SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Opera knows how to keep things interesting. Announcing its 2019-20 season on Thursday, the opera company proved, thanks to the successes of 2018's "Moby Dick" and this season's "The Little Prince," that they are still dedicated to presenting contemporary operas as well as delivering opera all-stars.
Sponsored by the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, the opera company will stage four operas between the fall of 2019 to the spring of 2020, kicking things off in October in the newly restored Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre with Verdi's "La traviata," which contains one of opera's most famous songs, "Libiamo ne' lieti calici," also known as "The Drinking Song."
From the grand opera tradition of Verdi, Utah Opera will move to more contemporary fare in January, with the company premiere of Kevin Puts' and Mark Campbell's 2012 Pulitzer Prize-winner "Silent Night." Based on the 2005 film "Joyeux Noël," "Silent Night" tells the World War I tale of French, German and Scottish soldiers who instituted a temporary truce during Christmas of 1914. Supertitles for all five of the opera's sung languages — English, French, Italian, German and Latin — will be projected above the stage.
“After the international success of ‘Moby-Dick,’ I am delighted that Utah Opera is deepening its commitment to the very best new American opera with the Utah premiere of ‘Silent Night,’ a prize-winning work that captures a momentary glimpse of hope and humanity amidst the horrors of World War I," said Utah Symphony and Utah Opera President and CEO Paul Meecham in a press release.
Following "Silent Night," the company will return to tradition once more in March by staging Rossini’s "The Barber of Seville," where audience members can hum along as the titular barbers, performed by baritone Michael Adams, sings “Figaro! Figaro! Figaro!”
To close out the 2019-20 season, Utah Opera will present yet another company debut — Jules Massenet’s opera "Thaïs." Now over 100 years old, this French opera is based on Anatole France's novel of the same name and tells the story of the Egyptian courtesan Thaïs and the Christian monk who attempts to convert her. In this production, Thaïs — considered one of the opera world's most difficult roles — will be played by soprano Nicole Heaston, who Utah Opera audiences saw in 2017 as Countess Almaviva in “The Marriage of Figaro.”
Each of the coming season's four productions will include the Utah Opera Chorus, directed by Michaella Calzaretta, and members of the Utah Symphony in the pit.
Capitol Theatre, which will close this April for renovations to improve leg room and sightlines on the floor level, is scheduled to be completed in time for Utah Opera's 2019-20 season opener "La traviata."Comment on this story
“Utah Opera is thrilled to open the newly renovated Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre … ,” said Artistic Director Christopher McBeth in a press release. “The productions range from the sumptuous and traditional, to a fresh look at an old favorite, to an award-winning theatrical spectacular. In the 2019-2020 season, Utah Opera shows the breadth of what this terrific art form can offer.”
Season subscriptions are currently on sale at 801-533-6683 or utahopera.org, while individual opera tickets go on sale to the general public June 14.