Featured Review: Il Re Pastore

Featured Review: Il Re Pastore Props to director Chas Rader-Shieber for turning a frothy little lagniappe into a night of rich theater. Mozart composed this opera (whose title translates to The Shepherd King) for a royal house party at the tender age of nineteen. Fourteen bright tunes and little else are the usual lure of this seldom-performed piece. Rader-Shieber's brilliant notion resets it as a play within a play at a 19th-century English country house. A deliciously subtle subtext about class and destiny, plus just the right dash of humor, turn what could have been an academic exercise into a graceful evening of intelligent entertainment. In a demonstration of pure stagecraft, the five principal singers create Rader-Shieber's new context without aid of a single word or much of Mozart's music. The singing, too, is topnotch, gliding lightly on Mozart's airy melodies, improvising delightfully along the way. Through June 26 at the Loretto-Hilton Center, 130 Edgar Road, Webster Groves. Tickets are $25 to $117 ($15 for students, K-12 teachers and active military, subject to availability). Call 314-961-0644 or visit www.opera-stl.org.

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