23 Feb 2018

Every Voice Tells a Story – Memories of the Utah Opera

Every voice tells a story—and for 40 years, members of our community have been telling ours. Here are some memories of the Utah Opera people have shared with us over the years.
Paula Fowler (Director of Education and Community Outreach for Utah Opera | Utah Symphony)
All of the Arts, I think, are opportunities for us to reflect. To enjoy beauty in our lives. To be amazed at the human voice, which is my favorite part of Opera. That sense of wonder, and getting a little bit of distance from our lives. Having that live professional experience in Utah—it’s the community I grew up in—it means the world that we don’t have to travel to someplace else. That the talent can be here, sometimes it’s brought in but it also exists here and we can make things of beauty together in our lives. There’s something about not just watching on DVD or in a movie theater, it’s living with us and we can be there in a half hour … and be away, and think, and consider, and travel in our imaginations, and see beauty.
John & Christa Bates
Glade wanted to give an opportunity for local singers to perform with professionals from out of state. All of our children were involved with the opera and it was a wonderful opportunity for them growing up. We had a lot of fun. It was like a family. In the early days we’d have two or three outside singers—Glade’s idea was they’d be able to pass along their experience.
Phaedra Johnson (Twitter: @phaedra_johnson)
I think my best memory is about the last production, “La bohème.” I was initially hesitant to see it because I saw it in San Francisco last summer … I was worried that I would compare the two and the Utah Opera version wouldn’t be as good. To my delight it was just as good if not better! … I was so impressed with every aspect of the production and I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Utah Opera could hold its own with any other opera company in the US. Salt Lake City is lucky to have such a great organization!
Robert Tweten (Conductor, “La bohème” 2017)
It’s definitely been a younger audience than you see in a lot of places…to the point where they’re clapping like CRAZILY when Scarpia gets murdered … the point is, they’re REALLY in it! I think that’s from getting young people into the theatre and I don’t know that you see a payoff for a number of years, you know, from all the education they’re doing but I’m sure it’s a very valid and important thing.
Another nice thing is that we have the Utah Symphony, which work together as an ensemble all year. I’m sure for them there are difficulties with being with the same people day-in and day-out … that’s a tricky thing about orchestras. But from my standpoint as a conductor, I’m not working with like a pickup orchestra or some opera orchestras (there are many good opera orchestras I’ve worked with) but in regional companies they don’t necessarily do enough productions in a year to really get a rhythm going?
It is really special in these days and times to have a company doing work like this with this quality … not just the singers and orchestras, but the attention to costumes and sets and to try and do it in the best possible way. It’s pretty lucky, and I hope that the people here are getting what a treasure they have here with this company.