Utah Opera announces 2019-20 season

Artistic Director Christopher McBeth today announced the programming, initial casting, and creative teams for Utah Opera’s 2019-20 season, sponsored by the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation. In its upcoming season, Utah Opera produces four operas at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre: Verdi’s “La traviata” in October 2019, Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell’s “Silent Night” in January 2020, Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” in March 2020, and Massenet’s “Thaïs” in May 2020. Both “Silent Night” and “Thaïs” are company premieres. Season subscriptions are on sale now by calling (801) 533-6683 or visiting utahopera.org. Single-opera tickets go on sale to the general public on June 14, 2019 through Utah Opera and ArtTix outlets.

“Utah Opera is thrilled to open the newly renovated Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre with a season of opera that includes works from the masters of Italian opera like Verdi and Rossini to the new-to-Utah Opera audiences–including the exotic in French repertoire and even a Pulitzer Prize-winning American work,” said Utah Opera Artistic Director Christopher McBeth. “The productions range from the sumptuous and traditional, to a fresh look at an old favorite, to an award-winning theatrical spectacular. In the 2019-2020 season, Utah Opera shows the breadth of what this terrific art form can offer.”

Utah Opera’s production of Verdi’s Italian classic “La traviata,” conducted by Steven White, runs October 12 through October 20, 2019 and stars soprano Anya Matanovič as Violetta Valéry, the young Parisian courtesan who is conflicted by love, lifestyle and health. Ms. Matanovič was recently praised by Utah Arts Review’s Ed Reichel for her “power” and “rich, warm soprano” as Juliette in Utah Opera’s 2018 production of “Romeo and Juliet.” Tenor Rafael Moras makes his company debut in the role of Alfredo Germont, Violetta’s love interest, and baritone Michael Chioldi returns to Utah Opera in the role of Giorgio Germont, Alfredo’s father. Garnett Bruce directs the performance, which features the remounting of Utah Opera’s newly refurbished and ever-popular production designed by Peter Dean Beck with costumes by Susan Memmott Allred.

Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell’s 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Music-winning opera “Silent Night” has its Utah debut when it runs from January 18 through January 26, 2020. The opera, which is based on Christian Carion’s 2005 screenplay “Joyeux Noël,” tells the story of the 1914 Christmas truce between the German, French and Scottish soldiers during World War I. Baritone Craig Irvin, recently at Utah Opera in 2018 for the role of Stubb in “Moby-Dick,” performs the German Lieutenant Horstmayer. Baritone Daniel Belcher, who recently performed Eisenstein in Utah Opera’s 2018 production of “Die Fledermaus,” performs Ponchel, the French lieutenant’s aide-de-camp. Director Tomer Zvulun makes his Utah Opera debut with a gripping production originally designed as a co-production for the Wexford Festival, The Glimmerglass Festival and Atlanta Opera by Erhard Rom with costumes by Victoria (Vita) Tzykun. Robert Tweten conducts the opera, which is sung in five languages—English, French, German, Italian, and Latin—with English supertitles projected above the stage.

“After the international success of ‘Moby­-Dick,’ I am delighted that Utah Opera is deepening its commitment to the very best new American opera with the Utah premiere of ‘Silent Night,’ a prize-winning work that captures a momentary glimpse of hope and humanity amidst the horrors of World War I. It is the centerpiece in a compelling season that, in all four operas, presents eternal themes in new and imaginative ways to shed light on the human condition and experience,” said Utah Symphony | Utah Opera President and CEO Paul Meecham.

From March 14 through March 22, 2020, Utah Opera produces Rossini’s Italian comedic masterpiece “The Barber of Seville” with conductor Gary Thor Wedow. Baritone Michael Adams, Silvio in Utah Opera’s 2018 production of “Pagliacci.” sings the famous “Figaro! Figaro! Figaro!” aria as the barber who is enlisted by Count Almaviva to help him gain the interest of the Rosina, the young ward of the older Dr. Bartolo, who plans to marry her himself. Former Utah Opera Resident Artist mezzo-soprano Sarah Coit performs the role of Rosina with tenor Matthew Grills performing Count Almaviva and bass Kevin Burdette performing Don Bartolo. Michael Shell directs with a colorful production set in the 1960s with scenery by Shoko Kambara and costumes by Amanda Seymour.

Utah Opera’s 2019-20 season closes with the company debut of Jules Massenet’s French opera “Thaïs,” which runs from May 9 through May 17, 2020. The opera, based on the novel of the same name by Anatole France, takes place in Egypt under the rule of the Roman Empire and features Massenet’s famous “Méditation” for violin and orchestra. The role of the Alexandrian courtesan Thaïs, thought to be one of the most challenging vocal roles in opera, will be performed by soprano Nicole Heaston, who most recently was at Utah Opera as Countess Almaviva for its 2017 production of “The Marriage of Figaro.” Athanaël, the Cenobite monk who is trying to convert Thaïs to Christianity and persuade her to enter a convent, will be performed by Troy Cook, most recently at Utah Opera as Dr. Falke in the 2018 production of “Die Fledermaus.” The lavish production, with sets and costumes originally designed by Lorenzo Cutùli for Minnesota Opera, will be directed by Andrea Cigni with conductor Kenneth Montgomery leading the Utah Symphony from the podium.

All four productions will be performed with the Utah Opera Chorus, directed by Michaella Calzaretta, and Utah Symphony at Salt Lake City’s Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre, The theatre closes in April 2019 to undergo renovations to improve seating and sightlines on the orchestra level of the theatre and reopens in October 2019 for the opening of Utah Opera’s 2019-20 season. Additions to the casts and creative teams will be announced at a later date and posted on utahopera.org.