SALT LAKE SYMPHONY AND UTAH VOICES JOIN TO PERFORM HAYDN’S ‘THE CREATION’

The Salt Lake Symphony and Utah Voices will join forces once again this weekend in Joseph Haydn’s magnificent oratorio The Creation.

Written between 1797-98 the work is considered Haydn’s masterpiece. And, indeed, it is a wonderful addition to the English oratorio genre and a worthy successor to George Frideric Handel’s many choral/orchestral works.

The libretto, by a writer yet to be identified, is in English and depicts the creation of the world as described in the Book of Genesis and John Milton’s Paradise Lost.

Salt Lake Symphony music director Robert Baldwin and Utah Voices director Michael Huff will co-conduct the performance. Joining them will be soprano Melissa Heath, tenor   Robert Breault and bass-baritone Christopher Clayton.

The concert takes place on May 30 at 7:30 p.m. in Libby Gardner Concert Hall. Tickets are $12 and available online at www.utahvoices.org or at the door.

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WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK IN MUSIC (MAY 27-JUNE 2, 2015)

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

TEMPLE SQUARE PERFORMANCES, Alexander and Aubrey Woods, husband-and-wife duo performing works by Mozart, Ysaÿe, and Leclair, May 29, 7:30 p.m., Assembly Hall, Temple Square, free.

SALT LAKE SYMPHONY, “Let There Be Light!,” Robert Baldwin, conductor, Utah Voices, the program will feature Haydn’s Creation, May 30, 7:30 p.m., Libby Gardner Concert Hall, University of Utah, $10 general, $5 students, seniors, and children, 801-531-7501 or at the door with cash, check or credit card, www.saltlakesymphony.org.

TEMPLE SQUARE PERFORMANCES, “Sketches of Utah History,” featuring works by Marden Pond, based on historical events and places in Utah, performed by Utah Wind Symphony, a string chamber orchestra and viola and flute soloists, May 30, 7:30 p.m., Assembly Hall, Temple Square, free.

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WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK IN THEATRE (MAY 27-JUNE 2, 2015)

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

TERRACE PLAZA PLAYHOUSE, Annie Get Your Gun, book by Dorothy Fields, music and lyrics by Irving Berlin, Annie Oakley is the best shot around, when she’s discovered by Buffalo Bill he persuades her to join his Wild West Show, where she falls head over heels for dashing shooting ace Frank Butler, who headlines the show, through May 30, 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.

THE ECHO THEATRE, Lucky Stiff, music by Stephen Flaherty, book and lyrics by Lynn Ahens, Harry, a down and out shoe salesman, finds one day he has inherited a large sum of money upon the death of a previously unknown uncle, Uncle Anthony’s only condition is that Harry must take his corpse on the trip of a lifetime to Monte Carlo, fulfilling his every desire or the fortune will be donated to charity, and they aren’t the only ones dying to get their paws on the money, join Harry as he navigates Monte Carlo, crossing paths with a boisterous Italian, a representative of the charity, and some shady characters from Uncle Anthony’s past, through May 30, 7:30 p.m., 15 N. 100 East, Provo, $10 general (in advance), $12 (day of), $9 students, $8 seniors, $8 general (matinee performance), 801-375-2181, www.theechotheatre.com.

DESERT STAR PLAYHOUSE, Into The Hoods: A Fractured Fairy Tale, through June 6, 2:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 7 p.m., 8:30 p.m., and 9:30 p.m. performances, 4861 S. State Street, Murray, $18.95 adults, $10.95 children (11 years and under), www.desertstar.biz.

THE OFF BROADWAY THEATRE, The Revengers, by Rob MacArthur, this musical comedy parody tells the story of a group of American superheroes who fight mythological gods, and hopefully come out on top…gods bless America, through June 6, 7:30 p.m., 272 S. Main, $10-$16, 801-355-4628, www.theobt.org.

HALE CENTRE THEATRE-OREM, Big Fish, music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, book by John August, based on the novel by Daniel Wallace, and the Columbia Motion Picture written by John August, Edward Bloom is a traveling salesman whose impossible stories of fantastical adventures aggravate his son, Will, as Edward’s fate is revealed, Will embarks on his own journey to uncover the man behind the myth, and the truth behind his father’s tales, through June 20, 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. performances, $16-$22 general, $12-$16 children, 801-226-8600, www.haletheater.org.

UTAH CHILDREN’S THEATRE, Winnie the Pooh, come visit the Hundred Acre Wood and laugh alongside Winnie the Pooh and his friends Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Roo, Kanga, Owl, Rabbit and Christopher Robin as they have the silliest of adventures, based on the beloved book by A.A. Milne, May 29-30, 1 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. performances, 3605 S. State St., $14 general, 801-532-6000, www.uctheatre.org.

BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY, Princess Academy (world premiere), family appropriate play is based on the book by Shannon Hale, adapted for the stage by Lisa Hall Hagen, directed by Megan Sanborn Jones, taken from her home to attend royal finishing school, Miri faces a harsh schoolmistress, fierce storms, and bandits, but soon discovers the power of friendship and a loving heart, May 29-30, June 4-6, 10-13, 7 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinees on May 30, June 4, 6, 12-13, Pardoe Theatre, Harris Fine Arts Center, $12 general, $3-$4 off with BYU or student ID, $2 off for seniors/BYU alumni, 801-422-4322, www.arts.byu.edu.

GRASSROOTS SHAKESPEARE COMPANY, Summer Tour 2015, Julius Caesar and The Comedy of Errors, June 1-July 6, various times and various venues, $3 suggested donation per person, www.grassrootsshakespeare.com.

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YOUNG GERMAN VIOLINIST VERONIKA EBERLE IMPRESSIVE IN UTAH SYMPHONY DEBUT

UTAH SYMPHONY, Abravanel Hall, May 22; second performance 8 p.m. May 23, tickets at 801-355-2787, 888-451-2787 or www.utahsymphony.org 

The 26-year-old German violinist Veronika Eberle, making her Utah Symphony debut this weekend, possesses a beautiful tone that is round, sonorous and rich in overtones. With Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto as her debut vehicle Eberle was able to show off her remarkably lyrical side.

Veronika Eberle (Photo Credit: Bernd Noelle)

One of the composer’s most melodic works, the First gives the soloist the opportunity to explore her expressive side as few 20th century concertos do. In many ways it’s a throwback to the 19th century because of this aspect, yet it nevertheless is a work that belies the period in which Shostakovich wrote it (the 1940s).

Not only is it lyrical, but the First is also intense in its expressions and charged with a profound emotional palette (after all, it is by Shostakovich). And Eberle certainly knew how to get the most out of it. Her account was thoughtful and well considered and did full justice to the intent of the score.

Music director Thierry Fischer and the orchestra mirrored Eberle’s approach. Fischer elicited finely crafted and nuanced playing from his ensemble that was as sensitive and well intentioned as the soloist’s. This was an exceptional and first rate collaboration.

Rounding out the program this weekend is Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, with popular local soprano Celena Shafer singing the final movement.

Fischer captured the humor and charm of the work with his well conceived interpretation that embraced its quiet energy and flowing lines. The orchestra played with finely molded lyricism and expressiveness; and the many solo passages were well played, in particular concertmaster Ralph Matson’s extended solos in the second, Ländler-like, movement.

In the closing movement Shafer embraced the wit and vivid imagery of the text with her usual flair and technical self assuredness.

As a programmed encore, Shafer sang Richard Strauss’ lush and romantic song Morgen! with great feeling and tenderness. And Matson’s solo playing offered a delightful counterpoint to the vocal line.

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WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK IN MUSIC (MAY 20-26, 2015)

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

SALT LAKE AVENUES COMMUNITY CHOIR, Memorial Day Concert, May 21, 7:30 p.m., Libby Gardner Concert Hall, University of Utah, free.

TEMPLE SQUARE PERFORMANCES, “Celli on the Square,” cellists from the Orchestra at Temple Square performing multi-part arrangements of classical, pop, folk, and other music including Danny Boy, and Bachianas brasileiras, May 22, 7:30 p.m., Assembly Hall, Temple Square, free.

UTAH SYMPHONY, Masterworks Series, “Mahler’s Symphony No. 4,” Thierry Fischer, conductor, Veronika Eberle, violin, Celena Shafer, soprano, the concert will also feature Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1, May 22-23, 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. Note: There will be a “Finishing Touches” final rehearsal performance on May 22, 10 a.m., $16.

TEMPLE SQUARE PERFORMANCES, Venicia Stolworthy Wilson and Melissa Hamilton, sopranos, varied program including classical repertoire and musical theater pieces, May 23, 7:30 p.m., Assembly Hall, Temple Square, free.

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WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK IN THEATRE (MAY 20-26, 2015)

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

THE GRAND THEATRE, Always…Patsy Cline, based on a true story originally written and directed by Ted Swindley, through May 23, 7:30 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on May 23, Black Box, Salt Lake Community College, 1575 S. State St., $14-$20 general, 801-957-3322, www.the-grand.org.

UTAH REPERTORY THEATER COMPANY, Rabbit Hole, JayC Stoddard, director, Johnny Hebda, producer, Becca and Howie Corbett have everything a family could want, that is, until a life-shattering accident turns their world upside down and leaves the couple drifting perilously apart, the play charts their bittersweet search for comfort in the darkest of places and for a path that will lead them back into the light, through May 24, 7:30 p.m., with 3 p.m. matinees on May 10 and 17, Midvale Main Street Theatre, Midvale, $12-$15, www.utahrep.org.

TERRACE PLAZA PLAYHOUSE, Annie Get Your Gun, book by Dorothy Fields, music and lyrics by Irving Berlin, Annie Oakley is the best shot around, when she’s discovered by Buffalo Bill he persuades her to join his Wild West Show, where she falls head over heels for dashing shooting ace Frank Butler, who headlines the show, through May 30, 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.

THE ECHO THEATRE, Lucky Stiff, music by Stephen Flaherty, book and lyrics by Lynn Ahens, Harry, a down and out shoe salesman, finds one day he has inherited a large sum of money upon the death of a previously unknown uncle, Uncle Anthony’s only condition is that Harry must take his corpse on the trip of a lifetime to Monte Carlo, fulfilling his every desire or the fortune will be donated to charity, and they aren’t the only ones dying to get their paws on the money, join Harry as he navigates Monte Carlo, crossing paths with a boisterous Italian, a representative of the charity, and some shady characters from Uncle Anthony’s past, through May 30, 7:30 p.m., with a 2:30 p.m. matinee on May 23, 15 N. 100 East, Provo, $10 general (in advance), $12 (day of), $9 students, $8 seniors, $8 general (matinee performance), 801-375-2181, www.theechotheatre.com.

DESERT STAR PLAYHOUSE, Into The Hoods: A Fractured Fairy Tale, through June 6, 2:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 7 p.m., 8:30 p.m., and 9:30 p.m. performances, 4861 S. State Street, Murray, $18.95 adults, $10.95 children (11 years and under), www.desertstar.biz.

THE OFF BROADWAY THEATRE, The Revengers, by Rob MacArthur, this musical comedy parody tells the story of a group of American superheroes who fight mythological gods, and hopefully come out on top…gods bless America, through June 6, 7:30 p.m., 272 S. Main, $10-$16, 801-355-4628, www.theobt.org.

HALE CENTRE THEATRE-OREM, Big Fish, music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, book by John August, based on the novel by Daniel Wallace, and the Columbia Motion Picture written by John August, Edward Bloom is a traveling salesman whose impossible stories of fantastical adventures aggravate his son, Will, as Edward’s fate is revealed, Will embarks on his own journey to uncover the man behind the myth, and the truth behind his father’s tales, through June 20, 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. performances, $16-$22 general, $12-$16 children, 801-226-8600, www.haletheater.org.

UTAH CHILDREN’S THEATRE, Winnie the Pooh, come visit the Hundred Acre Wood and laugh alongside Winnie the Pooh and his friends Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Roo, Kanga, Owl, Rabbit and Christopher Robin as they have the silliest of adventures, based on the beloved book by A.A. Milne, May 22-23, 29-30, 1 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. performances, 3605 S. State St., $14 general, 801-532-6000, www.uctheatre.org.

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WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK IN DANCE (MAY 20-26, 2015)

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

BALLET WEST, “Innovations,” the program features works by up-and-coming choreographers and exploration into cutting-edge territory, Nicolo Fonte’s Presto, a specially commissioned work for the 50th anniversary gala, and a world premiere by Utah native and international dancer and choreographer Garrett Smith will be featured, May 20-21, 22-23, 7:30 p.m., also a 2 p.m. matinee on May 23, Jeanné Wagner Theatre, Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, $49.50 general, 801-355-2787, www.arttix.org.

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WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK IN MUSIC (MAY 13-19, 2015)

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

UTAH OPERA, “The Rake’s Progress,” music by Stravinsky, libretto by W. H. Auden and Chester Kallman, Thierry Fischer, conductor, Roy Rallo, stage director, Norman Reinhardt, tenor, Joélle Harvey, soprano, Mark Schnaible, baritone, and Jill Grove, mezzo-soprano, May 13, 15, 7:30 p.m., May 17, 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.

TEMPLE SQUARE PERFORMANCES, Sally Bytheway Chorale, women’s, men’s, and combined choirs performing jazz, gospel, contemporary, and sacred selections, Sally Bytheway, director, May 15, 7:30 p.m., Assembly Hall, Temple Square, free.

GIFTED MUSIC SCHOOL, 5th Annual Spring Gala, Dr. Craig Jessop, guest conductor, May 16, 6:30 p.m., followed by an audience reception at 8 p.m., Olympus Junior High School Auditorium, 2217 E. Murray Holladay Road, Holladay, $20 general, $50 family ticket (up to 2 adults and 4 children), $10 students, www.facebook.com/gifted musicschool.com.

CHORAL ARTS SOCIETY OF UTAH AND THE 23rd ARMY BAND AND ROCK BAND, “Armed Forces Day Concert,” patriotic music honoring the Armed Forces, fireworks, food, fun and Military support booths, Sterling Poulson, music director, with special guests Mark Owens and Southband, May 16, 4:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m., Gallivan Center, 239 S. Main, free, no tickets required.

JAZZSLC, “Pete Escovedo Latin Jazz Band,” May 16, 7:30 p.m., Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South, $29.50 general, $10 students, 801-355-2787, www.arttix.org.

MURRAY SYMPHONY, Children’s Concert, featuring an instrument “petting zoo” with the orchestra’s musicians, music includes Saint-Saens’s Carnival of the Animals, Disney Magic, Video Games Live and more, May 16, 7:30 p.m., Murray High School Auditorium, 5440 S. State Street, 46 general, children under 10 are free, tickets at the door.

TEMPLE SQUARE PERFORMANCES, Salt Lake Symphonic Winds, Thomas P. Rohrer, conductor, classical program including works by Beethoven, and Lauridsen, May 16, 7:30 p.m., Assembly Hall, Temple Square, free.

UTAH SYMPHONY, Special Series, “All-Star Evening,” Vladimir Kulenovic, conductor, Shenae Anderson, violin, Kana Yoshigi, piano, concert will feature Mendelssohn’s Double Concerto for Violin and Piano, and the first, third and fourth movements from Dvorák’s Symphony No. 9, (side by side), May 19, 7 p.m., $6-$18 general, 801-355-2787, 888-451-2787, www.arttix.org, for further ticket information please call 801-533-6683, www.utahsymphony.org.

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WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK IN DANCE (MAY 13-19, 2015)

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

UTAH REGIONAL BALLET, Spring Performance, presented by Jacqueline’s School of Ballet, May 15-16, Ragan Theater, Utah Valley University, for tickets call 801-796-7323. 

MOUNTAIN WEST BALLET, “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Linda Fenton, Christy McQuaid and Masie Lancaster, artistic directors, May 15, 16, 18, 8 p.m., Sandy Amphitheater, 9400 S. 1300 East, Sandy, $14 adults premium, $12 students and seniors premium, $10 children premium (4-12 years), $12 adult priority, $10 students/seniors priority, $8 children priority (4-12 years), 801-467-8499, 801-888-8499, www.Smithstix.com, www.mountainwestballet.org, or at the door.

BALLET WEST, “Innovations,” the program features works by up-and-coming choreographers and exploration into cutting-edge territory, Nicolo Fonte’s Presto, a specially commissioned work for the 50th anniversary gala, and a world premiere by Utah native and international dancer and choreographer Garrett Smith will be featured, May 15-16, 20-21, 22-23, 7:30 p.m., also a 2 p.m. matinee on May 23, Jeanné Wagner Theatre, Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, $49.50 general, 801-355-2787, www.arttix.org

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WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK IN THEATRE (MAY 13-19, 2015)

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

THE ZIEGFELD THEATRE, Les Misérables, lyrics by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel, music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, English lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer, Jean Valjean is released from unjust imprisonment after 19 years, but finds nothing in store for him but mistrust and mistreatment, through May 16, 7:30 p.m., also 2 p.m. matinees on Saturdays, $19 general online ($20 at the door), $17 seniors/students/children (12 and under) online ($18 at the door), 3924 S. Washington Blvd., Ogden, 855-949-2787, www.theziegfeldtheater.com.

CENTERPOINT LEGACY THEATRE, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, book by Jeffrey Lane, music and lyrics by David Yaybek, directed by Jim Christian, lying, cheating, totally dishonest, dirty, rotten, and completely hilarious, two swindlers make a bet, but end up getting a surprise of their own, this conman comedy will have you rolling in the aisles, through May 16, 7:30 p.m., Barlow Main Stage, 525 N. 400 West, Centerville, $17.25-$23.25 general, 801-298-1302, www.centerpointtheatre.org.

PIONEER THEATRE COMPANY, The Music Man, book, music and lyrics by Meredith Willson, story by Meredith Willson and Franklin Lacey, fast-talking Harold Hill sweeps into sleepy Iowa town, and soon there’s trouble, right here in River City, through May 16, 7:30 p.m. (Monday-Thursday evenings), 8 p.m. (Friday and Saturday evenings), also 2 p.m. matinees (on Saturdays), $38-$59 (tickets will be $5 higher when purchased on day of performance), 801-581-6961, www.pioneertheatre.org.

CENTERPOINT LEGACY THEATRE, The Emperor’s New Clothes (Or Lack Thereof), Academy Production, a vain Emperor who cares about nothing except wearing and displaying clothes, hires two swindlers who promise him the finest, best suit of clothes…what he gets instead is a silly and embarrassing lesson through May 16, 2 p.m., 5 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. performances, Leishman Performance Hall, 525 N. 400 West, Centerville, $7 general, 801-298-1302, www.centerpointtheatre.org.

WASATCH THEATRE, The Little Dog Laughed, by Douglas Carter Beane, a laugh-out-loud lampoon of Hollywood humbuggery and sliding sexuality, through May 16, 8 p.m., also 2 p.m. matinees on May 9 and 16, Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, $15, www.wasatchtheatre.org.

HALE CENTRE THEATRE-WEST VALLEY CITY, Over the River and Through the Woods, by Joe DiPietro, in New Jersey two very loud sets of grandparents simply adore their 29-year-old grandson, when he tells them he might take a job in Seattle, they think a girl might make him stay, through May 23, 12:30 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. performances, $27-$30 general, $16 children (5-11 years, no children under 5 years permitted), 801-984-9000, www.halecentretheatre.org.

THE GRAND THEATRE, Always…Patsy Cline, based on a true story originally written and directed by Ted Swindley, through May 23, 7:30 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinees on May 9, 16, 23, Black Box, Salt Lake Community College, 1575 S. State St., $14-$20 general, 801-957-3322, www.the-grand.org.

COVEY CENTER FOR THE ARTS, Nunsense, book, lyrics and music by Dan Goggin, five of the 19 surviving Little Sisters of Hoboken discover that their cook, Sister Julia, Child of God, accidentally killed the other 52 residents of the convent with her tainted vichyssoise while they were off playing bingo with a group of Maryknolls, laughter ensues when they try to raise money to bury the dead nuns, through May 24, 7:30 p.m., Brinton Black Box, $14 reserved, $12 seniors/students/military, 801-852-7007, www.provo.org/community/covey-center-for-the-arts.

UTAH REPERTORY THEATER COMPANY, Rabbit Hole, JayC Stoddard, director, Johnny Hebda, producer, Becca and Howie Corbett have everything a family could want, that is, until a life-shattering accident turns their world upside down and leaves the couple drifting perilously apart, the play charts their bittersweet search for comfort in the darkest of places and for a path that will lead them back into the light, through May 24, 7:30 p.m., with 3 p.m. matinee on May 17, Midvale Main Street Theatre, Midvale, $12-$15, www.utahrep.org.

TERRACE PLAZA PLAYHOUSE, Annie Get Your Gun, book by Dorothy Fields, music and lyrics by Irving Berlin, Annie Oakley is the best shot around, when she’s discovered by Buffalo Bill he persuades her to join his Wild West Show, where she falls head over heels for dashing shooting ace Frank Butler, who headlines the show, through May 30, 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.

THE ECHO THEATRE, Lucky Stiff, music by Stephen Flaherty, book and lyrics by Lynn Ahens, Harry, a down and out shoe salesman, finds one day he has inherited a large sum of money upon the death of a previously unknown uncle, Uncle Anthony’s only condition is that Harry must take his corpse on the trip of a lifetime to Monte Carlo, fulfilling his every desire or the fortune will be donated to charity, and they aren’t the only ones dying to get their paws on the money, join Harry as he navigates Monte Carlo, crossing paths with a boisterous Italian, a representative of the charity, and some shady characters from Uncle Anthony’s past, through May 30, 7:30 p.m., with a 2:30 p.m. matinee on May 23, 15 N. 100 East, Provo, $10 general (in advance), $12 (day of), $9 students, $8 seniors, $8 general (matinee performance), 801-375-2181, www.theechotheatre.com.

DESERT STAR PLAYHOUSE, Into The Hoods: A Fractured Fairy Tale, through June 6, 2:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 7 p.m., 8:30 p.m., and 9:30 p.m. performances, 4861 S. State Street, Murray, $18.95 adults, $10.95 children (11 years and under), www.desertstar.biz.

THE OFF BROADWAY THEATRE, The Revengers, by Rob MacArthur, this musical comedy parody tells the story of a group of American superheroes who fight mythological gods, and hopefully come out on top…gods bless America, through June 6, 7:30 p.m., 272 S. Main, $10-$16, 801-355-4628, www.theobt.org.

HALE CENTRE THEATRE-OREM, Big Fish, music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, book by John August, based on the novel by Daniel Wallace, and the Columbia Motion Picture written by John August, Edward Bloom is a traveling salesman whose impossible stories of fantastical adventures aggravate his son, Will, as Edward’s fate is revealed, Will embarks on his own journey to uncover the man behind the myth, and the truth behind his father’s tales, through June 20, 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. performances, $16-$22 general, $12-$16 children, 801-226-8600, www.haletheater.org.

EGYPTIAN THEATRE, Alive in Wonderland Jr., an adaptation of the classic Disney film, an Egyptian YouTheatre presentation starring an all-local, all-youth cast and crew, May 15-16, 7 p.m., also a 2 p.m. matinee on May 16, 328 Main, Park City, $14 adults, $9 children (17 and under), 435-649-9371, www.egyptiantheatrecompany.org.

UTAH CHILDREN’S THEATRE, Winnie the Pooh, come visit the Hundred Acre Wood and laugh alongside Winnie the Pooh and his friends Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Roo, Kanga, Owl, Rabbit and Christopher Robin as they have the silliest of adventures, based on the beloved book by A.A. Milne, May 15-16, 22-23, 29-30, 1 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. performances, 3605 S. State St., $14 general, 801-532-6000, www.uctheatre.org.

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NOVA CONCERT SMASHING SUCCESS

NOVA CHAMBER MUSIC SERIES, Libby Gardner Concert Hall, May 10

The NOVA Chamber Music Series has established itself as an organization that regularly supports the creation of new music written by the very best composers living and working in Utah. Sunday’s concert was no exception. The concert featured two works from University of Utah music professor John Costa alongside two from Arnold Schoenberg. These local collaborations are invaluable. By connecting the area’s top composers, performers, and arts and education institutions, NOVA is fostering growth within the local art music scene.

The afternoon’s concert was a smashing success. Costa’s “Whiplash,” a three movement piece for violin and piano opened the concert in its world premiere. Immediately a crackling energy was established. Costa writes that “the music is direct in a rock-driven sense, capturing its essence but not resorting to imitation.” Some of that captured essence might lie in the driving rhythms and big, powerful piano chords often heard in the same register as those typically produced by the electric guitar in the rock genre. Violinist Hasse Borup and pianist Jason Hardink brought the necessary drive and forcefulness into their performances of the piece, but never at the expense of precision or expressive playing.

The three other works on the program were all set to poems. The two Schoenberg pieces provided a nice contrast between the composer’s late romantic style, often compared to Wagner or Mahler, and his later innovations in 12 tone writing. Even if Schoenberg had never conceived of the act of abolishing a tonal center in his music he would still likely be remembered for the incredible quality of the tonal music he wrote in his youth. The “2 Gesange,” taken from his op. 1, is a good example. Written while the composer was still in his 20s, the work shows a strong command of the harmonic language of the highly chromatic romanticism of the time. Written for bass-baritone and piano, Hardink and guest artist Timothy Jones sounded lush and colorful. In the “Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte” Schoenberg’s mature style dominates. Written for piano with string quartet, the performance featured Jones reciting the Lord Byron poem of the same title. Jones, Hardink, and Borup were joined by violinist Hanah Stuart, violist Joel Gibbs, and cellist Noriko Kishi. Together, they delivered an intense and spirited reading of Schoenberg’s score.

Costa’s “Refuge” closed the concert. Set to five excerpts from Terry Tempest Williams’ “Refuge — An Unnatural History of Family and Place,” the work finds Costa exploring Williams’ themes from a musical perspective. The text deals with issues of death within families, the terrible disease of cancer, and denial before breaking through to a brighter outlook toward a new horizon. Costa’s score very gracefully reinforced this emotional text. All of the afternoon’s performers took part in this final piece, closing the concert with a moment of transcendence, made possible by the fusion of music and text performed with passion and a high level of proficiency.

NOVA should be commended for producing another wonderful season of concerts. Their programming has been a fascinating blend of time tested chamber music classics with new and exciting works by some of the most interesting composers of our time. Next season looks just as promising.

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SUPERB SINGING ON DISPLAY IN UTAH OPERA’S ‘THE RAKE’S PROGRESS’

UTAH OPERA, “The Rake’s Progress,” Capitol Theatre, May 9; through May 17, tickets at 801-355-2787, 888/451-2787 or www.utahopera.org

The role of the forbearing female is no stranger to the opera stage. The fur-bearing female is a different story, and is one of many novelties in Utah Opera’s stylish production of Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rake’s Progress.”

As a cautionary parable of humanity’s tendency toward corruption, “The Rake’s Progress” is an oft-told tale, dating back millennia. After all, the Ten Commandments were not written as an academic exercise. Stravinsky’s version draws upon inspiration that doesn’t go back quite that far, only to the eighteenth century and William Hogarth’s series of paintings depicting the decline of humanity from greed, lust, ambition, and idleness, as represented by the tenor lead, Tom Rakewell. Much of the story is metaphorical: Innocence, as represented by nature, the countryside and the feminine, falling victim to vice, as represented by the civilization, the city, and the masculine.

In the tumultuous times of the early and mid-20th century, that theme regained resonance among stage composers. In 1930, in Depression-era Germany, Kurt Weill composed the dark and menacing “The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny,” with a text by Bertolt Brecht. Bookending “The Rake’s Progress” on the other end was Leonard Bernstein’s 1956 more lighthearted (if one can be lighthearted about rape and pillage) “Candide,” based upon Voltaire’s French satire.

Stravinsky’s opera is the momma bear of the three. His classically structured score is a sumptuous blend of Mozartean elegance and richness, never lacking in truly beautiful music (Rakewell’s aria, “Love too frequently betrayed…” as one of many examples). W.H. Auden’s libretto is at least equally masterful; even without the music it would make compelling poetry on its own. The sets, two-dimensional, monochromatic cross-hatched representations, paid homage to the era of moralistic 18th century etchings and woodcuts from which the opera is based, and complemented Stravinsky’s musical nod to the same period.

The performances all around rose to the quality of the score. Soprano Joelle Harvey was a radiant and touching Ann Trulove, whose voice lost none of its glowingly warmth even on a softly contoured high C. Tenor Norman Reinhardt as Tom Rakewell was convincingly versatile in all his emotional permutations, navigating through Stravinsky’s vocal gymnastics with facile confidence. Baritone Mark Schnaible sang a diabolically understated Nick Shadow to great sly effect. Having heard his title role in “Bluebeard’s Castle” with the Utah Symphony, he has carved himself a niche on the evil baritone market with his deep, dark tessitura. Mezzo Jill Grove was refreshingly robust as bearded Baba the Turk, the opera’s only character who truly knew who she was. Unlike the others, there’s no subtlety with Baba, and Grove’s unrestrained singing and verve provided just the right foil.

Equal kudos to the orchestra. Maestro Thierry Fischer has a well-known affinity for Stravinsky and that shone through. The score is not so much for an orchestra as for a kaleidoscope of small ensembles within the larger group. Fischer brought his customary care for clarity, balance, and attention to detail, and the musicians played with buoyant energy and flair. (One would hope that with such fine playing the musicians’ roster would be printed somewhere before page 48 in future program books.)

If there were any musical downsides, they were slight. For example, from time to time the chorus’s diction was not clear; the same was true on occasion with the articulation in the orchestra. That’s a particularly important consideration in Stravinsky, whose trademark is incisive rhythmic punctuation, but more than anything else that can be chalked up to the Capitol Theater’s tricky acoustics.

As opposed to the rich vitality of the singing and playing, the acting was for the most part restrained, Baba being the exception. I don’t know whether this was intentional—perhaps to reflect the classical lines of the music and set—or not. The result was occasional static and subdued lapses which did not correspond to the busy-ness of the music, with its constantly changing textures and colors that invited motion and action.

To compound that, the length of the final act is a miscalculation, being overly drawn out and lacking Stravinsky’s best music. The graveyard scene, in which Rakewell outwits Nick Shadow (the devil in disguise) is more clever than convincing and suffers in comparison with the card scene in Verdi’s “La Traviata” in which the relentless hand of Fate wends it inexorable way through the superficial gaiety surrounding it. Likewise, the madhouse scene, in which Anne Trulove unaccountably abandons her true love to his horrifying fate, goes on longer than necessary for a dénouement. In “Don Giovanni,” for example, when the flames of hell engulf Giovanni, Mozart wisely wraps things up in a few minutes of happy choral moralizing, understanding that after the climax the drama is essentially over. Nor does the conclusion of “The Rake’s Progress” elicit the tears of a Puccini finale. No matter how many times I see Mimi die in “La Boheme,” I always find myself hoping against hope that maybe this one time she’ll make it through.

It’s hard to know whether this “one-step-removed” quality is the result of the aloof part of Stravinsky’s personality, or his quasi-comedic interpretation of the parable, or the flatness of the sets (interesting though they were) and acting, or all of the above. Stravinsky himself may have been cognizant that the final act was not quite emotionally fulfilling, because he adds an unexpected and lighthearted Shakespearean twist at the very end with his characteristic craft and wit. Overall, the opera is engaging and thought provoking and the music is unquestionably beautiful, even by the definition of those who might have reservations about 20th century music. Bravo to Utah Opera for expanding its artistic horizons. Might we hope for Britten, Weill, or Bernstein in the future?

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