In 1914, city leaders looked for ways to bridge the social gulf in St. Louis by staging a 4-hour show on the area’s heritage in Forest Park. For four nights from May 28 to June 1, 1914, it played to immense crowds across a wide stage at the foot of Art Hill. Estimates put total attendance at more than 400,000. On opening night, about 75,000 persons showed up. The Pageant and Masque inspired the creation of the Municipal Opera, which opened its 93rd season Monday night in Forest Park. St. Louis Post Dispatch
Also, here is a news feature on the history behind this grand scale event. It’s worth watching. (x)
I had seen some of the photos from The St. Louis Pageant and Masque previously but there is a wonderful slideshow in the link provided above and I’ve attached a few of them here. It’s possible that Agnes attended the event with a school group indicating that she was in “Room 3” on her pamphlet. The event may have furthered her desire to pursue a career in dramatics, so that when her friend asked her to skip school to audition for the Municipal Opera Company she didn’t hesitate to go along. What a huge event for a young 13 year old girl with a flair for the arts to witness.
The St. Louis Municipal Opera Company was formally established in 1917 just prior to the opening of the show “Aida” and Agnes would later say she was a part of that production. I could only find a newspaper clipping of some of the principal Aida players photographed but it’s still fun to see some of the performers that might’ve helped showed her some of the ropes in those very early days.
Here, too, are some photos taken of performers and ballet dancers of the Municipal Opera Company in the 1920’s by photographer Martin Schweig . There are also some studio shots in the blog series. Martin Schweig’s studio was on Delmar! The owner of the blog doesn’t want photos copied elsewhere so here is a link. (X)
Agnes Moorehead and Patricia Reardon perform roles of Queen Elizabeth and the Princess on a radio broadcast of “March of Time”, c. 1937
Agnes Moorehead │ How the West Was Won, 1962