Music: Big-League Opera

On hot summer nights in St. Louis, huge crowds—as many as 10,000—go to hear outdoor performances of light operas (Naughty Marietta, Show Boat, etc.) in Forest Park. The St. Louis Municipal Opera is the most successful permanent light-opera company in the U. S. But when opera goes grand it has hard going in St. Louis.

For 20 years a blustering impresario named Guy Golterman pushed and cranked at various makeshift means to get St. Louis grand opera going. Sometimes the singers he promised didn't show up; sometimes the operas he sold tickets for didn't get performed. His hopeful backers nearly always lost...

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