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Documentary on Ozarks Lyric Opera director’s life to release in spring

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Ozarks Lyric Opera Artistic Director Michael Spyres' career has taken him to myriad countries and presented him with unique experiences, and an upcoming documentary will give insight into his travels and performances across the globe.

Spyres spoke about his work yesterday during Springfield Business Journal's 12 People You Need to Know live interview series. The interview by SBJ Editorial Vice President Eric Olson was held at The Backlot, Alamo Drafthouse Springfield's restaurant and bar.

The world premiere for the documentary, called "An OverKnight Success: The Crazy Life of an Opera Singer," is scheduled March 24, 2024, at the Gillioz Theatre in downtown Springfield, according to OzarksLyricOpera.com. The documentary is directed by Edoardo Zucchetti, a storyteller and opera director from Florence, Italy.

"We traveled to 21 different countries, and we documented my insane life," Spyres said.

"OverKnight Success" pays homage to the fact that Spyres received the honor of Knighthood of the Arts and Letters from the French government in 2021.

Spyres said the documentary would present an inside look into the highs and lows of around a decade of his life in the opera industry.

"It's a very on-the-road kind of documentary," he said. "You have me singing for kings and things like that. But then you also have me backstage at 3 in the morning, driving and eating pizza through the Alps."

A key point Spyres said he hopes to bring to the viewer: "Not all opera singers are boring."

Asked about his work with Springfield-based Ozarks Lyric Opera, formerly called Springfield Regional Opera, Spyres said he has drawn on his experiences in different countries and gained an appreciation of business. It’s similar to his work as an independent professional opera singer, he said.

"To do what I do, I'm basically a CEO and I run my own LLC," he said. "In order to do what I do, I had to learn a lot of business."

Ozarks Lyric Opera, he said, has a current operating budget of around $260,000, with a goal of increasing that annual figure to $1 million.

As to the artistic side of opera, Spyres has dialed in what makes the art a human experience.

"Opera is about the pinnacle of emotions, whether it's the highest or the lowest. This is what opera is," he said. "It is supposed to take the height of what human emotions are and put them on stage."

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