Utah Opera Announces 2018-19 Season
Utah Opera Artistic Director Christopher McBeth today announced Utah Opera's 2018-19 season. Featuring two new productions by the company's in-house Production Studios, Utah Opera's 41st season runs from October 2018 to May 2019 and comprises three main-stage productions at Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre and a semi-staged production at Abravanel Hall.
The 2018-19 season begins on Saturday, October 13, with a revival of Utah Opera's in-house production of Charles Gounod's "Romeo and Juliet," last seen at Utah Opera in 2005. In January 2019, the company presents the Utah premiere of Academy Award- and Emmy Award-winning composer Rachel Portman and librettist Nicholas Wright's 2003 opera "The Little Prince" in a new production built by the Utah Opera Production Studios. The season continues in March 2019 with Utah Symphony Music Director Thierry Fischer leading the company in Mozart's "The Magic Flute." These three productions will be staged at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre in five performances each.
Due to renovations of the historic Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre, Utah Opera's final production of the 2018-19 season, Vincenzo Bellini's tragedia lirica "Norma," will be presented in May 2019 as a semi-staged opera at Abravanel Hall, home to the Utah Symphony. "Norma" will be performed twice in a new production by the company's Production Studios, featuring costumes designed by Season 12 "Project Runway" finalist Bradon McDonald, projected images and video designed by Greg Emetaz, as well as lighting components.
"A great opera season features the cherished and familiar mixed with the opportunity for discovery, and Utah Opera's 2018-19 season meets these marks," said Artistic Director Christopher McBeth. "I'm thrilled to once again have Thierry Fischer at the musical helm for 'The Magic Flute' and to present the bel cantomasterpiece, 'Norma,' for the first time in the company's history. The presentation I am particularly excited to share with our audiences is the operatic setting of the beloved children's novel, 'The Little Prince,' composed by famed film score composer Rachel Portman. It is going to be a special season indeed!"
All new scenery and costumes for "The Little Prince" and costumes for "Norma" will be constructed in-house by Utah Opera's expert craftspeople at the Utah Opera Production Studios in the heart of Salt Lake City. Scenery and costumes for "The Little Prince" will be designed by the imaginative Jacob A. Climer, a designer whose work has appeared at The Atlanta Opera, The Public Theatre, Boston Lyric Opera and Utah Opera's 2014 production of "The Abduction from the Seraglio." Costumes for "Norma" will be designed by Bradon McDonald, Season 12 "Project Runway" finalist and former dancer at the Mark Morris Dance Group.
"Building on the homegrown success of 'Moby-Dick,' I am very happy that we are drawing again on the skilled resources of the Utah Opera Production Studios to create two new productions in the 2018-19 season," said Utah Symphony | Utah Opera President and CEO Paul Meecham. "Further, we are increasing our focus on opera as a family night-out, with two operas ('The Magic Flute' and 'The Little Prince') that will have special appeal to families, and midweek evening performances now starting at 7 PM."
On November 9 and 10, Utah Opera will collaborate with the Utah Symphony in the orchestra's presentation of Leonard Bernstein's "Candide" in concert, conducted by Thierry Fischer and featuring the Utah Opera Chorus. These performances at Abravanel Hall continue the orchestra's "Bernstein at 100" celebration that began last season in honor of the composer's birth centennial. The cast includes tenor Brenton Ryan as Candide, soprano Lauren Snouffer as Cunegonde, and baritone Hugh Russell as Pangloss.
In an initiative designed to build new audiences by encouraging families of all ages to attend opera and symphony performances together, Utah Symphony | Utah Opera lowered the age requirement from eight years to five years, and introduced a Family Pass in Winter 2017 for $30 for a family of four to attend a selection of performances. A Kids Club will launch in Spring 2018 with behind-the-scenes access and invitations to special events to further create excitement and loyalty among young people.
"Romeo and Juliet"
The 2018 Utah Opera season opens at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre with Gounod's "Romeo & Juliet," which was last performed on the Utah Opera stage in October 2005. The role of Romeo will be sung by tenor Joshua Dennis, who debuted with Utah Opera in January 2018, singing the role of Greenhorn in the company's new production of Jake Heggie's and Gene Scheer's "Moby-Dick." SopranoAnya Matanovi?, who made her debut with the Utah Opera in January 2011 as Gretel in "Hänsel und Gretel" and wowed audiences as Adina in the March 2012 production of "The Elixir of Love," will star as Juliet, following recent appearances with the Boston Lyric Opera, Cleveland Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and Seattle Opera.
Long-time guest conductor Robert Tweten returns for his twelfth Utah Opera production following recent engagements with Kentucky Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and-for October 2017's "La bohème"-Utah Opera. Director Vera Lúcia Calábria, whose credits include productions for Los Angeles Opera, Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, and Teatro Real, among other companies, stages this original Utah Opera production in her company debut. Scenery for this production was designed by Eric Fieldingand costumes were designed by Susan Memmott Allred.
"The Little Prince"
In January 2019, Utah Opera presents the Utah premiere and company debut of an all-new production directed by Tara Faircloth and designed by Jacob A. Climer of the delightful operatic tale, "The Little Prince." Academy Award- and Emmy Award-winning composer Rachel Portman and librettist Nicholas Wright adapted the 2003 opera from the 1943 classic children's illustrated book by French author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry about a stranded pilot who meets a curious young prince who has fallen to Earth from a tiny asteroid. The role of the pilot will be sung by baritone Jared Bybee, whose engagements the previous season include roles at Arizona Opera and Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu. Mr. Bybee made his company debut with Utah Opera in October 2011 as the Second Prisoner in "Fidelio" and sang the Usher in the January 2012 production of "Rigoletto," both while studying at the University of Utah. A chorister from The Madeleine Choir School will sing the role of the Little Prince, and choristers from the school will comprise the opera's chorus.
Conductor James Lowe returns to Utah Opera for the third time after leading Utah Symphony musicians and cast in contemporary American operas "Of Mice and Men" in May 2012 and "Florencia en el Amazonas" in January 2013. He previously conducted "The Little Prince" at Washington National Opera, and has also led performances at Houston Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, New York City Opera and San Francisco Opera, among other companies. Also returning to Utah Opera for her sixth mainstage production is veteran director Tara Faircloth, whose credits include two world premieres for Houston Grand Opera, as well as productions for such companies as Arizona Opera Atlanta Opera, and Wolf Trap Opera. The costumes and scenery for "The Little Prince," designed by Jacob A. Climer, will be constructed by Utah Opera's Production Studios. Mr. Climer is based in Brooklyn, NY, and his work has been seen at Atlanta Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, New York Theatre Workshop, and The Public Theater, among other stages nationwide.
"The Magic Flute"
Conducted by Utah Symphony Music Director Thierry Fischer, Mozart's "The Magic Flute" returns to the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre stage after a six-year absence in March 2019. Returning to the Utah Opera stage as Pamina is soprano Zulimar López-Hernández, who made her debut with the company in the 2015-16 season as Susanna in "Le nozze di Figaro." Tamino will be portrayed by tenor Andrew Stenson, who sang Belmonte in "The Abduction from the Seraglio" in his Utah Opera debut in 2014. Baritone Joo Wan Kang will make his debut at Utah Opera as Papageno. Celena Shafer, a native Utahn and favorite of Utah Opera and Utah Symphony audiences alike, returns as Queen of the Night. Monostatos will be sung by tenor Joseph Gaines, who made his debut with Utah Opera in March 2014 singing Pong in "Turandot." He also appeared as Goro in the October 2014 production of "Madame Butterfly" and Flask in the new production of "Moby-Dick" in January 2018.
Thierry Fischer, Utah Symphony's Music Director, returns to lead the orchestra, cast, and Utah Opera Chorus after his Utah Opera debut conducting "The Rake's Progress" in May 2015. The production is directed by Paul Peers, known for his work in theater, musical theater, and opera, including Matt Marks's Mata Hari at the 2017 PROTOTYPE Festival. Mr. Peers was the stage director for "The Magic Flute" in March 2013.
The Utah Opera 2018-19 season closes with two nights at Abravanel Hall and a new production of Bellini's "Norma" created at the Utah Opera Production Studios. Soprano Marjorie Owens, who performed the title role in 2016 with the English National Opera, reprises Norma in her Utah Opera debut. The cast also includes tenor Chad Shelton in the role of Pollione, which he will perform for the first time in May 2018 with Houston Grand Opera. Mr. Shelton debuted with the Utah Opera in 2010 as Don José in "Carmen."
Music director emeritus of Opera Theatre Saint Louis Stephen Lord, named by "Opera News" as one of the "25 Most Powerful Names in U.S. Opera," makes his Utah Opera debut conducting the Utah Symphony musicians, cast, and Utah Opera Chorus. Stage director Crystal Manich, whose recent credits include productions at Boston Lyric Opera, Buenos Aires Lírica, Pittsburgh Opera, Santa Fe Opera and Washington National Opera, returns to lead her fourth Utah Opera production following successes of "Così fan tutte" in March 2015, "The Elixir of Love" in March 2012, and "La bohème" in October 2010. This staging at Abravanel Hall will feature lighting components as well as image and video projections designed by Greg Emetaz, and new costumes created by designer Bradon McDonald, who formerly danced with the Mark Morris Dance Group and was a finalist on Season 12 of "Project Runway."
Subscription renewals and purchases are available online at utahopera.org/season starting February 8, 2018. Current season subscribers have until March 30, 2018 to renew their subscriptions or request seat changes for the 2018-19 season before seats are released to new subscribers and subscribers requesting seat changes. Subscriptions may also be renewed or purchased by calling (801) 533-6683 or by visiting the Abravanel Hall Ticket Office (123 West South Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah).
To request a 2018-19 Utah Opera season brochure, please call Utah Symphony | Utah Opera Patron Services at (801) 533-6683, email email@example.com, or write to ATTN: USUO Patron Services, 123 West South Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101.
Single tickets for the 2018-19 Utah Opera season will be available for purchase starting June 19, 2018.