The post below was written by Jennie Litster, who is one of Utah Opera’s Resident Artists.
The Resident Artists consist of 5 young professionals, who perform in schools all over Utah almost daily.
Recently, we returned from our first touring adventure! It was only the second week that we have been together, so it was a new and interesting experience for most of us (our baritone is returning from last year). We were still getting to know one another and getting comfortable with the programs “Who Wants to be an Opera Star?” and “Opera 101” which we are presenting to schools all over the state.
During our school shows, we perform arias, a couple of duets, a trio, and two quartets. We have prepared a few of each kind of piece, so we can pick and choose to make every show different. During our first couple of performances we stuck to the lineup we had rehearsed, but this week we became adventurous and debuted several different duets and trios to add variety and cater to our audiences.
It’s always interesting to see how the children behave and react. Sometimes they are very attentive and ask great questions, while other times they can be rambunctious and noisy. We never know how much the children know about opera and working the crowd to keep their attention is always a challenge. During this week, we had a couple of interesting requests that we accommodated. John sang a snippet of “Figaro” to demonstrate the baritone voice, and to show the vocal range of a soprano, I sang in my upper upper register at 9am.
In addition to performing and representing Utah Opera in Carbon County, we also tried to take advantage of the beautiful scenery of the area.
We visited a museum, toured a few sites, and hiked. In one such instance, we drove to the Left Fork of Huntington Canyon and, after picnicking at the trail head, hiked a beautiful horse trail beside a river until the ominous clouds threatened to open upon us- we turned back. On our return trip to town, we took the long way through the loop and were able to travel a very scenic and breathtaking route along many vistas.
We had an adventure off-roading in the15-passenger opera van on our tour of the unpaved Nine Mile Canyon which is known as “the world’s longest art gallery” because of the extensive rock art.
On our way back to Salt Lake City, we stopped at a school that delighted us with a special treat as we were packing up: a group of girls from kindergarten wanted to sing a song to thank us – so we learned all about the color red.
Here are this week’s Education Visits:
Mountain View Elementary (Box Elder), Pioneer Elementary (Granite), Twin Peaks Elementary (Granite), Forbes Elementary (Alpine), Whitesides Elementary (Davis), and Wasatch Elementary (Provo).
Also this week, our Resident Artist Sishel Claverie did a Random Act of Opera at the City Library today at noon. Did you catch it? Sishel is from Guadalajara and her performance was in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month. On Saturday, October 8 you can watch the family-friendly movie “Beethoven Lives Upstairs” at the City Library at 11am.