A new production of Jake Heggie's "Moby-Dick" is the highlight of Utah Opera's 2017-18 season, a celebration of the company's 40th anniversary.
The other three shows are proven favorites that pay tribute to the company's roots. Artistic director Christopher McBeth noted that all three have some connection to company founder Glade Peterson, who died in 1991. Beyond that, "these are four large orchestra pieces," McBeth said. "They'll show off the entirety of the company."
The season opens with "La bohème," playing Oct. 7-15 in the Capitol Theatre. The ever-popular Puccini opera was the first production staged by Utah Opera in 1978, with Peterson starring as the poet Rodolfo. The company has produced "La bohème" five times since, most recently in 2010. This year's cast will include soprano Nicole Heaston, last seen here as Countess Almaviva in "The Marriage of Figaro," as Mimì; baritone Michael Adams as Marcello; and soprano Celena Shafer, a Utah favorite, as Musetta. Robert Tweten and Kathleen Clawson, also Utah Opera regulars, will conduct the Utah Symphony and direct the stage action. The set was created in Utah Opera's scene shop and has been rented out to companies all over the United States, but this will be its first appearance on the Capitol Theatre stage. New Utah Symphony | Utah Opera CEO Paul Meecham said he'd like the company to showcase more of its own production work.