After having to cut their last season short, the Utah Opera is returning to the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theater for live performances in the 2021-22 season.
“One of the things I miss most about live theater is our audience,” Christopher McBeth, artistic director of the Utah Opera, said during a Facebook livestream announcing the upcoming season. “I miss the communal feeling of seeing something spectacular on stage.”
The Utah Opera will start the season in October with Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville.” This opera was supposed to be performed during the 2020-21 season. However, in March of 2020, the Utah Opera had to cancel the show the day before their final dress rehearsal due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I can’t think of a better production to start coming back to live theater,” Sarah Coit, who plays Rosina in the production, said. “It’s so colorful and so much fun.”
Kathleen Sykes, social media manager for the Utah Symphony and Utah Opera, said people on Twitter were upset that no one would be able to see the production. She said she is excited that the opera will finally be able to put on the production for a live audience.
Along with more well-known operas, the Utah Opera hopes to start including more lesser-known and recently composed operas. In January 2022, the opera will premiere the 1998 contemporary opera “Flight” by Jonathan Dove and April De Angelis. It will be conducted by guest conductor Robert Tweten, with Kristine McIntyre as stage director.
“Presenting contemporary works is both important and necessary for the health of opera and the interests of our patrons,” McBeth said. “If one looks at the regularly-performed cherished classics, one sees that the music and stories had relevance to their audience.”
McBeth compared “Flight” to Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro,” saying that, while both operas are comedies, they also explore real-life issues.
“While it entertains, this opera also shows how the art form can help us understand the people around us,” McBeth said.
Even though live performances are coming back, the season will not be the same as in the past. Seating is limited, social distancing will be enforced and masks are still required during the performances.
After “The Barber of Seville” in October and “Flight” in January, the Utah Opera plans to present Puccini’s “Tosca” in March and Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance” in May.
Single-performance tickets will go on sale June 15.