“JORNADAS DE AMOR,” Utah Opera Resident Artists, Sorenson Unity Center, Jan. 18

There is a large body of Latin American operatic works that is virtually unknown outside the Spanish-speaking world. But thanks to Utah Opera’s resident artists, Salt Lake opera lovers got a glimpse into that fascinating world.

Those who braved the cold Friday night and attended the hour-long performance at the Sorensen Center were treated to a delightful evening of Spanish opera and zarzuela. The four singers and pianist in Utah Opera’s program presented a well chosen selection of arias and ensembles including three numbers from Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas, which just began a five-performance run at the Capitol Theatre.

The quartet of singers all have wonderful voices, and they showed remarkable acting talent as well. The four are soprano Amy Owens, who earned her bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University; mezzo-soprano Sishel Claverie, a native of Mexico; tenor Andrew Penning; and baritone Shea Owens. They were accompanied by pianist Sahar Nouri, resident artist pianist and vocal coach.

Owens has a bright vibrant soprano and she stood out in each of her pieces, particularly in “Como nacien la calle,” from Francisco Assenjo Barbieri’s zarzuela El barberillo de Lavapies.

Claverie, with her rich, dark voice, seems a natural for this music. She shone in Pauline Viardot-Garcia’s Habanera and “Carceleras” from the zarzuela Las hijas del Zebedea by Ruperto Chapí.

The two men also brought a lot to this concert. Penning and Owens have well rounded, fluid and expressive voices. They were particularly impressive in selections from Catán’s operas Il postino and Florencia en el Amazonas.

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About Edward Reichel

Edward Reichel, author, writer and composer, has been covering the classical music scene in Utah since 1997. For many years he served as the primary music critic for the Deseret News. He has also written for a number of publications, including Chamber Music Magazine, OPERA Magazine, 15 Bytes, Park City Magazine and Salt Lake Magazine. He holds a Ph.D. in composition from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He can be reached at Reichel Recommends is also on Twitter @ReichelArts.

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