St. George Opera presents Menotti comedies for first staged operas

This photo is an example of costuming taken for the St. George Opera, location and date not specified | Photo courtesy of Kjirsten Tyrell, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The St. George Opera will present a selection of scintillating summer performances of Gian Carlo Menotti’s operas “The Old Maid and the Thief” and “The Telephone.” Performances run Friday through July 1.

The St. George Opera was founded in 2012. During its fledgling years, the group did one concert and one opera, said founding member  and current general director Amy Nielsen. But in 2014, when several founding members, including Nielsen, left to further their musical educations, the St. George Opera disbanded.

St. George Opera flier | Image courtesy of St. George Opera, St. George News | Click on image to enlarge

Nielsen moved to Colorado to pursue a doctorate in music, studying opera directing, she said, adding that when she returned to St. George she knew she wanted to revive the opera.

The re-established St. George Opera started in summer of 2016 and the group has done some small performances notably a Halloween-themed performance in October 2016 and a Valentine’s-themed performance in February.

This year the St. George Opera applied for and received a grant from the Washington County Recreation Arts and Parks tax fund that has allowed it to produce their first staged opera.

The group will be bringing two of Gian Carlo Menotti’s operas – “The Old Maid and the Thief” and “The Telephone” – to the stage. One has a run time of approximately 20 minutes and the other has a run time of just over an hour, Nielsen said. The entire production will last about 90 minutes.

For its first performance, Nielsen picked operas that were approachable for most audiences. Both operas are comical in nature and both will be sung in English.

“I don’t want people to see the word ‘opera’ and be scared,” Nielsen said. “It is essentially just another art form similar to musical theater.”

Nielsen is excited to bring the production to a St. George audience to educate the public on opera and hopefully erase the stigma that it is an antiquated and/or elitist art form.

I really believe there is an opera that everyone will enjoy and hopefully more than one,” Nielsen said.

One of Nielsen’s favorite operas is Puccini’s “La Boheme.”

While she hopes to be able to produce and direct some of the “meatier” operas in the future, Nielsen said she is excited about the upcoming shows, especially for the caliber of performers who will be participating.

The production will showcase artists from across the United States including singers from New York, Georgia, Mississippi, Florida as well as talent from Southern Utah.

The performances will take place June 23, 26 and 28 at 7 p.m. and June 24 at 2 p.m. in the Electric Theater, 68 E. Tabernacle St., St. George, and also on July 1 at 7 p.m. at the Center for the Arts at Kayenta, 681 Coyote Gulch Court in the Kayenta area of Ivins.

There will also be a private performance June 30 at 6:30 p.m. at the SunRiver St. George community for residents and their invited guests.

Tickets are $16 for adults, $10 for students with student ID and $5 for children under 13. Adult tickets for Friday’s performance are just $10. Group discounts for couples and families (family of 5) are also available. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door on the night of the performance. Doors will open one hour prior to showtime.

“I think one of the reasons I love opera is because you can have profound experiences that touch your heart in a really deep way,” Nielsen said. “It deals with big emotions and the human frailties of life and that’s why people can connect with it on another level. That’s what I am hoping people can do here is that we can introduce opera into people’s lives so they can have these experiences that are more profound.”

Event details

  • What: St. George Opera presents “The Old Maid and the Thief” and “The Telephone.”
  • When: Friday, June 23, Monday, June 26 and Wednesday, June 28, 7 p.m. | Saturday, June 24, 2 p.m. | Friday, June 30, 6:30 p.m. | Saturday, July 1, 7 p.m.
  • Where: June 23-28, The Electric Theater, 68 E. Tabernacle St., St. George | June 30, SunRiver St. George, 4275 S. Country Club Drive, St. George | July 1, Center for the Arts at Kayenta, 681 Coyote Gulch Court, Ivins.
  • Cost: $10-$35.
  • Purchase tickets: Online or at the door on the night of the performance. Doors open one hour before each performance.
  • Additional information: The SunRiver performance is for SunRiver residents and their invited guests only.
  • St. George Opera: Website | Telephone: 435-668-7313.

Email: hreina@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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