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Logan, State of Ohio, Hocking, United States | Festival
Tosca, Puccini
D: Jack Shouse
C: Karen Keltner
Cast: Carla Thelen Hanson, Jonathan Burton, Jeffrey Snider
Utah Festival Opera does right by 'Tosca,' 'My Fair Lady'

Logan • In opera and musical theater, there are few more famous or beloved works than Giacomo Puccini's "Tosca" or Lerner and Loewe's "My Fair Lady." With such material it's hard to go wrong. Fortunately, Logan's Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre allowed these scores to shine on their own without pretense or convoluted concept.

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16 July 2012archive.sltrib.comRobert Coleman
Die Zauberflöte, Mozart
Cast: Timothy McGowan
Utah Opera’s The Magic Flute is the Perfect Opera for Longtime Opera Lovers or for First Timers

Though the high staccatto notes from the Queen of the Night’s aria are almost universally known as the quintessential opera song, Hannah and I had never seen The Magic Flute in its entirety. and often the aria in parody. (Think Meryl Streep playing Florence Foster Jenkins in the film of the same name, where it is sung poorly, and ultimately comically.) Utah Opera afforded us a chance for a preview before The Magic Flute opens in all its glory on Saturday, March 9, 2019. As brand-new opera attendees, we have one thing to say to you–do not miss this production! And there are only five performances at the beautiful Capitol Theatre, so book your tickets now. There is so much spectacle and breadth in The Magic Flute, but here are a few of the things we loved about it. The cultural diversity of the cast is a delight. The lead role of Pamina is played by Zulimar López-Hernández, a native and resident of Puerto Rico. Joo Won Kang is a Korean-born baritone who sings the endearing role of Papageno in his Utah Opera debut. Opposite López-Hernández in the lead role of Tamino is Andrew Stenson, another Korean-American tenor. As is probably known, Wolfgang Mozart’s The Magic Flute, his final opera, was originally written and performed all in German, but for this production, all the dialogue is in English, the songs sung in German with English supertitles. Because the performance is three hours long (with a 20-minute intermission), we appreciated that we actually knew what was going on the whole time. We enjoyed that the Queen of the Night, the opera’s most famous role, is sung by Utah native Celena Shafer. She nails it. In fact, all the singing (Chorus Master Michaella Calzaretta) is completely flawless and they all sing without mics, as it should be. We heard every beautiful note, clear and true in the glorious Capitol Theater’s space. All the music, conducted by Utah Symphony’s Thierry Fischer, is the usual perfection. Stage Director Paul Peers has the performers share the story in perfection, too. It is all a true wonder. The other two things that stood out to us were the immensity and splendor of the set, by Thaddeus Strassberger. It goes up and up and up high into the rafters. It is gorgeous and transported us in the magical world where The Magic Flute takes place. And the costumes! Hannah is an aspiring costumer and each elaborate and wonderful costume piece (costume design by Susan Memmott Allred were by far her favorite part of the production. And the wigs and make-up by Kate Casalino are fantastic. We went to The Magic Flute having done no real research and thoroughly enjoyed it. However, Utah Opera has many resources you can access to help you understand the opera better and enrich your experience. Utah Symphony/Utah Opera’s education and community outreach department facilitates an online “learn before you go” series prior to each opera. Lessons about The Magic Flute were created by Dr. Luke Howard from the BYU School of Music and are available online. Another fun option is the Opera Prelude Lecture one hour before curtain for each performance. Utah Opera Principal Coach Dr. Carol Anderson will offer an Opera Prelude Lecture, free of charge for ticket holders, in the Capitol Room of the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre. With only five performances of Utah Opera’s The Magic Flute, you need to go see this popular and wonderful opera. It is a perfect opera for newcomers to the art, and a delight for seasoned opera lovers.

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08 March 2019frontrowreviewersutah.comJennifer Mustoe

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