Utah Opera's 40th Anniversary Season Continues With a Double-Bill Performance of Leoncavallo's "Pagliacci" and Puccini's "Gianni Schicchi"

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (February 14, 2018)—Utah Opera’s 40th anniversary season continues with a celebratory double-score production of Leoncavallo’s “Pagliacci” and Puccini’s “Gianni Schicchi.” The shows will be performed five times at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre on March 10, 12, 14, 16 at 7:30 PM, and March 18th at 2 PM. Tickets, priced from $15-$105, are available for purchase through www.utahopera.org or by calling (801) 533-6683.

Enjoy a sensational performance of some of opera’s most beloved music, directed by Tara Faircloth. Under the baton of Timothy Myers, the performance begins with “Pagliacci,” Leoncavallo’s emotionally intense masterpiece of passion, infidelity, and murder featuring Canio the clown—a signature role of Utah Opera’s founder Glade Peterson. Next, heartbreak turns to laughter as Utah Opera explores the lighter side of Puccini with “Gianni Schicchi.” See what unfolds when a man of great wealth dies and leaves behind a secret will, a gang of scheming heirs, and a hilarious mess. Laura Hawkes set designs provides the perfect catalyst for misadventure.

“Continuing with this 40th Anniversary season,” says Artistic Director Christopher McBeth, “we bring a pair of Italian operatic standards into one evening that reach from one end of the narrative spectrum to the other.” Spectacular casts, sets, and two historic operas promise audience members a wild evening filled with comedy and tragedy.

The bass-baritone and “villain-you-love-to-hate…” (“Opera Today”) Wayne Tigges makes his Utah Opera debut in both scores as Tonio and Gianni Schicchi. Tenor Scott Piper returns after his role in the 2008 production of “Madame Butterfly” to play Canio. Utah native and rising opera star Marina Costa-Jackson plays Nedda and Lauretta. Tenor and “vocal powerhouse” (“The Los Angeles Times”) Aaron Blake returns to Utah Opera as Beppe and Rinucchio. Baritone Michael Adams returns after playing Marcello in the 2017 production of “La bohème” as Silvio and Betto. Melissa Parks returns to play Zita, and Patrick Blackwell returns as Simone. Utah Opera Resident Artists Abigail Rethwisch, Christopher Oglesby, Melanie Ashkar, and Jesús Vicente Murillo take part in the performance as well.

Ms. Rethwisch will play Nella, Mr. Oglesby Gherardo, Ms. Ashkar La Ciesca, and Mr. Murillo Ser Amantio di Nicolao. The two performances will also feature Choristers from The Madeline Choir School and the Utah Opera Chorus. Tara Faircloth returns as stage director after the 2016 production of “Carmen.” Timothy Myers makes his Utah Opera debut as conductor. Set designer Laura Hawkes too makes her Utah Opera debut. This performance will last approximately 2 and a half hours with one intermission.


Learn Before You Go Utah Symphony | Utah Opera's education and community outreach department facilitates an online "learn before you go" series prior to each opera. Online learning materials are prepared by music professors at local universities including Utah Valley University, University of Utah, and Brigham Young University. Materials are created by Utah Opera Principal Coach Dr. Carol Anderson They are available online at www.utahopera.org/onlinelearning.

Libretti & Libations Utah Opera presents Libretti & Libations, a promotion with Salt Lake City's and Park City's top mixologists offering craft cocktails inspired by the storyline and characters of each opera. Participants are encouraged to post photos of the craft cocktails on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #UtahOperaSips to enter a contest to win a pair of tickets to the opera. For more details about Libretti & Libations and a complete list of participating restaurants, visit www.utahopera.org/libations.

Opera-tunities Night Students in grades 7 through 12 are invited to attend Utah Opera's final dress rehearsal on Thursday, March 8th at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre through "Opera-tunities Night" for free for public/charter school students and their accompanying teachers, and $5 for private/home schooled students and their accompanying teachers. Visit www.usuoeducation.org/index.php/for-schools/opera-tunities for more information, or call 801-533-6683.

Red Carpet Event Opening night on March 20 will feature a red carpet event where patrons can pose for a free photo. Photos will be posted on the Utah Opera Facebook page, allowing participants the chance to tag themselves during their night out on the town. Visit www.facebook.com/utahopera for more information. The starting time of the red carpet event is 6:30 PM.

Opera Prelude Lecture Utah Opera Principal Coach Dr. Carol Anderson will offer an Opera Prelude Lecture, free of charge for ticket holders, in the Capitol Room of the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre (50 West 200 South) one hour before curtain for each performance.

Q & A Session Utah Opera Artistic Director Christopher McBeth will hold a Q&A session, free of charge for ticket holders, immediately following each performance in the Capitol Room of the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre (50 West 200 South.)


Utah Opera Presents “Pagliacci” and “Gianni Schicchi” By Ruggero Leoncavallo and Giacomo Puccini Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre, 50 West 200 South, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84101 March 10, 12, 14, 16 | 7:30 PM | March 18 | 2 PM | Performed in Italian with English supertitles



Canio: Scott Piper 
Nedda: Marina Costa Jackson 
Tonio: Wayne Tigges
Beppe: Aaron Blake
Silvio: Michael Adams

“Gianni Schicchi”
Gianni Schicchi: Wayne Tigges
Lauretta: Marina Costa-Jackson
Zita: Melissa Parks
Rinuccio: Aaron Blake
Gherardo: Christopher Oglesby**
Nella: Abigail Rethwisch**
Gherardino: Jude Payne*
Betto di Signa: Michael Adams
Simone: Patrick Blackwell
Marco: Darrell Babidge
La Ciesca: Melanie Ashkar**
Maestro Spinelloccio: Tyler Oliphant
Ser Amantio di Nicolao: Jesús Vicente Murillo**
Pinellino: Dylan Glenn
Guccio: Daniel Tuutau

*Student of The Madeleine Choir School
**Current Utah Opera Resident Artist

Stage Director: Tara Faircloth
Conductor: Timothy Myers
Set Design: Laura Fine Hawkes
Chorus Master: Michaella Calzaretta
Cosume Design: Verona Green / Susan Memmott Allred
Lighting Design: Matthew Antaky
Children’s Choir Director: Melanie Malinka
Fight Director: Christopher DuVal
Hair & Makeup Design: Kate Casalino

This performance will last approximately 2 and a half hours with one intermission.

A traveling group of actors begin their play. Canio is furious after overhearing his wife, Nedda, speak of a rendezvous with an unknown lover (Silvio.) The play being performed is about a wife planning to fool her husband—a little too similar to the scenario at hand. Canio’s character begs to know the name of the unknown lover, when he ceases acting and truly begins to plead with his wife. In the famed aria “Vesti la giubba,” Canio cries his disappointment after all he’s done for her--rescuing her as an orphan, caring, and loving her. The audience applauds the ‘amazing’ acting, and Canio draws a knife and stabs Nedda, demanding the name of the lover. Nedda calls for Silvio, and when he arrives Canio stabs him as well. In pieces, Canio turns to the audience and declares, “La commedia è finite,” (The comedy is ended.)

“Gianni Schicchi”
The wealthy Buoso Donati has just died in Florence, 1299; rumor has it that he left all his money to a monastery. Family and friends look to Simone, Donati’s cousin, in hopes they too can receive some inheritance if the will can be found. A crazed search begins. The will is discovered by Rinuccio, the son of Donati’s cousin, Zita. Runuccio approaches Zita and begs permission to marry Lauretta, the daughter of Gianni Schicchi. She replies that he can marry whomever he wants once he receives the inheritance. The will is read and their worst fears have been realized; the money indeed was left to the monastery. Peasants Gianni Schicchi and Lauretta arrive, only to be treated poorly by the family. Rinuccio thinks Schicchi could help take the money, to which he scoffs at. Lauretta sings famed aria “O bio babbino caro,” begging him to change his mind. He does. A plan is conspired to move the body into a different room and call a doctor, while Schicchi hides behind the bed. The doctor is delighted with Donati’s recovery, and departs. Schicchi now has paperwork documenting Donati is still alive; he disguises himself as Donati and creates a new will. The family is ecstatic with the potential for inheritance, and starts claiming possessions. Death bells ring from the church and the family is concerned the town has realized their scheme; instead, it was the death of a neighbor’s servant. The notary arrives, and Schicchi dictates the new will, including all the family member’s requests. However, he leaves the house, mill, and mule to his “good friend, Gianni Schicchi,” instantly infuriating the family. Should they say anything, the notary will cancel the will. Schicchi kicks them out of the house, which now is in his possession. Rinuccio and Lauretta stay behind, and Schicchi approves their marriage.


Wayne Tigges (Iowa)
Tonio / Gianni Schicchi
Utah Opera Debut
“Der fliergende Holländer,” Atlanta Opera, Austin Opera, Virginia Opera;
“Cavalleria rusticana,” “Pagliacci,” New Orleans Opera;
“Dead Man Walking,” “Champion,” Washington National Opera
“An American Soldier” (World Premiere,) Opera Theatre of Saint Louis;
“Il barbiere di Siviglia.” Michigan Opera Theater;
“Dead Man Walking,” Atlanta Opera
Daniel Tuutau (Utah)
Most Recently at Utah Opera, “Moby-Dick”
“Amahl and the Night Visitors,” NEXT Ensemble;
“La bohème,” Utah Opera;
“Carmen,” Lyrical Opera Theater
Tyler Oliphant (Utah)
Maestro Spinelloccio
Most Recently at Utah Opera, “Man of La Mancha”
“Tosca,” Opera Idaho;
“Carmen,” Utah Opera;
“La bohème,” Lyrical Opera Productions
“St. Matthew Passion,” Salt Lake Choral Artists;
Beethoven “Choral Symphony,” Great Falls Symphony
Scott Piper (Michigan)
Most Recently with Utah Opera, “Il Trovatore”
“Otello,” Dayton Opera, Hessisches Staatstheater
“Wiesbaden,” Oper Köln;
“Il tabarro,” Oper Köln;
“Norma,” Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden
“Cavalleria rusticana/Pagliacci,” Madison Opera
Marina Costa Jackson (Nevada)
Nedda / Lauretta Utah Opera Debut
“Così fan tutte,” Seattle Opera;
“Maria di Rohan,” Washington Concert Opera;
“La traviata,” Oper Köln
“Otello,” Savonlinna Opera Festival, Bolshoi Opera
Aaron Blake (California)
Beppe / Rinuccio Most Recently with Utah Opera, “Don Giovanni,”
“Die Zauberflöte,” Cincinnati Opera;
“Les contes d'Hoffmann,” The Metropolitan Opera;
“Fellow Travelers,” The Prototype Festival
“Die Zauberflöte,” Komische Oper Berlin;
“Candide,” The Atlanta Symphony
Dylan Glenn (Utah)
Pinellino Utah Opera Debut 
“Il barbiere di Siviglia,” “La bohème,” Brigham Young University; 
“Le nozze di Figaro,” Utah Vocal Arts Academy and Utah Lyric Opera 
“The Mikado,” Brigham Young University
Michael Adams (Texas)
Silvio / Betto
Most Recently with Utah Opera, “La bohème,”
“Alcina,” Washington National Opera, Grand Théâtre de Genève;
“Manon,” “Billy Budd,” “Turandot,” Des Moines Metro Opera;
“Don Giovanni,” “Madama Butterfly,” Washington National Opera;
“Don Giovanni,” Grand Théâtre de Genève;
“Les pêcheurs de perles,” Gran Teatre del Liceu
Melissa Parks (New York)
Most Recently with Utah Opera, “The Marriage of Figaro,”
“The Music Shop,” Nickel City Opera;
“Elizabeth Cree,” Opera Philadelphia;
“Gianni Schicchi,” Salt Marsh Opera
“Brokeback Mountain,” New York City Opera
Patrick Blackwell (California)
Most Recently with Utah Opera, “The Marriage of Figaro,”
“Turandot,” Knoxville Opera;
“Madama Butterfly,” Opera San Luis Obispo;
“Tosca,” Pacific Opera Project
“Mahagonny Songspiel,” The Seven Deadly Sins, Opéra national du Rhin
Abigail Rethwisch (Iowa)
Most Recently at Utah Opera, “Lucia di Lammermoor”
Current Utah Opera Resident Artist
“Die Fledermaus,” The Santa Fe Opera;
“Great American Road Trip,” “Messiah,” Utah Symphony
“Die Fledermaus,” Utah Opera;
“Ariadne auf Naxos,” The Santa Fe Opera
Christopher Oglesby (Georgia)
Most Recently with Utah Opera, “Moby-Dick”
Current Utah Opera Resident Artist
“La bohème,” Utah Opera;
“Cox & Box,” Opera in Concert;
“The Three Little Pigs,” Dallas Opera
“Die Fledermaus,” Utah Opera
Darrell Babidge (United Kingdom)
Most Recently at Utah Opera, “Little Women”
“Gianni Schicchi,” Intermountain Opera;
Utah Opera; “St. Matthew Passion,” American Festival Orchestra;
“B Minor Mass,” Boise Baroque Orchestra
Melanie Ashkar (Virginia)
La Ciesca
Utah Opera Debut
Current Utah Opera Resident Artist
“Suor Angelica/Gianni Schicchi,” Martina Arroyo’s Prelude to Performance;
“Eugene Onegin,” Utopia Opera;
“Los Elementos,” New York City Opera
“Die Fledermaus,” Utah Opera;
“Die Zauberflöte,” Central City Opera
Jesús Vicente Murillo (Michigan)
Ser Amantio di Nicolao
Most Recently with Utah Opera, “Moby-Dick”
Current Utah Opera Resident Artist
Messiah, Utah Symphony;
“Cyrano,” “La fanciulla del West,” Michigan Opera Theater;
“La Cenerentola,” Opera Louisiane
“Die Fledermaus,” Utah Opera
Tara Faircloth (Texas)
Most Recently at Utah Opera, “Carmen”
“Carmen,” Hawaii Opera Theater;
“Tosca,” Arizona Opera;
“La rondine,” Opera Santa Barbara
“Il re pastore,” Merola Opera Program;
“The Little Prince,” Utah Opera
Timothy Myers (Kansas)
Utah Opera Debut
“Margherita,” Wexford Festival;
“Salome,” Florida Grand Opera;
“Samson et Dalila,” North Carolina Opera
“West Side Story,” Houston Grand Opera;
“Sweeney Todd,” Atlanta Opera
Michaella Calzaretta (Iowa)
Chorus Master
Most Recently at Utah Opera, “Moby-Dick”
“Patience,” University Gilbert and Sullivan Society;
“In Memoriam, Marilyn’s Room,” New Voices Opera;
“Peter Grimes,” “Carmen,” Indiana University Opera Theater Upcoming:
“Die Fledermaus,” Utah Opera
Laura Fine Hawkes (New Mexico)
Set Design
Utah Opera Debut
“Eugene Onegin,” Arizona Opera;
“L'elisir d'amore,” Fingerlakes Opera;
“Carmen,” Fingerlakes Opera;
“Replica,” Stages Repertory Theatre Houston;
“Il re pastore,” Merola Opera Program
Verona Green (Utah)
Costume Design / “Pagliacci”
Most Recently at Utah Opera, “Don Giovanni”
Costume Director, Utah Opera;
“Pagliacci,” Shreveport Opera
Susan Memmott Allred (Utah)
Costume Design / “Gianni Schicchi” 
Most Recently at Utah Opera, “La bohème” 
PBS Christmas Special with Mormon Tabernacle Choir 2016; 
Resident Designer, Utah Opera, 1979–2011; 
Mormon Miracle Pageant; 
Utah Shakespeare Festival; 
Southern Utah State College
Matthew Antaky (California)
Lighting Design 
Most Recently at Utah Opera, “La bohème” 
“Pagliacci,” “The Seven Deadly Sins,” Festival Opera; 
“Les Enfants Terribles,” Flight, Opera Parallèle 
For details visit matthewantakydesign.com
Melanie Malinka (Germany)
Children’s Choir Director 
Most Recently at Utah Opera, “La bohème” (chorus master)
“Noye’s Fludde,” The Cathedral of the Madeleine; 
“Tosca,” Utah Opera (chorus master); 
“Carmen,” Utah Opera (children’s chorus) 
“Ballad of Heroes,” The Cathedral of the Madeleine; 
Pueri Cantores Children’s Choir Festival, Manchester, NH 
Christopher DuVal (California)
Fight Director
Most Recently at Utah Opera, “Carmen” 
“Tosca,” Utah Opera; 
“Taming of the Shrew,” Colorado Shakespeare Festival; 
“Henry IV Part 1,” Oregon Shakespeare Festival 
“Cyrano de Bergerac,” Colorado Shakespeare Festival 
Kate Casalino (New York CIty)
Hair & Makeup Design 
Utah Opera Debut 
“The Children,” Manhattan Theater Club; 
“Love Never Dies” (1st National Tour), Networks; 
Assistant Hair & Makeup Design, Glimmerglass Festival 
“Saint Joan,” Manhattan Theater Club; 
“Scare Pair,” LA Opera


Production Sponsor: Zions Bank
Opera Conductor Sponsor: Grand & Little America Hotels
Opera Artistic Director Sponsor: Emma Eccles Jones Foundation

Monday Performance Sponsor:Naoma Tate and the Family of Hal Tate
Wednesday Performance Sponsor: C. Comstock Clayton Foundation

Floral Season Sponsor: Every Blooming Thing
Cast Party Sponsor: Squatters
VIP Intermission Opera Wine Sponsor: Empress Theatre

About Utah Opera

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” and the co-commissioning and Western U.S. premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’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 provide distinguished quality productions that showcase emerging and established artists, celebrate traditional works, and champion the American operatic tradition.

For more information, visit www.utahopera.org.


The Utah Opera 40th Anniversary Season Sponsor is the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation.