March 8, 2019
Utah Opera Announces 2019-20 Season
Company continues American Opera Initiative

with production of Pulitzer Prize-winning opera Silent Night
by Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell

Season also includes Verdi’s La traviata,
Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, and Massenet’s Thaïs

All four productions are staged at newly renovated
Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (March 8, 2019) – Utah Opera Artistic Director Christopher McBeth has announced the programming, initial casting, and creative teams for the company’s 2019-20 season, which comprises four opera productions at the newly renovated Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre. Featuring improved seating and sightlines on the orchestra level, the theatre reopens after a six-month closure for the company’s season-opening production of Verdi’s La traviata in October 2019The season continues with composer Kevin Puts and librettist Mark Campbell’s Silent Night in January 2020, Rossini’s The Barber of Seville in March 2020, and Massenet’s Thaïs in May 2020. Silent Night is presented as part of Utah Opera’s American Opera Initiative, through which the company champions and commissions American contributions to the art form. Both Silent Night and Thaïs are Utah Opera premieres.

Season subscriptions are on sale now by calling (801) 533-6683 or visiting Single-opera tickets go on sale to the general public on June 14, 2019 through Utah Opera and ArtTix outlets.

Utah Opera Artistic Director Christopher McBeth said:

“Utah Opera is thrilled to open the newly renovated Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre with a season of opera that includes two Italian classics, a masterpiece of French exoticism, and one of the most beloved and acclaimed contemporary American operas. In the 2019-20 season, Utah Opera shows the breadth of what the operatic art form can offer.”

Utah Opera’s production of Verdi’s La traviata runs from October 12 to October 20, 2019 and stars soprano Anya Matanovič as Violetta Valéry. Ms. Matanovič first appeared in this role at Boston Lyric Opera, and she has also performed at The Glimmerglass Festival, Santa Fe Opera, and Seattle Opera, among other companies and festivals. Tenor Rafael Moras, who also debuts at the Houston Grand Opera during the 2019-20 season, makes his Utah Opera debut in the role of Alfredo Germont. Baritone Michael Chioldi returns to Utah Opera in the role of Giorgio Germont. He has performed at nearly every major American opera house, including the Houston Grand, Los Angeles, Metropolitan, San Francisco, and Washington National Operas. Under the direction of Garnett Bruce, whose 2018-19 credits include Faust at Washington National Opera, these performances of La traviata are staged in Utah Opera’s newly refurbished production designed by Peter Dean Beck with costumes by Susan Memmott Allred. Steven White conducts, having previously led performances at the Metropolitan Opera with Natalie Dessay, Placido Domingo, Thomas Hampson, Dmitri Hvorostovksy, and Matthew Polenzani,

Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell’s 2012 Pulitzer Prize-winning opera Silent Night has its Utah debut when it runs from January 18 to January 26, 2020. The opera, which is based on Christian Carion’s 2005 screenplay Joyeux Noël, tells the story of the 1914 Christmas truce between the German, French, and Scottish soldiers during World War I. Baritone Craig Irvin is cast as the German Lieutenant Horstmayer, a role he has performed at the Atlanta and Austin Operas. Baritone Daniel Belcher performs the role of Ponchel, the French lieutenant’s aide-de-camp, having recently created the role of Inspector Kildare in Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell’s 2017 opera Elizabeth Cree at Opera Philadelphia. Director Tomer Zvulun makes his Utah Opera debut with a production originally designed as a co-production for the Wexford Festival, The Glimmerglass Festival, and Atlanta Opera by Erhard Rom with costumes by Victoria (Vita) Tzykun. Robert Tweten, who has recently led performances at the Calgary Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago, conducts these performances of Silent Night, which is sung in five languages—English, French, German, Italian, and Latin—with English supertitles.

Utah Symphony | Utah Opera President and CEO Paul Meecham said:

“After the international success of Moby­-Dick, I am delighted that Utah Opera is deepening its commitment to the very best in new American opera with the Utah premiere of Silent Night, a prize-winning work that captures a momentary glimpse of hope and humanity amidst the horrors of World War I. It is the centerpiece in a compelling season that—in all four operas—presents eternal themes in new and imaginative ways to shed light on the human condition and experience.”

From March 14 to March 22, 2020, Utah Opera stages Rossini’s The Barber of Sevillewith conductor Gary Thor Wedow. Baritone Michael Adams, highlighted by Opera News as one of its “25 Rising Stars,” sings the title role, while former Utah Opera Resident Artist mezzo-soprano Sarah Coit appears as Rosina. Tenor Matthew Grills is cast as Count Almaviva, a role he performed last season in his Seattle Opera debut. He has also appeared at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Dallas Opera, San Francisco Opera, and Santa Fe Opera, among other companies. The role of Don Bartolo is sung by bass Kevin Burdette, who has been heard at the Metropolitan Opera in Thomas Adès’s The Tempest and The Exterminating AngelMichael Shell, who has directed productions for the Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and Santa Fe Operas, among other companies, directs this colorful production set in the 1960s with scenery by Shoko Kambara and costumes by Amanda Seymour. Gary Thor Wedow conducts, following a season that included engagements with Opera Philadelphia and Pittsburgh Opera.

Utah Opera’s 2019-20 season concludes with the company debut of Massenet’s Thaïs, which runs from May 9 to May 17, 2020. The title role is performed by soprano Nicole Heaston, who has been heard in the U.S. with companies including the Dallas, Houston Grand, Los Angeles, Metropolitan, San Francisco, and Washington National Operas, and in Europe at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Dresden Semperoper, and Glyndebourne Festival, among other companies and festivals. The role of Athanaël is sung by baritone Troy Cook, who has appeared in recent seasons with such companies as the Austin, Florida Grand, Minnesota, and Washington National Operas, as well as Opera Philadelphia. The production, with sets and costumes originally designed by Lorenzo Cutùli for Minnesota Opera, is directed by Andrea Cigni, who has been active in the U.S. in recent seasons with Minnesota Opera and at Spoleto Festival USA.Conductor Kenneth Montgomery, who formerly directed the Glyndebourne Touring Opera and Santa Fe Opera, leads the performances from the pit.

All four productions are performed with the Utah Opera Chorus, directed by Michaella Calzaretta, and Utah Symphony at Salt Lake City’s Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre. Additions to the casts and creative teams will be announced at a later date and posted on

Learn Before You Go
Utah Symphony | Utah Opera's education and community outreach department facilitates an online "learn before you go" series prior to each opera. Online learning materials are prepared by music professors at local universities including Utah Valley University, University of Utah, and Brigham Young University. They are available online at

Opera-tunities Night
Students in grades 7 through 12 can attend Utah Opera's final dress rehearsal at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre through "Opera-tunities Night". This program is free for public/charter school students and their accompanying teachers and $5 for private/home school students and their accompanying teachers. Visit for more information.

Red Carpet Event
Opening night of each opera will feature a red carpet event where patrons can pose for a free photo. Photos will be posted on the Utah Opera Facebook page, allowing participants to tag themselves during their night out on the town. Visit for more information. The starting time of the red carpet event is 6:30 PM.

Opera Prelude Lecture
Utah Opera Principal Coach Carol Anderson will offer an Opera Prelude Lecture, free of charge for ticket holders, in the Capitol Room of the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre (50 West 200 South) one hour before curtain for each performance.

Q&A Session
Utah Opera Artistic Director Christopher McBeth will hold a Q&A session, free of charge for ticket holders, immediately following each performance in the Capitol Room of the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre (50 West 200 South).

Tickets and Subscriptions
Subscription renewals and purchases are available online at Current season subscribers have until April 18, 2019 to renew their subscriptions or request seat changes for the 2019-20 season before seats are released to new subscribers and subscribers requesting seat changes.

Subscriptions may also be renewed or purchased by calling (801) 533-6683 or by visiting the Abravanel Hall Ticket Office (123 West South Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah).

To request a 2019-20 Utah Opera season brochure, please call Utah Symphony | Utah Opera Patron Services at (801) 533-6683, email, or write to ATTN: USUO Patron Services, 123 West South Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101.

Single tickets for the 2019-20 Utah Opera season will be available for purchase starting June 14, 2019. 

About Utah Opera
Utah Opera, established by Glade Peterson in 1978, has been part of the Utah community for 40 years and engages audiences through inspiring operatic performances. The opera company presents four annual productions at the historic Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre and regularly partners with Utah Symphony and other organizations for special presentations. In addition to producing classic works from the operatic repertoire, Utah Opera also emphasizes the importance of contemporary American opera, with notable achievements including the 1996 world premiere of David Carlson’s Dreamkeepers and the co-commissioning and Western U.S. premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath in 2007, presenting the Western U.S. premiere of Jeremy Howard Beck and Stephanie Fleischmann’s The Long Walk in 2016, and the creation of a new production of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s Moby-Dick in 2018 that featured a versatile set designed to adapt to a wide range of theater stages.

Utah Opera operates a full production studio where productions are rehearsed and costumes, props and set pieces are designed, made, rented out, and stored. The opera currently has 19 full sets and costumes for 50 full productions in its inventory. Utah Opera also offers a Resident Artist Program, a nationally recognized young artist training program for professional singers and pianists who perform for more than 81,000 students each year free of charge through the organization’s education and outreach activities. The Utah Symphony has performed as part of the Opera’s productions since the company’s founding, and the two organizations merged in 2002.

Utah Opera’s current Artistic Director, Christopher McBeth, joined the company in the fall of 2000 and took over primary artistic leadership in 2003. Under his leadership, Utah Opera productions have received acclaim for introducing audiences to the next generation of fine singing actors. Mr. McBeth strives to provide distinguished quality productions that showcase emerging and established artists, celebrate traditional works, and champion the American operatic tradition.

For more information, visit

The Utah Opera Season Sponsor is the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation.

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La traviata
By Giuseppe Verdi
October 12 & 18, 2019 | 7:30 PM
October 14 & 16, 2019 | 7 PM
October 20, 2019 | 2 PM
Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre

Conductor—Steven White
Director—Garnett Bruce
Violetta Valéry—Anya Matanovič
Alfredo Germont—Rafael Moras
Giorgio Germont—Michael Chioldi

Sung in Italian with English supertitles.

Silent Night
By Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell
January 18 & 24, 2020 | 7:30 PM
January 20 & 22, 2020 | 7 PM
January 26, 2020 | 2 PM
Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre

Conductor—Robert Tweten
Director—Tomer Zvulun
Horstmayer—Craig Irvin
Ponchel—Daniel Belcher
Anna Sørensen—Abigail Rethwisch

Sung in English, German, French, Italian and Latin with English supertitles.

The Barber of Seville
By Gioachino Rossini
March 14 & 20, 2020 | 7:30 PM
March 16 & 18, 2020 | 7 PM
March 22, 2020 | 2 PM
Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre

Conductor—Gary Thor Wedow
Director—Michael Shell
Rosina—Sarah Coit
Count Almaviva—Matthew Grills
Don Basilio—Kevin Burdette
Figaro—Michael Adams

Sung in Italian with English supertitles.

By Jules Massenet
May 9 & 15, 2020 | 7:30 PM
May 11 & 13, 2020 | 7 PM
May 17, 2020 | 2 PM
Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre

Conductor—Kenneth Montgomery
Director—Andrea Cigni
Thaïs—Nicole Heaston
Athanaël—Troy Cook

Sung in French with English supertitles.

All productions to feature the Utah Opera Chorus and Utah Symphony.

Complete casting and artistic teams for Utah Opera’s 2019-20 productions will be announced at a later date and made available at

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Press contacts:

Shuman Associates | (212) 315-1300

Renée Huang | Utah Symphony | Utah Opera
Director of Communications & Digital Media | (801) 869-9027

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