The audience at Abravanel Hall this weekend can expect some visits from the dearly departed — at least on the screen above the stage where the Utah Symphony plays.
The symphony is performing live music to screenings of Pixar’s 2017 animated tale “Coco,” Friday and Saturday, starting at 7 p.m. It’s one of many events in Utah to mark Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, the Mexican holiday during which people pray for and celebrate the lives of their deceased loved ones.
The “Coco” screenings are a confluence of two programs the Utah Symphony has launched to expand its audience base, said Renee Huang, the symphony’s director of communications.
One is an outreach to Utah’s Latino community. “We have a Hispanic task force, and an initiative to bring more programming that touches on Hispanic heritage,” Huang said.
She pointed to a Sept. 16 concert of classical music by Latin American composers that coincided with independence day celebrations in Mexico and four other countries in the Americas. “That was a huge sensation,” Huang said. “We had a house full of largely Latino audience members, and people were on their feet and dancing in the aisles.”
“Coco,” Huang said, extends that outreach, while also continuing its popular Films in Concert series, where the symphony plays a movie’s score in time to the film.
At the screenings, she said, “the atmosphere is almost rock-concert-like. … The conductor almost always encourages [the audience] to scream when they see a character come on screen, or a scene play out that they enjoy. People are jumping out of their seats at certain parts.”
Audience members often come in costume, Huang said. At the “Coco” screenings, people in costume will be entered into a prize drawing.
A student mariachi band from West Valley City’s Esperanza Elementary School will perform “Llorona,” one of the ballads from the film, in the lobby. Food trucks will be parked in the plaza, and people can get their faces painted.
Tickets, from $20 to $88, are available at artsaltlake.org.
Other celebrations of Día de Los Muertos in Utah include:
Discovery Gateway, 444 W. 100 South, Salt Lake City • The celebration begins Friday at 1 p.m., with a special presentation and blessing of the ofrenda. Kids can make paper flowers and decorative papel picados, while watching Pixar’s “Coco.” On Saturday, events include a chocolate-making workshop. Hours: Friday, 1 to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission: Free on Friday after 1 p.m.; $12.50 for most visitors (1 to 64 years old) on Saturday.
Tyler Library, 8041 S. Wood St., Midvale • Conchas (Mexican sweet bread), face painting and music. Hours: Friday, 5 to 8 p.m. Admission: Free.
Union Station, 2501 Wall Ave., Ogden • Food, music, a lowrider car show, a community altar and a performance by Ballet Folklorico. Presented by Nurture the Creative Mind. Hours: Friday, 6 to 9 p.m. Admission: Free.
Utah Cultural Celebration Center, 1355 W. 3100 South, West Valley City • The celebration includes traditional Mexican music and dance performances, food, a beer garden and hands-on activities for all ages. Hours: Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission: $5; free for children 12 and under.
Utah Museum of Fine Arts, 410 Campus Center Drive, Salt Lake City • A daylong celebration includes collaborative community altars, traditional live music, dance and spoken-word performances, art-making, and food trucks. See Diego Rivera’s “La ofrenda,” on loan from Art Bridges. Armando Solórzano, author and professor, will deliver a lecture, “Come Quickly for We Are Waiting for You: The Day of the Dead in Zapotlan,” at 11:30 a.m. (book signing at 12:30 p.m.). Hours: Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission: Free for access to the community altars; $5 for access to galleries. (Discount also available Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.)
Family History Library, 35 N. West Temple, Salt Lake City • Events include face-painting and coloring activities for children, screenings of Pixar’s “Coco,” and traditional Mexican treats. Hours: Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission: Free.
The King’s English Bookshop, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City • Storytime featuring Day of the Dead books and crafts, with drag queen Magnolia Steele as guest reader. Hours: Saturday, 11 a.m. to noon. Admission: Free.
Southern Utah Museum of Art, 13 S. 300 West, Cedar City • A live performance by Ballet Folklórico Herencia Hispana, plus face-painting, sugar skull decorating, food trucks, Mexican sweet treats, and a Mexican-inspired beverage station. Hours: Saturday, 2 to 4 p.m. Admission: Free.
Hunter Library, 4740 W. 4100 South, West Valley City • Conchas (Mexican sweet bread), face painting and music. Hours: Saturday, 5 to 8 p.m. Admission: Free.
Conference Center, 60 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City • The musical production “A Home For All,” featuring “Luz de Las Naciones (Light of the Nations),” celebrating family, cultures and stories from Central and South America — with more than 1,000 cast members, including a 300-person youth and adult choir, a 30-piece orchestra, storytellers and dancers. Presented by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Hours: Saturday, starting at 8 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.). Admission: Free (non-ticketed event).
Coverage of downtown Salt Lake City arts groups is supported by a grant from The Blocks, a cultural initiative of Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County.