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Mastering the ‘puzzle’: Utah Symphony and Utah Opera announce 2014-2015 seasons

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 4 2014 5:45 p.m. MST

Utah Symphony Conductor Thierry Fischer recently announced the 2014-2015 season for the organization. The season will be Fischer's sixth with the symphony.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Hours of brainstorming, planning and coordinating culminate in the announcements of the 2014-2015 Utah Symphony and Utah Opera seasons.

“Making a season is like a puzzle. First, it’s very messy — you have millions of ideas,” Thierry Fischer, Utah Symphony music director, said in an interview with the Deseret News. “It’s a mix between your artistic ideals and what your audience needs and also to keep creative as well.”

Each arm of the Utah Symphony and Utah Opera organization published its upcoming programs through news releases, with a video accompanying the opera announcement. Intersections will occur between the two branches of the organization as Fischer joins the Utah Opera as conductor for the production of “The Rake’s Progress” in May 2015, and with the reintroduction of a Chamber Music Series in Park City that will correspond with operas opening at the Utah Opera.

“This will certainly be one of the most sensational seasons ever offered by Utah Opera,” Christopher McBeth, Utah Opera artistic director, said in a news release.

The Utah Symphony will continue its Masterworks series with 18 performances, 11 of which will be conducted by Fischer. Time is set aside before each of these performances for audience members to ask the conductor questions and hear historical context, rehearsal anecdotes and information about the composers.

The 2015-2016 season will mark the 75th anniversary of the Utah Symphony. In order to celebrate the occasion, Fischer planned what he calls “a massive orchestra project.” The symphony will commence a two-season Mahler symphony cycle during the 2014-2015 season, saluting the work of Maurice Abravanel, who served as director of the symphony for more than 30 years and recorded Mahler’s complete symphonies.

“I just thought for such a big anniversary it’s good to pay tribute and honor him by bringing to life his legendary recordings,” Fischer said.

The symphony’s family and education series will continue with performances of “Here Comes Santa Claus,” “Peter and the Wolf,” “Peter Pan and Other Adventures” and a concert for children with special needs and their families.

“We are making music and knowledge and pleasure accessible and creating the next generation of listeners, players and music lovers,” Fischer said about the program.

Additional highlights include performances by former “Tonight Show” bandleader Doc Severinsen, instrumental group Pink Martini, soprano artist-in-residence Celena Shafer and pianist Yefim Bronfman, who Fischer said is currently the “best” and “most sought-after” pianist in the world.

Meanwhile, the Utah Opera will present four productions, beginning in October with “Madame Butterfly.” McBeth is also bringing “The Pearl Fishers” to the Capitol Theatre for the first time. He said in the announcement video it was one of the most requested operas by patrons. The season will continue with “Così fan tutte” in March 2015 and conclude with Fischer conducting “The Rake’s Progress.”

“It’s going to be a great (season). It’s going to be one where people can see one of the most famous operas of all time and also see two operas that we’ve never presented here in Salt Lake City,” McBeth said in the video. “I think that’s going to make for something great.”

Fischer said everyone from season-ticket holders to first-time guests can experience the “power of sounds."

“We create stories every single week,” Fischer said. “Whatever repertoire, they will enjoy the experience.”

Visit utahsymphony.org and utahopera.org for complete schedules and season ticket information.

Email: wbutters@deseretnews.com

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