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Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre begins, another continues

Published July 8, 2014 9:27 am

Music • "Les Miz" anchors Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre season in Logan; Utah Symphony salutes U2, Williams at Deer Valley.
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The songs of angry men will fill Logan's Ellen Eccles Theatre this summer. The blockbuster musical "Les Misérables," a perennial favorite of Utah audiences, is the centerpiece of the Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre season. The company will present four productions in repertory, beginning this week and running through Aug. 9.

'Les Misérables' • Patrick Miller, who has sung leading operatic and musical-theater roles with several companies in the United States and Europe, stars as Jean Valjean. The cast also includes Daniel Cilli as Inspector Javert, Vanessa Ballam as Fantine, Tyler Olshansky as Éponine, Patrick Massey as Marius, Stefan Espinosa and Vanessa Schukis as the Thénardiers and Leah Edwards as Cosette. Valerie Rachelle is stage director; Karen Keltner, a UFOMT mainstay since 1997. will conduct.

"We vow to lift you from 'misérables' to 'nobilité' with our production," founding general director Michael Ballam said on the company's website. "You may have seen wonderful productions of 'Les Misérables' already, but I promise you will never have heard it like this!"

"Les Miz" opens its 14-performance Logan run on Saturday, July 12.

'The Student Prince' • Ballam credits the film version of this Sigmund Romberg musical, starring Mario Lanza, for igniting his love of musical theater when he saw it in the Ellen Eccles Theatre with his grandmother at age 5. He's bringing it back to the Ellen Eccles with Andrew Bidlack in the title role.

The cast also includes Richard Zuch as Dr. Engel, Emma-Grace Dunbar as Kathie, Kevin Nakatani as Lutz, Vanessa Ballam as Princess Margaret, Justin John Moniz as Detlef and Patrick Massey as Von Asterberg. Barbara Day Turner, who has appeared on every UFOMT season since 2002, will conduct; Jack Shouse, a regular since 1999, is stage director.

UFOMT will present five performances of "The Student Prince," beginning Friday, July 11.

'Vanessa' • The Samuel Barber opera is another sentimental favorite for Ballam — he sang the role of Anatol early in his operatic career and named his eldest daughter after the title character.

Beverly O'Regan Thiele will portray Vanessa in the Logan production, with Andrew Bidlack as Anatol, Amanda Tarver as the Baroness, Richard Zuch as the Doctor and Kevin Nakatani as the major-domo Nicholas. Turner conducts, with stage direction by Daniel Helfgot.

The opera's four-performance run begins Wednesday, July 9.

'Oklahoma!' • This landmark of American musical theater will receive eight performances on the Ellen Eccles stage, starting Thursday, July 10.

Leah Edwards and Wes Mason portray the central couple, Laurey and Curly, with Kevin Nakatani as Jud Fry, Caitlin Beitel as Ado Annie, Vanessa Schukis as Aunt Eller and Bray Wilkins as Will Parker. Keltner conducts, and Maggie L. Harrer directs.

Tickets for the four mainstage productions start at $13, with subscriptions starting at $42 (for opening week).

In addition, Ballam has loaded the schedule with literary seminars, lectures, backstage tours, breakfasts with the artists, free recitals, an opera competition, an American Festival Chorus concert of Beethoven favorites, and more. Visit http://www.utahfestival.org or call 435-750-0300 for details.

Deer Valley Music Festival

Utah Symphony | Utah Opera returns to its summer home July 4 and 5 with performances featuring the Texas Tenors and country star Kenny Rogers. The next two installments of the festival will pay tribute to film composer John Williams (on Friday, July 11) and rock icons U2 (Saturday, July 12).

Music of John Williams • Jeff Tyzik will lead the orchestra in selections from "Superman," "Jaws," "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "E.T.," "Harry Potter," "Star Wars" and other films.

Music of U2 • Conductor Brent Havens and vocalist Brody Dolyniuk will join the orchestra in "Where the Streets Have No Name," "Sunday Bloody Sunday," "I Will Follow," "One," "Vertigo" and other hits.

Both concerts start at 7:30 p.m. in the Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater at Deer Valley Resort. Tickets start at $32 ($15 for youth); visit http://www.deervalleymusicfestival.org for details.