It isn't often that one gets to experience the Utah Opera Company and the Utah Symphony while munching on potato salad.
"Singing in the Park," offered free to all as a gift from two of Utah's premiere artistic ensembles - Utah Opera Company and the Utah Symphony - will be held on Thursday, July 30, at Valley Regional Park, 5135 S. 2775 West. The event will begin at 7:30 p.m.No one needs to dust off that old tuxedo, either, because fans are encouraged to make the event a family picnic occasion. Barbecued chicken, hamburgers and hot dogs can be purchased at the park, or goodies can be brought from home.
Soprano Karen Anderson is now a Californian, but she began life as a Utahn and began her operatic career with the Utah Opera. A native Salt Laker, Anderson attended East High School and the University of Utah prior to launching her career in the early days of the Utah Opera.
According to Anderson, the "Singing in the Park" concept is a "wonderful idea. It makes opera accessible to so many people. I'm so happy to come back to my home state and to what I think of as my home company."
Earlier days with the Utah Opera hold fond memories for Anderson. She worked often with Glade Petersen, the founder of the company.
"Glade was a great traditionalist," said Anderson. "He knew that form, and he didn't want to mess with it. He had the vision of what opera is all about, and he knew it."
A memory which Anderson recalls with a chuckle concerns an exprience she had with Roberta Peters when the world-famous diva starred in a role with the company.
"I was covering the role for Roberta and had done all of the rehearsing with the company be-cause she didn't arrive until the last week," Anderson remembered. "The house was packed on the day of the public dress rehearsal, but Roberta wasn't feeling well and asked me to stand on the side of the stage and sing the role while she went through the block-ing.
"Well, she started to sing along," explained Anderson. "The conductor for the show was Anton Coppola, who has a habit of singing along, too. Sometimes all three of us were singing at once."