If singing is your preference, you can either listen or participate, for Salt Lake abounds in good choral organizations, plus a young, energetic opera company.
THE UTAH OPERA, now in its 11th season, is flourishing as one of the nation's fastest growing and most progressive regional companies, under general director Glade Peterson. For its three productions a year, U.O. imports outstanding national singers, stage directors and conductors, supported by an infrastructure of local chorus, comprimario singers and staging staff.Sellouts are frequent at its Capitol Theater home, and performances have been increased this year from four to five, including a Sunday matinee, all featuring Supertitles (simultaneous translation). Utah Opera opens its season On Oct. 13 with "Lucia di Lammermoor," starring Roberta Peters. Individual tickets from $30-$10 and season tickets are on sale at the theater, 533-6494.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir makes its headquarters on Temple Square. While not a concert-oriented organization, being preoccupied with its broadcasts, touring and recording, the choir offers many attractions to local music lovers.
Visitors are welcome at the Thursday night rehearsal on Temple Square, where conductor Jerold Ottley greets the audience. If you wish to hear the Tabernacle Choir's weekly broadcast on Sunday morning, be in your seat by 9:15 a.m., ready for the 9:30 starting time. A favorite holiday attraction is the choir's two Christmas concerts; all choir events are free.
The Mormon Youth Symphony and Chorus, with a combined membership of about 350, also practice and appear in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, in formal fall, Christmas and spring concerts, though they offer many more events throughout the year, including a summer pops series. Robert Bowden conducts these free events.
The Oratorio Society of Utah presents the area's definitive "Messiah," this year for the 73rd time, in the Tabernacle, with national soloists and massive chorus prepared by Morris Lee. The Utah Symphony accompanies, with a guest conductor.
If you prefer a do-it-yourself "Messiah," plan on the free Sing-In sponsored by the Utah Symphony Chorus, traditionally held on the Sunday following Thanksgiving in Symphony Hall, with prominent local soloists and the Utah Chamber Orchestra.
Other choral groups of note in the valley include the Salt Lake Symphonic Choir, founded in 1949 by a group of South High School alumni who didn't want to give up singing under South music director Armont Willardsen. Now more than 100 strong and directed by George Welch, this classy group annually sings a Christmas concert at the Cathedral of the Madeleine, and a spring concert at Taylorsville High School. Their biennial tours take them all over the United States and Canada, as the nation's largest independent touring choir.
Pro Musica Chorus and Orchestra, a chamber ensemble, performs fall and spring concerts featuring unusual repertory from the masters and major choral works, usually at the First Presbyterian Church, conducted by John Marlowe Neilson.