WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK IN MUSIC (JAN. 28-FEB. 3, 2015)

(Be sure to visit our monthly concert calendar by clicking on “Events Calendar.”)

UTAH PREMIER BRASS, “Return of the Celts,” Kirt Saville, music director, January 28, 7 p.m., Covey Center for the Arts, 425 W. Center Street, Provo, free, www.coveycenter.org.

UTAH SYMPHONY, presented by The Ogden Symphony Ballet Association, Masterworks Series, “Strauss’ ‘A Hero’s Life,’” Thierry Fischer, conductor, Baiba Skride, violin, the concert will feature music by Wagner, Berg, and R. Strauss, January 29, 7:30 p.m., Val A. Browning Center for the Performing Arts, Weber State University, $16-$37, for more information and tickets, www.symphonyballet.org.

CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY OF LOGAN, Trio Solisti, January 29, 7:30 p.m., Performance Hall, Utah State University, $24 general, $10 student (with ID), tickets may be purchased online or at the door, 435-797-8022, www.arts.usu.edu.

BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY, Music Composition Faculty Recital, January 29, 7:30 p.m., Madsen Recital Hall, Harris Fine Arts Center, free.

BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY, American Piano Duo, Jeffrey Shumway and guest artist Del Parkinson, piano, January 29, 7:30 p.m., Madsen Recital Hall, Harris Fine Arts Center, free.

EXCELLENCE IN THE COMMUNITY CONCERT SERIES, Steve Lyman Quintet, January 29, 7:30 p.m., Gallivan Center, free.

BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY, “Winterfest,” presents Vocal Point, BYU’s famed a cappella group, January 30-31, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., LDS Conference Center Theatre, $10 general, 801-570-0080 or 866-537-8457, tickets.

UTAH SYMPHONY, Masterworks Series, “Strauss’ ‘A Hero’s Life,’” Thierry Fischer, conductor, Baiba Skride, violin, the concert will feature music by Wagner, Berg, and R. Strauss, January 30-31, 8 p.m., Abravanel Hall, $10-$69 (tickets are $5 more on the day of the performance), see website or contact box office for information regarding student tickets, 801-355-2787, 888-451-2787, www.arttix.org, for further ticket information please call 801-533-6683, www.utahsymphony.org.

GIFTED MUSIC SCHOOL, Roberto Diaz, viola, April Clayton, flute, Gifted Music School Orchestra, Barlow Bradford, conductor, program consists of two works by Mozart, the Sinfonia Concertante, K. 364, and the Flute Concerto in D major, K. 314, January 31, 5 p.m., All Saints Episcopal Church, 1710 S. Foothill Dr., free but tickets are required, https://www.eventbrite.com/e/gifted-music-school-winter-concert-tickets-15287910552. Note: Roberto Diaz will hold a master class in the Salt Lake Recital Hall, 200 S. 320 East, on January 31 from 10 a.m.-12:15 p.m., free but tickets are required, https://www.eventbrite.com/e/roberto-diaz-viola-master-class-offered-by-gifted-music-school-tickets-15304636580 

MURRAY CONCERT BAND, “Winter Concert,” Dr. Craig Ferrin, principal conductor, January 31, 7:30 p.m., Murray High School Auditorium, free.

NOVA CHAMBER MUSIC SERIES, “Late Beethoven and Post Minimalism,” the Fry Street Quartet (Robert Waters and Rebecca McFaul, violins, Bradley Ottesen, viola, Anne Francis Bayless, cello), performs one of Beethoven’s final string quartets, String Quartet in E-flat, op. 127, members of Percussion Utah (Keith Carrick, Eric Hopkins, Jason Nicholson, Michael Pape, Michael Sammons and Gavin Ryan), perform Michael Gordon’s unforgettable post-minimalist tour de force, Timber, February, 3, 7:30 p.m., Libby Gardner Concert Hall, University of Utah, $20 general, $18 seniors (60+ years), $5 students, free for U. students, tickets online or cash or checks at the door, www.novaslc.org.

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WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK IN THEATRE (JAN. 28-FEB. 3, 2015)

(Be sure to visit our monthly theatre calendar by clicking on “Events Calendar.”)

TERRACE PLAZA PLAYHOUSE, The Marvelous Wonderettes, this smash off-Broadway hit takes you to the 1958 Springfield High School prom where we meet the Wonderettes, four girls with hopes and dreams as big as their crinoline skirts, through February 7, 7:30 p.m., 99 E. 4700 South, Ogden, $12-$14 general, $11-$13 seniors/students, $9-$11 children (12 and under), 801-393-0070, http://terraceplayhouse.com.

HALE CENTRE THEATRE-WEST VALLEY CITY, Is He Dead?, by Mark Twain, it’s 1846 and talented French artist Millet feels honor bound to save his fiancée and her father from financial ruin, but Millet soon realizes that great paintings make much more money after the artist dies, so in desperation he fakes his own death and becomes his “sister,” through February 7, 12:30 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. performances, $49 general (December 31), $28-$31 general, $16 children ages 5-11, 801-984-9000, www.halecentretheatre.org.

HALE CENTRE THEATRE-OREM, Barefoot in the Park, by Neil Simon, when newlyweds Corie and Paul Bratter arrive at their first New York apartment the honeymoon comes to a screeching halt as they confront a needy mother-in-law, an eccentric neighbor and the inevitable adjustment to married life, through February 7, 7:30 p.m., also 3 p.m. matinees on January 31 and February 7, 225 W. 400 North, Orem, $11 (preview performances), $34-$38 (December 31), $16-$22 general, $12-$16 children, 801-226-8600, www.haletheater.org.

CENTERPOINT LEGACY THEATRE, The Miracle Worker, by William Gibson,, directed by Karen Whiting, the inspiring true story of Helen Keller and her teacher Annie Sullivan, through February 7, 7:30 p.m., also 2:30 p.m. matinees on January 31, February 2 and 7, Barlow Main Stage, 525 N. 400 West, Centerville, $17.25-$23.25, 801-298-1302, www.centerpointtheatre.org.

HERITAGE THEATRE, Five on a Honeymoon, by Ruth and Nathan Hale, a young widowed mother of three has just remarried, and her new husband sets out to bring some badly needed discipline into the children’s lives, the subsequent explosions bring an evening of wackiness and hilarity, through February 7, 7:30 p.m., $10 general, $9 seniors/children under 12, S. Highway 89, Peery, 435-723-8392, www.heritagetheatreutah.com.

THE ECHO THEATRE, Twelfth Night, by William Shakespeare, directed by Eve Speer, a shipwreck, separated identical twins, mistaken identities, romance and one pair of yellow stockings, the Echo’s production will be accentuated by music with a talented cast of musician/actors who play everything from violin to French horn, through February 14, 7:30 p.m., also 2:30 p.m. matinee on January 24, preview performance January 15, 7:30 p.m. 15 N. 100 East, Provo, $10 general, $9 students (presale), $12 general/students, $8 seniors (day of performance), $6 general (preview performance), $8 general (matinee performance), www.theechotheatre.com.

THE OFF BROADWAY THEATRE, Hunger Game of Thrones, the story takes place in a strange land where hunger is common – a hunger for food, for power and betrayal, the G-rated family friendly show follows the tale of a beautiful female archer who not only brings peace to her homeland but thwarts corrupt tyrant kings who have illegally and villainously usurped the throne, through February 21, 7:30 p.m., 272 S. Main, $10-$16, $11 Mondays, 801-355-4628, www.theobt.org.

DESERT STAR PLAYHOUSE, Pirates of the Scaribbean, by Ben E. Millet, through March 21, 6 p.m., 7 p.m., 8:30 p.m., also 2:30 p.m. matinees, $18.95 adults, $10.95 children (11 years and under), 4861 S. State, 801-266-2600, www.desertstar.biz.

BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY, The Count of Monte Cristo, U.S. premiere of a new musical, book and lyrics by Jack Murphy, music by Frank Wildhorn, directed by Nathan Balser, based on Alexandre Dumas’ story of revenge, romance and love’s redemptive power, January 28-31, 7:30 p.m., de Jong Concert Hall, Harris Fine Arts Center, $21-$28, ($15 for preview), 801-422-4322, www.arts.byu.edu.

UTAH VALLEY UNIVERSITY, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, musical by Rupert Holmes, based on Charles Dickens’ unfinished novel of the same name, directed by Rob Moffat, Edwin Drood mysteriously disappears one stormy Christmas Eve, but no one knows if he’s been murdered, and if so, who did it, at the end the audience votes on the solution as prelude to the most unusual and hilarious finale, January 29-31, 7:30 p.m., also 2 p.m. matinee on January 31, Noorda Theatre, $12 general, $8 students, 801-863-7529, or box office located in Noorda Theatre, or Campus Connection, www.uvu.edu/arts.

BROADWAY ACROSS AMERICA, Beauty and the Beast, based on the Academy Award winning animated feature, January 30-February 1, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. performances, Kingsbury Hall, University of Utah, $45-$75 (Friday and Saturday), $35-$65 (Sunday), 801-581-7100, www.kingsburyhall.utah.edu.

ELLEN ECCLES THEATRE, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, national Broadway touring group production, January 31, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., 43 S. Main, Logan, $39-$58, 435-752-0026, www.cachearts.org/seven-brides-for-seven-brothers/.

UTAH STATE UNIVERSITY, Sondheim on Sondheim, is a unique theatrical event offering a compelling retrospective of the “father of the modern musical,” his life and his work, in his own words, combining video interview footage with live performances of musical numbers that provide an intimate and entertaining portrait of the Tony, Oscar and Grammy Award winning composer/lyricist and his creative process, February 3-7, 7:30 p.m., also a 2 p.m. matinee on February 7, Caine Lyric Theatre, 28 W. Center St., Logan, $10-$18 general, 435-797-8022, http://arts.usu.edu/lyric/.

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WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK IN DANCE (JAN. 28-FEB. 3, 2015)

(Be sure to visit our monthly dance calendar by clicking on “Events Calendar.”)

BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY, Ballet in Concert, January 29-30, 7:30 p.m., “Fairy Tales and Fantasy, with Contemporary Program,” BYU Theatre Ballet performs highlights from Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and concludes with three contemporary premieres, January 31, 7:30 p.m., “Fairy Tales and Fantasy,” BYU Theatre Ballet presents its 90 minute touring show, Pardoe Theatre, Harris Fine Arts Center, $15 general, $8 children (2 years and up), 801-422-4322, www.byuarts.com.

RIRIE-WOODBURY DANCE COMPANY, Flabbergast, the show for all ages, created by circus director and choreographer Tandy Beal, original music by Jon Scoville, the work takes a magical and mystery filled tour through time and space and immerses audiences in a journey of wonder, also on the program is fan favorite You and the Space Between, by Miguel Azcue, the work will challenge your notion of time and space and provide a playful and mesmerizing experience, January 30-31, 7 p.m., also a 2 p.m. matinee on January 31, Capitol Theatre, $35, 801-355-2787, 888-451-2787, www.arttix.org.

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UTAH OPERA ANNOUNCES 2015-16 SEASON

Not surprisingly, it’s going to be a roster of well known favorites when Utah Opera’s new season gets under way in October in the Capitol Theatre.

Starting off the 2015-16 season will be Giacomo Puccini’s perennial favorite Tosca, with soprano Kara Shay Thomson in the title role. Also in the cast is baritone Michael Chioldi as Baron Scarpia. Long time Utah Opera conductor Robert Tweten will return to lead the Utah Symphony. Performances run Oct. 10-18.

For the new year, Utah Opera will finally bring back Franz Léhar’s spirited operetta The Merry Widow. Sung in English, the cast features sopranos Caroline Worra as Hanna, the merry widow, and Sharin Apostolou as Valencienne. Conductor will be the Utah Symphony’s principal pops conductor Jerry Steichen. It will be onstage Jan. 16-24, 2016.

Giuseppe Verdi’s Aïda returns to Utah Opera after an 11-year hiatus in March 2016. In the title role will be soprano Jennifer Check, with bass-baritone Alfred Walker as Amonasro. Ari Pelto will conduct. Aïda will be performed March 12-20, 2016.

Finally, W.A. Mozart’s comedic masterpiece, The Marriage of Figaro, will round out the season in May. In the cast will  be soprano Anya Matanovic as Susanna and baritone Craig Irvin as the Count. Gary Thor Wedor will conduct. It will be performed May 7-15, 2016.

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OFF THE WALL FUN WITH THE UKES

KINGSBURY HALL PRESENTS, The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, Kingsbury Hall, University of Utah, Jan. 26

If just eight ukuleles qualify to be an orchestra, then the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain is overqualified. Not only do these eight musicians play their instruments well, they’re virtuosos and singers and comedians. An evening with them is an experience you don’t easily forget — in a good way. Nothing is sacred, and everything is fair game for spoofing.

The Ukes (Photo: Courtesy of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain)

They have a huge repertoire of music, which audiences get to sample at their concerts. At their Kingsbury Hall appearance Monday they played everything from country to disco to rock to classical, all in their unique fashion. A two-and-a-half-hour show just doesn’t seem like enough time spent with these nutty Brits. The audience wanted more. This is the second time in as many years that The Ukes, as they’re affectionately known, have been to Utah (the last time was at Weber State University as part of their Cultural Affairs series). Hopefully they’ll be back within the next two years.

As much as the music they play is fun they’re shtick is hilarious, even if you’ve heard and seen them before. From one of their members playing a tiny uke about a third the size of the small soprano ukulele, to good natured jokes about their instrument of choice, everything is well worth the price of a ticket. And when you add the music to the mix, then it’s priceless.

You never know what you’re going to hear at one of their concerts. Monday night they opened with a short set that included Bo Diddley’s “Road Runner” and “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” sung by band member David Suich. They followed that up with Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” (which is most definitely not a Leonard Cohen song as The Ukes’ leader, George Hinchliffe, insinuated in his remarks).

Country music took a hit with Leisa Rea doing a credible job imitating Dolly Parton in Parton’s song “Joshua,” while disco music was also a target with a couple of songs, Rose Royce’s “Car Wash” and Chic’s “Le Freak.”

Other songs on the program were the Bee Gee’s “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart,” Cher’s “Bang Bang” and Isaac Hayes’ theme from “Shaft.”

Classical music didn’t escape their attention, either.  As an ensemble they gave a fairly straightforward (as straightforward as classical music can sound for eight ukuleles) of Camille Saint-Saëns’ Danse Macabre, while bass player Jonty Bankes showed off his virtuoso whistling in Bach’s Bourrée.

For one of their encores the group sang and played an amazing medley that combined six songs, including tunes by the Eagles, Gloria Gaynor and Cat Stevens, over a steady Handelian accompaniment provided by Hinchliffe.

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A RARE TREAT: YSAŸE VIOLIN SONATAS

WESTMINSTER CONCERT SERIES, Vieve Gore Concert Hall, Westminster College, Jan. 26

Monday night at Westminster College, on their “night off,” three Utah Symphony musicians — David Porter, Yuki MacQueen and Alex Martin — gave a scintillating performance of the monumental set of six sonatas for unaccompanied violin by the legendary virtuoso, Eugène Ysaÿe. As a sequel of sorts to a performance a few years ago of the six Bach sonatas, it demonstrated once again the admirable level of dedication and achievement of the symphony musicians.

From left: David Porter, Yuki MacQueen and Alex Martin. (Photo Credit: Westminster Concert Series)

It was gratifying to see a large contingent of Utah Symphony members past and present in the audience to support their colleagues on stage. Former board chairperson, Pat Richards, was also in attendance. If members of the symphony management and conducting staff had been there, they, too, would have been able to relish this rare treat of a program carried off so exceptionally well.

Ysaÿe’s compositions were written at a crossroads of music history. Clearly he was influenced by older 19th century romantic contemporaries like pianist/composer Franz Lizst and the violinist/composers Henri Wieniawski and Henri Vieuxtemps. As the greatest virtuoso of his generation, Ysaÿe included every pyrotechnic in the book: Harmonics, runs of fingered octaves and tenths, simultaneous ponticello tremolo with left hand pizzicato. (If this doesn’t mean anything to the lay reader, believe me, it’s hard!) But Ysaÿe was also a learned musician who paid due homage to Bach and baroque forms. Within the sonatas we hear fugues, themes and variations, passacaglias and other period dances. At the same time, Ysaÿe was clearly looking ahead to the incoming impressionistic style of Debussy and the French school.

However, there’s something unique and personal in Ysaÿe’s harmonic language, in that in large part it is derived from violin technique itself. As devilishly difficult as his sonatas are to play, they “fit” within the idiomatic finger patterns of the violinist’s left hand, and in combination with creative use of the violin’s open strings, create intervallic and harmonic progressions that are distinct from any other composer.

In the first movement of the Sonata No. 2, called “Obsession,” Ysaÿe juxtaposes two wildly contrasting themes: One is a quote from the effervescent opening of the Preludio of Bach’s Partita in E Major. The other is the ancient liturgical chant, the Dies Irae, or Day of Wrath. In other words, heaven versus hell. Likewise, it’s heaven to listen to, but it’s hell to play! The three violinists nevertheless pulled it all off with exceptional élan, exhibiting technical security and musical imagination, and displaying a mastery that does great credit to the musicians of the Utah Symphony.

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UTAH SYMPHONY’S DAVID PARK CAN NOW ADD ACTOR TO HIS RÉSUMÉ

Sometimes enjoying a meal at your favorite restaurant can have unexpected consequences.

That’s how David Park, assistant concertmaster of the Utah Symphony, ended up getting a part in the film The Strongest Man, which receives its world premiere this weekend at the Sundance Film Festival.

As Park tells it, he was dining at a Salt Lake City eatery where he’s a regular patron. As he was leaving one of the servers introduced him to the film’s producer, who also happens to frequent the restaurant. They ended up chatting and the producer invited him to do an audition.

“It turned out that he [the producer] wasn’t crazy about the actor they had hired for the part,” Park told Reichel Recommends. “He wanted somebody else to replace him, even though they had already filmed his scenes.”

Park said he was interested and a couple months later he got called for an audition.

Before his audition Park received coaching, since he had never acted before. That paid off, because, “both the director and the producer were very happy with what they saw.”

The Strongest Man is about Beef, a Cuban construction worker in Miami who suffers from anxiety, and his Korean friend Conan. The two decide to attend a spiritual meditation class, where they’re told to find their respective power animals. Not sure what that means they set out on a journey to literally find them. During their adventure of discovery Conan’s relationship with his family deteriorates, while  Beef’s relationship with Illi, his neighbor, starts to pick up. But through all this Beef never seems to be able to free himself from his anxiety.

Park plays the elderly Mr. Yoon, the father of Jimmy Yoon. While most of the film was shot in Miami, Park’s scenes were filmed in Salt Lake City. “It was one very long day of filming, from nine a.m. to nine p.m.,” Park said. It was stressful but fascinating, he said, even when they had to do numerous retakes, and a scene lasting about a minute on screen took 30 minutes or more to film. “I was very nervous, especially the first time doing my first scene. But the crew members were really nice and always complimented me. They made me feel comfortable.”

The most challenging thing for Park was memorizing his lines. “That was hard. It’s much more difficult than memorizing music.” He said that he kept going over his lines right up to when each scene was ready to be filmed. “I studied my lines very hard and I kept studying them right up to the last minute.”

A perk to being a musician/actor is that Park’s playing will be on the soundtrack accompanying his scenes. “They used the “Meditation” from Thaïs and the Bach “Air on the G String” from my CD [Violin Meditations]. I’m not sure what they did with them, because most of the soundtrack is punk rock.”

Park never expected to land a role, even a small one, in a movie, but now that it’s over, he’s amenable to doing some more acting. “I didn’t seek it out, but I’m open to more film projects. We’ll see what’s out there.”

The Strongest Man premieres Sunday at 5:30 p.m. at the Prospector Square Theatre in Park City. There will be three more screenings. Log on to http://www.sundance.org/projects/the-strongest-man for times, location and more information on the film.

For a complete listing of Sundance Film Festival events log on to http://www.sundance.org/festival/.

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WITH ‘SEMELE’ WESTMINSTER COLLEGE’S OPERA STUDIO HAS COME INTO ITS OWN

WESTMINSTER COLLEGE OPERA STUDIO, Semele, Vieve Gore Concert Hall, Westminster College, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 23-24; tickets at 801-832-2457 or www.westminstercollege.edu/culturalevents  

Headed by Michael Chipman, the fledgling Westminster College Opera Studio is certainly ambitious. Only in its fourth year, it has steadily progressed and improved to the point where it’s a worthy addition to the Wasatch Front’s vibrant collegiate operatic scene.

This weekend the Opera Studio presents George Frideric Handel’s 1743 opera Semele. The staging is clever and the performances by the talented young singers is spectacular. With this production, the opera program at Westminster has finally come into its own.

Handel’s final opera, Semeledeals with the ill-fated love affair between the title character and Jupiter. It opens with Semele’s impending marriage to Athamas, although she’s really in love with Jupiter. She asks for the god’s help; he hears her prayer and disrupts the wedding ceremony and has her carried off to a palace guarded by dragons.

Christy Lee Peterson as Semele and Alexander Blankers as Jupiter. (Photo Credit: Stuart Ruckman)

Juno, Jupiter’s wife, is, of course, furious that her husband has a lover, and she vows revenge on Semele. Juno appears to Semele disguised as her sister, Ino, and convinces her to beg Jupiter to make her immortal. While at first balking at the idea, Jupiter finally relents, but reluctantly, knowing full well that doing so would actually be Semele’s demise, since no mortal can ever aspire to immortality.

What Chipman has done with the story is add a neat twist. Instead of setting it in mythological times, he’s updated the action. In Chipman’s reimagining, it now takes place in the Deep South and turns Jupiter, Juno and their cohorts into vampires. In this version, Semele achieves immortality by being bitten by Jupiter and becoming a vampire. Her death occurs as she awakens and emerges from her coffin, exposing herself to the rays of the bright sun.

Keri Hale as Ino with the Vampire Chorus. (Photo Credit: Stuart Ruckman)

It works, and it works in stunning fashion. Chipman has created an atmospheric, Goth world of sexy vampires. This eerie world juxtaposes stunningly with that of the mortals. Props are minimal but used to great effect, and the staging is aided by well chosen images that are projected on the wall behind the singers.

But this is opera, and opera, when all is said and done, comes down to the singers. And the cast that Chipman has assembled really delivers the goods.

Reichel Recommends attended Wednesday’s dress rehearsal. It was impressive how the singers embraced their roles and brought conviction and definition to their characters and brought the opera to life.

Standing out among the many fine young voices was soprano Christy Lee Peterson in the title role. Her portrayal had depth and was wonderfully delineated with finely crafted expressions. Her voice has a lovely suppleness to it that allows her to sing the florid lines with agility.

Soprano Asha Crandall, as Juno, also brought richness to her characterization. She, too, has the kind of voice that lets her sing florid lines with ease. She sang with lyricism and well defined expressiveness.

From left: Sally Drutman as Iris and Asha Crandall as Juno. (Photo Credit: Stuart Ruckman)

Among the men, tenor Alexander Blankers, as Jupiter, showed he has the right kind of voice for baroque opera. His is a light, fluid voice that generally projects well and has depth to it.

Baritone Christopher Stockslager, as Athamas, has a wonderfully warm sounding and well rounded voice. It is delightfully lyrical and expressive.

In smaller roles, mezzo-soprano Keri Hale (Ino), soprano Sally Drutman (Iris) and baritone Nick Metos (Somnus) were exceptional. They all have strong voices that are wonderfully inflected and rich with lyricism.

Rounding out the cast are Tanner Gilgen (Cadmus, Semele’s father), Jonah Hoskins (Apollo) and Ryan Hansen (Priest). All gave notable performances.

The small chorus was memorable; their voices blended well together, and they brought a lot to the production.

In addition to their vocal talents, the cast also showed they are actors of considerable merit. Their acting chops were solid and added to the overall depth they brought to their character portrayals.

Accompanying the singers is a small ensemble consisting of string quartet (Gerald Elias and Leslie Henrie, violins; Katie Bradford, viola; Cassie Olson, cello); harpsichord (Emily Williams); and timpani (Abby Scott). This arrangement of the score was made by the conductor Eric Schmidt, who elicited wonderfully nuanced playing from his band and also achieved a good balance between the singers and instrumentalists.

Chipman’s direction was dynamic, taut and well paced; it moved the action along at a good clip. The dramatic flow was also helped by the fact that Chipman cut out large sections of the opera, but without compromising the integrity of the storyline. In this version, it runs approximately 2 1/2 hours.

This production of Semele, which is ostensibly its Utah premiere, should be on every opera lover’s must see list this weekend. It won’t disappoint.

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WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK IN MUSIC (JAN. 21-27, 2015)

(Be sure to visit our monthly concert calendar by clicking on “Events Calendar.”)

BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY, Q’d Up, faculty Jazz Quintet, Ray Smith, saxophone, Steve Lindeman, keyboards, Eric Hansen, bass, Ron Brough and Jay Lawrence, drums and percussion, January 21, 7:30 p.m., Madsen Recital Hall, Harris Fine Arts Center, free.

UTAH OPERA, “The Pearl Fishers,” by Bizet, two men test the strength of their friendship when a beautiful woman stirs up an old rivalry and a dangerous love triangle, desire and deception build and threaten to separate the friends forever, leaving compassion and trust as the lovers’ only path for survival, the depth of love is tested and a choice between love and honor must be made, Carlos Izcaray, conductor, Kristine McIntyre, stage director, Andrea Carroll, soprano, Brian Stucki, tenor, Craig Irvin, baritone, Derrick Parker, bass-baritone, January 21, 23, 7:30 p.m., January 25, 2 p.m., Capitol Theatre, $10-$95 general ($5 more if purchased on the day of the performance), 801-355-2787, 888-451-2787, www.utahopera.org.

BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY, Robert Brandt, faculty artist, January 23, 7:30 p.m., Madsen Recital Hall, Harris Fine Arts Center, free.

WESTMINSTER COLLEGE, Opera Studio, Handel’s Semele, Michael Chipman, director, the opera is a darkly comedic story of a mortal woman’s tryst with a dangerous god, chaos ensues in the wake of unbridled lust, jealousy and revenge, January 23-24, 7:30 p.m., Vieve Gore Concert Hall, Jewett Center for the Performing Arts, $5 general, free for Westminster students, faculty and staff, 801-832-2457, www.westminstercollege.edu/culturalevents.

BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY, Primrose Memorial Concert, in honor of legendary violist William Primrose (1903-82), Atar Arad, viola, and Jeffrey Shumway, piano, January 24, 7:30 p.m., Madsen Recital Hall, Harris Fine Arts Center, free.

KINGSBURY HALL PRESENTS, The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, the all-singing, all-plucking ensemble returns with their toe-tapping music and hilarious banter, January 26, 7:30 p.m., $24.50-$49.50 general, $5 U. students with ID, $10 non U students, 10 percent discount U. staff, faculty and alumni association members with ID or membership card, Kingsbury Hall, University of Utah, 801-581-7100, www.kingtix.com.

WESTMINSTER COLLEGE, Concert Series, “Ysaÿe Violin Sonatas,” violinists Yuki MacQueen, Alex Martin and David Porter perform the complete Sonatas for Solo Violin by Eugène Ysaÿe, the 19th century Belgian virtuoso known in his day as the “King of the Violin,” January 26, 7:30 p.m., Vieve Gore Concert Hall, Westminster College, $15 general, students and Westminster faculty and staff free with ID, www.westminstercollege.edu/culturalevents.

UTAH VALLEY YOUTH ORCHESTRA AND PHILHARMONIA, Winter Concert, Cheung Chau, conductor. January 26, 7:30 p.m., Covey Center for the Arts, 425 W. Center Street, Provo, $10 general, $5 students and seniors, www.coveycenter.org.

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WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK IN THEATRE (JAN. 21-27, 2015)

(Be sure to visit our monthly theatre calendar by clicking on “Events Calendar.”)

PIONEER THEATRE COMPANY, Alabama Story, by Kenneth Jones, a gentle children’s book with an apparent hidden message stirs the passions of a segregationist senator and a no-nonsense state librarian in 1959 Montgomery, just as the civil rights movement is flowering, inspired by true events, through January 24, 7:30 p.m. (Monday-Thursday evenings), 8 p.m. (Friday and Saturday evenings), also 2 p.m. matinees (on Saturdays), $25-$44 (tickets will be $5 higher when purchased on day of performance), 801-581-6961, www.pioneertheatre.org.

TERRACE PLAZA PLAYHOUSE, The Marvelous Wonderettes, this smash off-Broadway hit takes you to the 1958 Springfield High School prom where we meet the Wonderettes, four girls with hopes and dreams as big as their crinoline skirts, through February 7, 7:30 p.m., 99 E. 4700 South, Ogden, $12-$14 general, $11-$13 seniors/students, $9-$11 children (12 and under), 801-393-0070, http://terraceplayhouse.com.

HALE CENTRE THEATRE-WEST VALLEY CITY, Is He Dead?, by Mark Twain, it’s 1846 and talented French artist Millet feels honor bound to save his fiancée and her father from financial ruin, but Millet soon realizes that great paintings make much more money after the artist dies, so in desperation he fakes his own death and becomes his “sister,” through February 7, 12:30 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. performances, $49 general (December 31), $28-$31 general, $16 children ages 5-11, 801-984-9000, www.halecentretheatre.org.

HALE CENTRE THEATRE-OREM, Barefoot in the Park, by Neil Simon, when newlyweds Corie and Paul Bratter arrive at their first New York apartment the honeymoon comes to a screeching halt as they confront a needy mother-in-law, an eccentric neighbor and the inevitable adjustment to married life, through February 7, 7:30 p.m., also 3 p.m. matinees on January 24, 31 and February 7, 225 W. 400 North, Orem, $11 (preview performances), $34-$38 (December 31), $16-$22 general, $12-$16 children, 801-226-8600, www.haletheater.org.

CENTERPOINT LEGACY THEATRE, The Miracle Worker, by William Gibson,, directed by Karen Whiting, the inspiring true story of Helen Keller and her teacher Annie Sullivan, through February 7, 7:30 p.m., also 2:30 p.m. matinees on January 31, February 2 and 7, Barlow Main Stage, 525 N. 400 West, Centerville, $17.25-$23.25, 801-298-1302, www.centerpointtheatre.org.

HERITAGE THEATRE, Five on a Honeymoon, by Ruth and Nathan Hale, a young widowed mother of three has just remarried, and her new husband sets out to bring some badly needed discipline into the children’s lives, the subsequent explosions bring an evening of wackiness and hilarity, through February 7, 7:30 p.m., $10 general, $9 seniors/children under 12, S. Highway 89, Peery, 435-723-8392, www.heritagetheatreutah.com.

THE ECHO THEATRE, Twelfth Night, by William Shakespeare, directed by Eve Speer, a shipwreck, separated identical twins, mistaken identities, romance and one pair of yellow stockings, the Echo’s production will be accentuated by music with a talented cast of musician/actors who play everything from violin to French horn, through February 14, 7:30 p.m., also 2:30 p.m. matinee on January 24, 15 N. 100 East, Provo, $10 general, $9 students (presale), $12 general/students, $8 seniors (day of performance), $8 general (matinee performance), www.theechotheatre.com.

THE OFF BROADWAY THEATRE, Hunger Game of Thrones, the story takes place in a strange land where hunger is common – a hunger for food, for power and betrayal, the G-rated family friendly show follows the tale of a beautiful female archer who not only brings peace to her homeland but thwarts corrupt tyrant kings who have illegally and villainously usurped the throne, through February 21, 7:30 p.m., 272 S. Main, $10-$16, $11 Mondays, 801-355-4628, www.theobt.org.

DESERT STAR PLAYHOUSE, Pirates of the Scaribbean, by Ben E. Millet, through March 21, 6 p.m., 7 p.m., 8:30 p.m., also 2:30 p.m. matinees, $18.95 adults, $10.95 children (11 years and under), 4861 S. State, 801-266-2600, www.desertstar.biz.

UTAH VALLEY UNIVERSITY, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, musical by Rupert Holmes, based on Charles Dickens’ unfinished novel of the same name, directed by Rob Moffat, Edwin Drood mysteriously disappears one stormy Christmas Eve, but no one knows if he’s been murdered, and if so, who did it, at the end the audience votes on the solution as prelude to the most unusual and hilarious finale, January 29-31, 7:30 p.m., also 2 p.m. matinees on January 17 and 31, Noorda Theatre, $12 general, $8 students, 801-863-7529, or box office located in Noorda Theatre, or Campus Connection, www.uvu.edu/arts.

BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY, The Count of Monte Cristo, U.S. premiere of a new musical, book and lyrics by Jack Murphy, music by Frank Wildhorn, directed by Nathan Balser, based on Alexandre Dumas’ story of revenge, romance and love’s redemptive power, January 22 (preview), January 23-24, 27-31, 7:30 p.m., de Jong Concert Hall, Harris Fine Arts Center, $21-$28, ($15 for preview), 801-422-4322, www.arts.byu.edu.

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WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK IN DANCE (JAN. 21-27, 2015)

(Be sure to visit our monthly dance calendar by clicking on “Events Calendar.”)

UTAH VALLEY UNIVERSITY, “Accelerate,” Synergy Dance Company, Jacquelyn Potts, artistic director, January 22-24, 7:30 p.m., Ragan Theater, $12 general, $8 students, 801-863-7529, or box office located in Noorda Theatre, or Campus Connection, www.uvu.edu/arts.

BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY, “Winterfest,” presents The International Folk Dance Ensemble in Journey, a 90 minute voyage of dance and music through the heartbeat of the world’s cultures, you will see Irish hard shoe, American clogging, Ukrainian hopak, exotic Indian dances and other dances from around the world, January 24, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., LDS Conference Center Theatre, $10 general, 801-570-0080 or 866-537-8457, tickets.

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TRIO OF UTAH SYMPHONY VIOLINISTS TO PLAY YSAŸE’S SOLO SONATAS

The solo violin repertoire is decidedly small. The most famous, and most widely played, works are J.S. Bach’s six sonatas and partitas and Niccolò Paganini’s 24 Caprices. But through the centuries most composers have stayed away from this singular mode of expression.

A remarkable exception is the Belgian violinist/composer Eugène Ysaÿe, who wrote six sonatas for solo violin in 1923 and published them as his op. 27. These six are pretty much neglected today. Occasionally a violinist will include one in a recital program. But having all six played at one concert is definitely a rarity. In what is presumably a first for Salt Lake City, three violinists from the Utah Symphony – Yuki MacQueen, David Porter and Alex Martin – will perform the six at the Westminster Concert Series’ next concert on Jan. 26.

From left: David Porter, Yuki MacQueen, Alex Martin. (Photo Credit: Westminster Concert Series)

“I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this is the first time all six will be done on one program in Utah,” series director Karlyn Bond told Reichel Recommends.

Ysaÿe was inspired to write for solo violin after hearing Joseph Szigeti play Bach’s Sonata in G minor, BWV 1001, for unaccompanied violin. He ended up writing these six sonatas that look back to Bach but remain firmly rooted in the 20th century. “They are his homage to Bach,” MacQueen said.

“Ysaÿe lived in an interesting time that stretched from early romanticism to modernism,” Bond said. MacQueen added that living around the turn of the 20th century and being friends with such composers as Claude Debussy influenced his writing. “The sonatas have a definite 20th century musical language,” MacQueen said. “He uses whole tone scales, unisons and weird harmonies.”

Being a violinist, Ysaÿe knew how to write for his instrument. “They’re difficult and virtuosic – you find whole passages written in fifths or fourths or tritones – but the music lies well in your hands,” MacQueen said. “It’s his testament to the violin.”

Each of the six sonatas was dedicated to a different friend of Ysaÿe’s, all of whom were prominent violinists of the day – Joseph Szigeti (no. 1); Jacques Thibaud (no. 2); George Enescu (no. 3); Fritz Kreisler (no. 4); Mathieu Crickboom (no. 5); and Manuel Quiroga (no. 6). In addition to being celebrated violinists, Enescu and Kreisler were also noted composers.

According to MacQueen, Ysaÿe tailored each sonata to the dedicatee. “Ysaÿe took into account the recipient of the dedication. You can get a glimpse of who a sonata was intended for just by listening to it.”

MacQueen said it wasn’t too difficult dividing up the six pieces. She’ll play nos. 3 and 4; Porter will play the first two; and Martin will take on the last two. The only question that needed to be resolved when the three were making their decision was who wanted to play no. 6, because it’s fiendishly virtuosic. “Alex said, ‘I’ll do it,’” MacQueen said. “And by coincidence, he had already studied no. 5.”

There is somewhat of a direct link between MacQueen and Ysaÿe: her teacher at the Curtis Institute of Music, Jascha Brodsky, was a student of Ysaÿe’s, as was Josef Gingold, another one of MacQueen’s teachers.

MacQueen spoke for all three violinists when she said that the process of putting this program together was a time for them to bond as friends and musicians. “This has been a collaborative effort,” she said, “because we played the sonatas for each other and got feedback.

“That’s been a good experience, and it’s also been fun.”

  • CONCERT DETAILS
  • What: Westminster Concert Series, Ysaÿe Violin Sonatas, with violinists Yuki MacQueen, David Porter and Alex Martin
  • Venue: Vieve Gore Concert Hall, Westminster College
  • Time and Date: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 26
  • Tickets: $15 general, students and Westminster faculty and staff free with ID
  • Phone: 801-832-2457
  • Web: www.westminstercollege.edu/culturalevents 
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