Dear Utah Opera friends and family,
Welcome back to the historic Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre! I hope that you are as happy to return as we are. The cast and crew arrived for rehearsals a few weeks ago and the feeling of preparing to perform live for you has been indescribable. We’re truly back where we belong.
I’ve long had an attraction to Brook’s La tragédie de Carmen. It uses music from Bizet’s Carmen as well as additional parts of the Prosper Mérimée source text of the same name to take a different look at the principal characters and their relationships to one another. The new perspective this version provides to this often-told story is nothing short of fascinating. The music will be familiar to anyone who knows Carmen (and even to some who don’t think they do, thanks to its use in settings outside the actual opera), but it may seem in a different place or have different context than one remembers. Notice those differences and how it gives the well-known melodies and words a breath of fresh air and new perspective. I find the characters and their relationships to each other sharper and enjoy how the orchestral instrumentation makes each and every instrumentalist a soloist and character in the story.
For this presentation, I felt it proper to feature a cast of artists who were already close to the company and our audience in one form or another. Utah based artist Kirstin Chávez has performed the title role of Bizet’s opera in multiple productions throughout the world and makes her debut in the Brook’s version with us, returning to our stage for the first time since Florencia en el Amazonas. Likewise, Utah native Isaac Hurtado has performed Don José in Bizet’s version, but makes his debut in this version and with Utah Opera. Most recently in Silent Night, Efraín Solís returns for his third production as the suave Escamillo. The balance of our cast is made up of our very own Utah Opera Resident Artists who have been the backbone of the company and its streamed and in-person performances this season. Director Omer Ben Seadia brings the opera to life in this new and updated production along with video and lighting designer Tláloc López-Waterman and costume coordinator Verona Green. Maestro Ari Pelto takes the podium for his fourth production with Utah Opera, the first of those being Bizet’s Carmen in 2010.
Thank you for supporting YOUR Utah Opera over this last year. It certainly has been the most mercurial one in my two decades with the company. Due to your care and backing, we are not only back but looking forward to a bigger and brighter future. For that, I am humbled and grateful.