and chorus perform with strength and dedication under conductor Christopher Allen."
John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune

"Normally, Gordon's music favors a billowing arioso style, with the orchestra under Christopher Allen's precise direction supporting the singers with sometimes crunchy  harmonies (the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra is in the pit)."
Jay Harvey, Upstage

"The St. Louis Symphony under Christopher Allen are worthy of a piece that deserves the best."
Gerry Kowarsky, Two on the Aisle

"Opera Theatre is presenting its American debut here, and St. Louis is fortunate to have it. In all aspects, from the skillful interpretation of the score by conductor Christopher Allen and the artists of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, to the singing by cast and chorus, it is outstanding and troubling — a tale sung for our time as well as the Depression."
Robert W. Duffy, St. Louis Magazine

“Conductor Christopher Allen and his St. Louis Symphony musicians do every honor to all the nuances, the vivid life, the complexities of this rich score.”
Steve Callahan, Broadway World Opera

"Christopher Allen’s musical prowess perfectly frames the immensely talented ensemble with a score that is, for the most part, haunting and wistful."
Rob Levy, Review St. Louis