More Opera, for Pete’s Sake! (Sanpete County, that is!)
by Shea Owens, Utah Opera Resident Artist
Our second tour of the year took us to “The Heart of Utah,” literally the center of the state. The weather was beautiful and the scenery matched it. We stayed in the “Valentine House,” arguably the nicest house we’ve stayed in yet! It had a lovely porch outside, a sitting room, a parlor with a grand piano, and even a game room! We also got private bedrooms . . . well, except for Tyson, who we banished to a Harry Potter-like closet space.
So while we definitely enjoyed our time in the house, we also spent a lot of time practicing and reviewing. It’s tough keeping several shows performance-ready! And we wanted to make sure they were in great shape. Most of the kids we performed for probably never saw an opera before—and may not see another for a long time. Locals have told us that most people out in the country tend to stay there. So we were glad to help them experience how awesome opera is.
We performed all of our shows on this tour: Who Wants To Be An Opera Star? (a game show for the young kids), The Elixir of Love (for middle school kids, with an extended version for the community), and Opera Up Close (for the high school). We performed our extended Elixir of Love in the Moroni Opera House (see picture). It’s the only building of its time in the area that is still around. It’s nice to think that people who lived 150 years ago, and who probably didn’t have much money, valued the arts so much that they built this structure. In fact, when Brigham Young first settled Salt Lake City in 1847, he built three buildings before anything else: (1) a temple, (2) a school, (3) and a theater!
The arts are so important to our society, and what a joy it is to see the excited faces of the kids when we do our shows. We have pretty awesome jobs. That’s all for now. Toodles!