Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Sun Valley Opera is more than opera

Top stars, and those reaching for them, come together under the Opera’s invitation each year

Express Staff Writer

The Sun Valley Opera is a small organization with a mighty presence on the national radar. Above are last year’s prize winners of the Sun Valley Opera International Vocal Competition in Seattle. Now in its 12th year, the competition has jump-started many careers. From left are Eric Barry, a tenor from Texas; Steven La Brie, a baritone from Texas; Sarah Mesko, a mezzo soprano from Arkansas who took first; Craig Bolclough, a bass baritone from California; opera sponsor Liz Sanderson; and Frank Meyer, president of the Sun Valley Opera. Courtesy photo

    For years, the Sun Valley Opera has served not only as a stimulant of talent in the musical world but has hosted a variety of entertainment styles, from “Broadway and Beyond” with international stars like Alyson Cambridge to the upcoming concert by Abba tribute band Arrival from Sweden.
    It also has brought the New York Metropolitan Opera to the Wood River Valley by partnering with Hailey’s Big Wood 4 Cinema in presenting the “Live in HD” series, which will debut in 2013 with Hector Berlioz’s masterwork “Les Troyens” on Saturday, Jan. 5.
    Opera President Frank Meyer said this year’s lineup will build on that successful platform, starting the year with a story that unfolds during the aftermath of the Trojan War.
    Fabio Luisi conducts a cast led by Marcello Giordani in the central role of Aeneas, the hero who flees the ruins of Troy for a new set of challenges in the North African kingdom of Carthage. Sun Valley music lovers will recognize soprano Deborah Voigt from shows at the Sun Valley Pavilion, reprising on screen the role of the cursed Trojan prophetess Cassandra, which she first sang in the new production premiere. Susan Graham makes her Met role debut as Dido, the noble but heartbroken queen of Carthage.
    Dick Brown, artistic director of Caritas Chorale, will give a 20-minute pre-opera historical overview of the work in the lobby of the cinema. Doors will open at 9:30 a.m. and the talk will begin at 9:40 a.m.
     Theater tickets can be purchased at the theater box office in Hailey in advance or on the day of the opera.
    General admission tickets are $22, seniors $20 and students $18.  
    Next up for the organization is The Winter Extravaganza, which is being offered for Valentine’s Day, with several events to appeal to all music lovers. The show’s centerpiece is Emmy winner and Grammy nominee Lisa Hopkins Seegmiller and nationally acclaimed tenor Isaac Hurtado. There will be a Diva Party at The Valley Club in Hailey on Monday, Feb. 11, a “Broadway and Beyond Concert” at the Church of the Bigwood on Tuesday, Feb. 12, and “La Boheme” with the Utah Lyric Opera, in the Wood River High School Performing Arts Center at the Community Campus on Wednesday, Feb. 13. Tickets can be obtained by calling 726-0991 or by visiting
    Up-and-coming performers under 35 can compete in Seattle for cash prizes in the 12th annual Sun Valley Opera International Vocal Competition. Finalists will be chosen from applications submitted by March 1, to be decided in a grand finale Aug. 20. Full details about applications can be found on the opera website.
     Stay tuned for more on this summer’s revival of the music of Abba, which is part of the Sun Valley Summer Spectacular, Sunday, July 7.

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