Arts News

Summer Music: Utah Festival Opera

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If you haven’t been to Logan for the five-week Utah Festival Opera, and you have even the slightest love for opera, you need to get your butts up there. People travel from across the country for the well-produced festival — brainchild of Michael Ballam.

This year, the festival turns 17 and is presenting the comedic The Barber of Seville, Tony-Award-winning Guys and Dolls, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music and Verdi’s La Traviata.

Also, the festival includes an old-fashioned radio broadcast-like George M! featuring Ballam himself; a tribute to Lerner and Loewe, Musica Magnifica; an eight-handed piano performance; Carnefale Operafesta and Ballam’s second annual international operatic competition.

Ballam is able to lure performers from around the world to the festival, one of the few that run during the summer.

The 1,100-seat Ellen Eccles Theatre, built in 1923, was restored in 1993 to its original elegance for the festival. The staging is impressive and the performers are world-class. Part of the fun of the festival is that lead performers meet the audience after the performance outdoors in the Cafe des Artistes and listen to “informances” given by Ballam prior to a performance.

On Saturday mornings, you can join the festival stars for breakfast. On Mondays at noon, there is a free concert series and, on various days throughout the festival, you can take a 90-minute backstage tour.

More information on this year’s season can be found at

Michael Aaron

Michael Aaron is the editor and publisher of QSaltLake. He has been active in Utah's gay and lesbian community since the early 80s and published two publications then and in the 90s.

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