Utah Opera to Celebrate 40 Years with 40 DAYS OF OPERA Festival
From hot air balloons to chocolate and wine, Utah Opera begins its 40th anniversary season with "40 Days of Opera," community events from September 1 through the opening production of the season in October as a way of honoring the voices of the past, present, and future of opera in Utah.
The events are the focus of this season's annual Cultural Festival of Utah Symphony | Utah Opera, supported for many years by the John and Marcia Price Family Foundation. For more information, visit utahopera.org/festival.
"Forty years ago Glade Peterson founded this opera company with a vision to bring grand opera to Utah on a professional scale," said Utah Opera Artistic Director Christopher McBeth. "From the beginning, Glade's vision included school performances and community enrichment beyond the productions on the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre stage. Kicking off our 40th season with 40 Days of Opera highlighting Utah Opera's ties to the community pays homage to the great man who helped build the foundation of our company and to all those who've contributed their voices to the story of Utah Opera."
"Every Voice Tells a Story," is the inspiration that will be used the entire season to share the impact of opera on lives-both within the opera storylines and off stage in the lives of artists and audience members. Community members are invited to share their Utah Opera memories at utahopera.org/voices. Select stories will be shared on social media and in opera playbills throughout the season.
"40 Days of Opera" cultural festival events include:
· Utah Opera Resident Artist Abigail Rethwisch performing during the Utah Symphony's "Great American Road Trip" in Springdale, Bluff and Vernal (utahsymphony.org/tours/gart)
· A free presentation on September 11 titled "Music and the Mind" by acclaimed soprano Renée Fleming and University of Utah Professor of Neurology and Senior Investigator for The Brain Institute Dr. Norman Foster at Libby Gardner Concert Hall that explores the connections between music, health, and the brain.
· "An Evening with Renée Fleming" gala concert on September 13 at Abravanel Hall featuring Ms. Fleming, the Utah Opera Chorus, and Utah Symphony conducted by Music Director Thierry Fischer.
· Utah Opera Production Studios Neighborhood Open House including rehearsal observation of the season opening production of "La bohème" and Production Studios Tour open to our neighbors in the Marmalade district on September 21
· "Pop up opera" performances at MokaSLC's chocolate tasting on September 7, during the Salt Lake City Gallery Stroll on September 15, Random Acts of Opera at the downtown Salt Lake Library on September 20, Downtown Farmers Market on September 30, and Park City's Autumn Aloft (autumnaloft.com) hot air balloon festival on September 16.
· Osher Lifelong Learning Class on "La bohème" on September 26 at Utah Opera Production Studios from 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm for $19. Register through Osher: continue.utah.edu/osher/class/osher_982_opera_preview_la_boheme
· Visit utahopera.org/festival for a more complete list and details.
As part of the "40 Days of Opera" festival, Utah Opera is inviting university vocal performance students to participate in the unique "AriaFest17" on Tuesday, October 10, 6:30 to 9:30 PM at Salt Lake City's historic Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theater. University vocal performance majors will present one aria with piano accompaniment on the Capitol Theater stage, and receive individual feedback from a panel of distinguished opera professionals including Utah Opera Artistic Director Christopher McBeth. Three lucky singers will be selected to receive a one-on-one mentoring session with a principal cast member of one of the remaining Utah Opera productions of the 2017-18 season. Participants must be current undergraduate or graduate students majoring in vocal performance at a local university, and must have the approval of their principal voice professor to participate. Each participant may invite up to two guests, and all vocal performance students are welcome to attend and support their colleagues. Free online registration will begin September 1 and will continue until our limit of 30 participants is reached: docs.google.com/document/u/0/?q=ariafest.
Additional 40th anniversary celebration events, including Libretti & Libations craft cocktails inspired by each opera, will be held throughout the season to remember the past and celebrate the future. For more information, go to utahopera.org/libations.
Utah Opera, established by Glade Peterson in 1978, has been part of the Utah community for 40 years and engages audiences through inspiring operatic performances. The opera company presents four annual productions at the historic Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre and regularly partners with Utah Symphony and other organizations for special presentations. In addition to producing classic works from the operatic repertoire, Utah Opera also emphasizes the importance of contemporary American opera, with notable achievements including the 1996 world premiere of David Carlson's "Dreamkeepers", co-commissioning and presenting the Western U.S. premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon and Michael Korie's "The Grapes of Wrath" in 2007, presenting the Western U.S. premiere of Jeremy Howard Beck and Stephanie Fleischmann's "The Long Walk" in 2016, and leading the creation of a new production of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer's "Moby-Dick" that will feature a versatile set designed to adapt to a wide range of theater stages, making it possible for more companies to undertake this important 21st century opera.
Utah Opera operates a full production studios where productions are rehearsed and costumes, props and set pieces are designed, made, rented out and stored. The opera currently has 19 full sets and costumes for 50 full productions in its inventory. Utah Opera also offers a Resident Artist Program, a nationally recognized young artist training program for professional singers and pianists who perform for more than 70,000 students each year free of charge through the organization's education and outreach activities. The Utah Symphony has performed as part of the Opera's productions since the company's founding, and the two organizations merged in 2002.
Utah Opera's current Artistic Director, Christopher McBeth, joined the company in the fall of 2000 and took over primary artistic leadership in 2003. Under his leadership, Utah Opera productions have received acclaim for introducing audiences to the next generation of fine singing actors. Mr. McBeth strives to produce distinguished quality productions that showcase emerging and established artists, celebrate traditional works, and champion the American operatic tradition.