Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A midsummer night’s opera

Special show will celebrate opera’s 10th anniversary

Express Staff Writer

Brett Strader will conduct the Sun Valley Opera’s “Midsummers Night’s Serenade” on Sunday, July 10, at the Sun Valley Pavilion. Photo by David Zwickl

In his fourth year as a conductor for the Sun Valley Opera summer performances, Brett Strader looks forward to his Sun Valley event. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Strader is a freelance conductor. "There aren't as many freelance conductors scattered throughout the world as there are firefighters," he said. "I have being doing it all of my adult life—about 20 years."

Strader works out of his home for the many shows and projects he does. He said his latest freelance job is a recording project redoing some "Star Wars" music.

Strader will conduct a "Midsummers Night's Serenade" for the 10th anniversary of the Sun Valley Opera's summer performances. The show will take place at 8 p.m. Sunday, July 10, at the Sun Valley Pavilion. Tickets are $25-$75 available at

"I've put together a group of singers, four men, to create a new sound," he said. "These are four classically trained opera singers who will sing in a pop style."

Strader said the first half of the show will be famous arias, including "Quando men vo" from "Don Giovani" and "Toreador" from "Carmen." He said the second half of the show will include popular music songs from the 80s and 90s such as "She's Always A Woman to Me" by Billy Joel and "Brown Eyed Girl" by Van Morrison.

"We are bringing in another large orchestra—25-pieces— with musicians from Boise," he said. "I am conducting and playing the piano."

Strader said it's common for him both to conduct and play the piano. He will conduct and play piano for a 40-piece orchestra at the Bear Valley Music Festival in California his summer.

"I think the pavilion is one of the most enjoyable outdoor venues in the country to perform in," he said. "It is jaw-dropping and wonderful. The staff at the resort is as world-class as I have ever seen anywhere. It makes me want to come back every year.

Strader said he loves the community, scenery and everything that anyone likes about Sun Valley.

"If you have never thought you would like opera, this show will change your mind," he said. "These singers are fantastic and highly entertaining. They transcend what most people think of opera. People will know most of these songs from watching television or listening to the radio.

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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