Utah Opera Announces 2020-21 Season
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (January 28, 2020) – Utah Opera Artistic Director Christopher McBeth today announced the programming and creative teams for Utah Opera’s 2020-21 season, sponsored by the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation. Casting details will be announced at a later date. In its upcoming season, Utah Opera produces four operas at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre: Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman” in October 2020, the Utah Opera debut of Jonathan Dove & April De Angelis’ “Flight” in January 2021, Puccini’s “Tosca” in March 2021, and Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance” in May 2021. Season subscriptions are on sale Tuesday, February 4, 2020 by calling 801-533-NOTE (6683) or visiting utahopera.org. Single-opera tickets go on sale to the general public on June 9, 2020 through Utah Symphony | Utah Opera and ArtTix outlets.
“We are pleased to present masterpiece favorites such as ‘The Flying Dutchman’ and ‘Tosca’ along with the Utah Opera debut of the brilliant contemporary opera, ‘Flight,’ which combines extraordinary music, comedy, and relevant human issues,” said Utah Opera Artistic Director Christopher McBeth. “To end the season with the family-friendly comic opera ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ and its sparkling score and colorful characters is the perfect finale.”
Highly-respected interpreter of German operatic repertoire conductor Jun Märkl will make his Utah Opera debut in Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman,” which opens the 2020-21 season October 10 to 18, 2020. A cursed sea captain, doomed to a life aboard a haunted ship, must find a faithful woman to release him from his eternal wanderings in Wagner’s 1843 opera about finding redemption through love. Märkl’s long-standing relationships at the state operas of Vienna, Berlin, Munich and Semperoper Dresden have been complemented by his directorships of the Nationaltheater Mannheim (1994-2000), Orchestre National de Lyon (2005-11), MDR Symphony Orchestra Leipzig (2007-2012) and the Basque National Orchestra (2014-17). Conor Hanratty makes his directorial debut after serving as associate director for Utah Opera’s production of “Silent Night” in January 2020. The artistic vision is rounded out by Peter Dean Beck’s set design for a co-production by Arizona Opera and Hawaii Opera Theater, and longtime Utah Opera costume designer Susan Memmott Allred.
Then January 16 to 24, 2021, the 1998 contemporary opera, “Flight,” makes its Utah Opera debut onstage at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre with a conductor-director duo of seasoned Utah Opera veterans. Fourteen-time Utah Opera guest conductor Robert Tweten returns with stage director Kristine McIntyre, whose directorial endeavors at Utah Opera include “Moby-Dick,” “Don Giovanni,” “The Pearl Fishers,” and “Of Mice and Men.”
“Presenting contemporary works is both important and necessary for the health of opera. If one looks at the regularly-performed cherished classics, one sees that the music and stories had relevance to their audience,” explained Mr. McBeth.
Inspired by actual events — the forced residence, from 1988 to 2006, of Iranian refugee Mehran Karimi Nasseri at Charles de Gaulle airport — Jonathan Dove and April De Angelis’s opera “Flight” is a timely and topical Mozartian comedy about what it means to be stranded, and has been called a modern day “Marriage of Figaro.”
“Like Mozart’s ‘The Marriage of Figaro,’ Jonathan Dove’s ‘Flight’ gives us humanism fused with comedy while exploring real life issues through characters we know and see every day,” continued Mr. McBeth. “Dove’s music wonderfully captures the nature and spirit of each of the individuals we meet in the opera and their predicament. While it entertains, this is opera also shows how the art form can help us understand the people around us.”
Set designer R. Keith Brumley, who designed the original set for Des Moines Opera, and has also worked for Atlanta Opera and Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and costume designer Jonathan Knipscher, whose work spans opera, musical theater, film and stage, weave a compelling tapestry within an unexpected yet familiar purgatory of an overnight airport delay as the lives and loves of perfect strangers are delayed, grounded, and eventually rerouted during a storm. James Sohre of “Opera Today” wrote that Brumley’s production is “a wonderland of colorful effects” and that Knipscher is “having a blast with some of his best costumes ever.”
From March 13 to 21, 2021, Puccini’s “Tosca” returns to the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre stage for its seventh production run with Utah Opera since its first appearance in May 1978 during the company’s first season. “Tosca” is considered one of the most popular and frequently performed operas in the world, and was last presented on the Utah Opera stage in October 2015. Directed by Israeli Omer Ben Seadia in her Utah Opera debut and joined by three-time Utah Opera veteran conductor Ari Pelto, who last staged the company’s March 2016 production of “Aïda,” the tale portrays artists caught in a world of political intrigue, as well as some of Puccini’s best-known lyrical arias. The perspective painting technique on Italian Ercole Sormani’s wing-and-drop scenery—which accurately captures Tosca’s iconic locations throughout Rome, including the church of Sant’Andrea della Valle, the Farnese Palace, and Castel Sant’Angelo—is a spectacle not to be missed.
The season concludes May 8 to 16, 2021 with the rollicking Gilbert and Sullivan adventure, “The Pirates of Penzance,” with Kyle Lang returning as stage director after his Utah Opera directorial debut in May 2018 with “Die Fledermaus.” Conductor Gary Thor Wedow returns for his fifth production conducting for Utah Opera – his last time was also with Kyle Lang in the company’s 2018 “Die Fledermaus.” “The Pirates of Penzance” production was previously presented during the company’s Deer Valley Music Festival in August 2006, and will be making its mainstage Utah Opera debut. James Schuette’s vivid, colorful scenery that was originally designed for Atlanta Opera will transport you to the coast of Cornwall in a production that has been described as “playful” (San Diego Union Tribune) and “sunny” (Atlanta Journal Constitution).
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. They are available online at utahopera.org/onlinelearning.
Students in grades 7 through 12 can attend Utah Opera’s final dress rehearsal at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre through “Opera-tunities Night“. This program is free for public/charter school students and their accompanying teachers and $5 for private/home school students and their accompanying teachers. Visit utahopera.org/education/students/ for more information.
Red Carpet Event
Opening night of each opera 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 to tag themselves during their night out on the town. Visit 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 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.
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).
Tickets and Subscriptions
Subscription renewals and purchases are available online starting February 4, 2020. Current season subscribers have until March 31, 2020 to renew their subscriptions or request seat changes for the 2020-21 season before seats are released to new subscribers and subscribers requesting seat changes. Subscriptions may also be renewed or purchased by calling 801-533-NOTE (6683) or by visiting the Abravanel Hall Ticket Office (123 West South Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah).
To join our season subscription waitlist or request a brochure, visit us here.
Single tickets for the 2020-21 Utah Opera season will be available for purchase starting June 9, 2020.