Opera West, Utah Valley's opera company which has enjoyed successful productions including "Aida," "Carmen," "H.M.S. Pinafore," and its annual "Amahl and the Night Visitors," has canceled the remainder of its 1987-88 season.
Gay Parvis, who took over as artistic director last fall when founding director Gene Larsson moved to Arizona, cited both a lack of money and community support. Hence the scheduled May production of "The Mikado" will not be performed.Vocal soloists and a live orchestra had been lined up, and "several members of the board still wanted to go ahead with `The Mikado,' " said Parvis, "but I can't mount a production with no funds. It's dishonest to hire people you can't pay." She stressed that the company owes no one money at this point, and she'd rather keep it that way.
The opera company comes under the Springville Arts Commission, which has supported it with grants for "Amahl" and other productions in recent years. But money alone will not solve the problems, Parvis noted. It's just hard to get people out to opera.
This season's production of "Amahl," although well staged and sung, drew a dismally small audience in the massive Springville High auditorium in its opening performances. It didn't do much better in the Provo Tabernacle. The February fund-raiser concert, featuring some of the area's finest singers in a varied program, didn't make enough money to cover the cost of renting the building.
Opera West has done numerous free programs for schools, clubs, and senior citizens in Utah Valley to introduce people to opera and promote the company's productions. "They love it," Parvis said, "but they don't come and pay money to see it."
Last week, Parvis had a letter from Arco, Idaho, where the company toured with the cast of "Amahl" last year and enjoyed full houses in three small towns. The letter writer, from the town's arts council, told Parvis it wants the company to bring another production in.
"But that's not happening here in Provo," she said. "Why? I can tour almost anything out of town and do better than we can do here."
Conversely, local people flock to see performers from outside the state, simply, it seems, because they're not local, she said. "If Opera West toured all the time, we could be successful."