EVENT: UTAH OPERA PERFORMS PUCCINI’S “LA BOHÈME” @ Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre (October 7, 9, 11, 13 and 15)


Puccini’s beloved tale was the first opera produced by Utah Opera in January 1978

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (Sept. 25, 2017) – Utah Opera’s 40th anniversary season opens in October 2017 with Puccini’s beloved “La bohème,” the first opera produced by the company in January 1978 during its inaugural season. This production will be performed five times at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre on October 7, 9, 11, 13 at 7:30 PM and October 15 at 2 PM. Tickets, priced from $21-$103, are available for purchase throughwww.utahopera.org or by calling (801) 533-6683. 




“La bohème” was last performed by the company in October 2010, and the 2017 production will mark its seventh appearance on the Utah Opera stage. Puccini’s classic opera depicts struggling young bohemian artists navigating love, life, and death in turn-of-the-century Paris.

“The characters, music and story create a perfect metaphor for youthful hope and vitality for a fledgling organization, and its premiere production to an enthusiastic community,” said Artistic Director Christopher McBeth. “Even with the obligatory tragic ending, every time I come to Puccini’s masterpiece, I am filled with optimism for the future.”

Soprano Jennifer Black makes her Utah Opera debut in the role of Mimì. The cast also includes baritone Michael Adams, one of Opera News’ “25 Rising Stars,” who sings Marcello, a role he debuted in 2016 at the Grand Théâtre de Genève; Scott Quinn, who recently debuted with Seattle and San Francisco operas, as Rodolfo, a role he has sung with Minnesota Opera; and Celena Shafer, a native Utahn and favorite of Utah Opera and Utah Symphony audiences alike, as Musetta. 

Long-time Utah Opera guest conductor Robert Tweten returns after his most recent appearance leading the orchestra in October 2016’s "Carmen." Directing the production is Kathleen Clawson, who made her Utah Opera mainstage directorial debut in October 2015 with “Tosca” and has also directed productions for The Santa Fe Opera and Dayton Opera. 

The performance will last approximately two hours and 30 minutes with one intermission.


40 Days of Opera Cultural Festival
Utah Opera’s 40th anniversary season kicked off in September with 40 days of community opera outreach events and collaborations in partnership with other Utah-based organizations. In appreciation of our community’s 40 years of loyal support, opera-oriented events that bring the party to the people will include pop-up performances at public buildings, outdoor festivals, and other venues across Utah. The company’s extensive outreach programs in Utah’s schools will also be highlighted. For a list of events, visit www.utahopera.org/40days, and to tag this celebration on social media, use #UO40days.

Learn Before You Go
Utah Symphony | Utah Opera's education and community outreach department facilitates an online "learn before you go" series prior to each opera. Online learning materials are prepared by music professors at local universities including Utah Valley University, University of Utah, and Brigham Young University. They are available online at www.utahopera.org/onlinelearning.

Libretti & Libations
Utah Opera and media partner “Salt Lake Magazine” present Libretti & Libations, a promotion with Salt Lake City's and Park City's top mixologists offering craft cocktails inspired by the storyline and characters of each opera. Participants are encouraged to post photos of the craft cocktails on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #UtahOperaSips to enter a contest to win a pair of tickets to the opera. For more details about Libretti & Libations and a complete list of participating restaurants, visit www.utahopera.org/libations.

Opera-tunities Night

Students in grades 7 through 12 are invited to attend Utah Opera's final dress rehearsal on Thursday, October 5 at the Capitol Theatre through "Opera-tunities Night" for free, and $5 for private/home schooled students. The price is the same for teachers/chaperones accompanying students. Visit www.usuoeducation.org/index.php/for-schools/opera-tunities for more information, or call 801-533-6683.

Red Carpet Event
Opening night on Saturday, October 7 will feature a red carpet event where patrons can pose for a free photo. Photos will be posted on the Utah Opera Facebook page, allowing participants the chance to tag themselves during their night out on the town. Visit www.facebook.com/utahopera for more information. The starting time of the red carpet event is 6:30 PM.

Opera Prelude Lecture
Utah Opera Principal Coach Carol Anderson will offer an Opera Prelude Lecture, free of charge for ticket holders, in the Capitol Room of the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre (50 West 200 South) one hour before curtain for each performance.

Q&A Session
Utah Opera Artistic Director Christopher McBeth will hold a Q&A session, free of charge for ticket holders, immediately following each performance in the Capitol Room of the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre (50 West 200 South).

Utah Opera Presents
"La bohème"
By Giacomo Puccini
Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre, 50 West 200 South, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84101
October 7, 9, 11, 13 | 7:30 PM | 
October 15 | 2 PM | 

Composed by Giacomo Puccini
Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa & Luigi Illica
Supertitle Translation by Kathleen Clawson
Sung in Italian with English supertitles
Premiere: Teatro Reggio, Turin, 1896
Utah Opera: 1978, 1983, 1988, 1995, 2003, 2010


Marcello . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Michael Adams
Rodolfo . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Scott Quinn
Colline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ao Li
Schaunard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Samuel Schultz
Benoît /Alcindoro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Christopher Clayton
Mimì . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jennifer Black
Parpignol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Christopher Oglesby*
Musetta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Celena Shafer
Customs Guard /Officer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Scott Palmer

Conductor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Robert Tweten
Director . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Kathleen Clawson
Set & Properties Designer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Peter Dean Beck
Costume Designer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Susan Memmott-Allred
Lighting Designer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . Matthew Antaky
Wigs & Make-up Designer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Daniel Jacob Hill
Chorus Master & Children’s Choir Director . . . . . Melanie Malinka
Musical Preparation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Carol Anderson
Guest Coach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Stephanie Rhodes
Stage Manager . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . .Amy Soll
Assistant Stage Managers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . Claire Friday, Annie Brantley
Supertitle Musician . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Robert Bosworth*

*Current Utah Opera Resident Artist

The performance will last approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes with one intermission.

Scenery and properties for this production are owned by Arizona Opera, built by Utah Opera.


Christmas Eve, Paris, early 19th Century

The poet Rodolfo and his painter friend Marcello shiver with cold in their garret apartment. Rodolfo is forced to burn his manuscript in an attempt to keep warm. Enter the philosopher Colline and the musician Schaunard, who brings food, fuel, and funds he has collected from an eccentric Englishman. The group plans to continue celebrating their good fortune at Café Momus when they are interrupted by their landlord, Benoît, who demands the rent. As a distraction, the bohemians get him drunk, whereupon Benoît brags about his amorous affairs—despite being married. Feigning indignation, the friends throw him out, minus the rent money.

The group then departs without Rodolfo, who remains to finish writing an article. A knock at the door and the next door neighbor enters. Her candle has blown out and she has no matches to relight it. Coughing and obviously exhausted, she is helped to a chair by Rodolfo and given a glass of wine. Feeling better, she starts to leave but drops her key, which Rodolfo finds and surreptitiously keeps. They introduce themselves—she says she is called Mimì—and tell each other about their lives, his as an aspiring poet and hers as a humble seamstress. A shout from the waiting trio in the street below summons Rodolfo, and he leaves with Mimì. The pair realizes in their brief time together that they have fallen in love.

Later that evening, in the Latin Quarter

Throngs gather as street vendors hawk their wares, and the toy seller Parpignol entices children to ogle the toys. Rodolfo buys Mimì a bonnet and introduces her to his friends. The group enters the café and Musetta, a former lover of Marcello, arrives with her elderly patron, Alcindoro. Clearly the coquette and Marcello are still in love, for they instantly begin flirting. Musetta sends Alcindoro on a trivial errand and departs with the bohemians, leaving the flabbergasted Alcindoro to foot the bill.

The following February, at Barrière d’ Enfer

Mimì enters through the city gates searching for Marcello. She is haggard, ill, and coughing. Marcello exits the tavern where he now lives and works as a sign painter. Mimì confesses that she intends to leave Rodolfo because his intense jealousy is making their lives miserable. Rodolfo, who has been asleep in Marcello’s quarters, emerges fromthe tavern. Mimì conceals herself but overhears Rodolfo tell Marcello that it is not jealousy that inspires his behavior, but fear that Mimì is dying of consumption. He believes that she must seek a wealthy patron who can support her.

Mimì’s presence is revealed by a fit of coughing. She and Rodolfo first decide to separate, but then find that they cannot. They agree to remain together until spring. Meanwhile Musetta arrives, and she and Marcello engage in one of their many angry quarrels about her outrageous flirting.


A few months later, back at the garret

Rodolfo and Marcello cavort in the garret while bemoaning how much they miss their girlfriends, both of whom have been observed in luxurious settings. The other bohemians, Colline and Schaunard, arrive with a scanty meal. To lighten their mood the four begin a dance which turns into a mock duel. At the height of their antics, Musetta bursts in to say that Mimì is outside, too weak to climb the stairs.

Mimì is seriously ill from the ravages of consumption and is helped to bed. The bohemians depart to sell personal possessions in order to buy medicine, leaving Rodolfo and Mimì alone to reminisce about their first meeting when they fell in love. When Musetta and Marcello return, they give Mimì a muff to warm her hands and Rodolfo returns to her the bonnet he had bought when they first met. Mimì seems to rally but then drifts into unconsciousness; the bohemians realize she has died, and Rodolfo, in a fit of weeping, collapses over her prostrate body.



Michael Adams (Texas)
Utah Opera Debut
"La bohème,” “Alcina,” Grand Théâtre de Genève;
“Don Giovanni,” Washington National Opera;
"Manon,” “Turandot,” “Billy Budd,” Des Moines Metro Opera;
"Turandot,” Deutsche Oper Berlin
“Alcina,” Washington National Opera;
“Così fan tutte,” Seattle Opera;
“Don Giovanni,” Grand Théâtre de Genève

Scott Quinn (Texas)
Utah Opera Debut
“La bohème,” Minnesota Opera;
“Káťa Kabanová,” Seattle Opera;
“Madama Butterfly,” Palm Beach Opera
“Rigoletto,” Lyric Opera of Kansas City;
“La traviata,” Austin Opera

Ao Li (China)
Utah Opera Debut
“An American Dream,” Seattle Opera;
“Don Pasquale,” National Center for the Performing Arts (Beijing);
“Don Giovanni,” The Metropolitan Opera
“Don Giovanni,” National Center for the Performing Arts (Beijing)

Samuel Schultz (Wisconsin)
Utah Opera Debut
“Ariadne auf Naxos,” Berkshire Opera Festival;
“Champion,” Washington National Opera;
“La bohème,” Opera Omaha
“Carmina Burana,” Omaha Symphony

Christopher Clayton (Utah)
Most Recently at Utah Opera, “Le nozze di Figaro”
“Pagliacci,” “Cavallaria rusticana,” Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre;
“Il trovatore,” St. Petersburg Opera Company
“Carmina Burana,” Ballet West

Jennifer Black (Texas)
Utah Opera Debut
“Tristan und Isolde,” Chamber Orchestra of San Antonio;
“La traviata,” Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera;
“La mère coupable,” On Site Opera
“Norma,” Sarasota Opera

Christopher Oglesby (Georgia)
Utah Opera Debut
Current Utah Opera Resident Artist
“Cox & Box,” Opera in Concert;
“Amahl and the Night Visitors,” Opera Diversita;
“Bastien und Bastienne,” The Dallas Opera
“Die Fledermaus,” “Moby-Dick,” Utah Opera

Celena Shafer (Utah)
Most Recently at Utah Opera, “The Abduction from the Seraglio”
“Leonore,” Washington Concert Opera;
“Carmina Burana,” Colorado Springs Philharmonic;
“Messiah,” Phoenix Symphony
“Carmina Burana,” Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Costa Rica;
Mass in C Minor “The Great,” Utah Symphony


Robert Tweten (New Mexico)
Most Recently at Utah Opera, “Carmen”
“The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs,” The Santa Fe Opera;
“Die Zauberflöte,” Calgary Opera;
“La Cenerentola,” El Paso Opera
“Turandot,” Lyric Opera of Chicago;
“Il barbiere di Siviglia,” Kentucky Opera

Kathleen Clawson (New Mexico)
Most Recently at Utah Opera, “Tosca”
“The Magic Flute,” Dayton Opera;
,” “Suor Angelica,” Opera Birmingham;
“Noah’s Flood,” The Santa Fe Opera
“Otello,” Dayton Opera;
“UnShakeable,” The Santa Fe Opera

Peter Dean Beck (New York)
Set and Properties Design
Most Recently at Utah Opera, “La traviata”
“Dialogues of the Carmelites,” Hawaii Opera Theatre;
“The Sound of Music,” Skylight Music Theatre;
“Cold Sassy Tree,” Florida State Opera;
“The Rake’s Progress” and “Falstaff,” University of Colorado, Boulder
“Turandot,” Hawaii Opera Theatre;
“Les Misérables,” Skylight Music Theatre

Susan Memmott Allred (Utah)
Costume Design
Most Recently at Utah Opera, “Lucia di Lammermoor”
PBS Christmas Special with Mormon Tabernacle Choir 2016;
Resident Designer, Utah Opera, 1979–2011;
Mormon Miracle Pageant;
Utah Shakespeare Festival;
Southern Utah University

Mathew Antaky (California)
Lighting Design
Most Recently at Utah Opera, “La Cenerentola”
“Pagliacci,” “The Seven Deadly Sins,” Festival Opera;
“Les Enfants Terribles,” Flight, Opera Parallèle
For details visit matthewantakydesign.com

Daniel Jacob Hill (Utah)
Wig and Makeup Design
Most Recently at Utah Opera, “Don Giovanni”
“The Long Walk,” Utah Opera;
“Lucia di Lammermoor,” Utah Opera;
“Man of La Mancha,” Utah Opera
“Moby-Dick,” Utah Opera;
“Pagliacci,” “Gianni Schicchi,” Utah Opera

Melanie Malinka (Germany)
Chorus Master and Children’s Choir Director
Most Recently at Utah Opera, “Carmen”
“Noye’s Fludde,” The Cathedral of the Madeleine;
“Tosca,” Utah Opera (chorus master)
“Dixit Dominus,” The Cathedral of the Madeleine;
Pueri Cantores Children’s Choir Festival, Chicago

About Utah Opera

Utah Opera, established by Glade Peterson in 1978, has been part of the Utah community for 40 years and engages audiences through inspiring operatic performances. The opera company presents four annual productions at the historic Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre and regularly partners with Utah Symphony and other organizations for special presentations. In addition to producing classic works from the operatic repertoire, Utah Opera also emphasizes the importance of contemporary American opera, with notable achievements including the 1996 world premiere of David Carlson’s “Dreamkeepers” and the co-commissioning and Western U.S. premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s “The Grapes of Wrath” in 2007, presenting the Western U.S. premiere of Jeremy Howard Beck and Stephanie Fleischmann’s “The Long Walk” in 2016, and leading the creation of a new production of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s “Moby-Dick” that will feature a versatile set designed to adapt to a wide range of theater stages, making it possible for more companies to undertake this important 21st century opera.

Utah Opera operates a full production studios where productions are rehearsed and costumes, props and set pieces are designed, made, rented out and stored. The opera currently has 19 full sets and costumes for 50 full productions in its inventory. Utah Opera also offers a Resident Artist Program, a nationally recognized young artist training program for professional singers and pianists who perform for more than 70,000 students each year free of charge through the organization’s education and outreach activities. The Utah Symphony has performed as part of the Opera’s productions since the company’s founding, and the two organizations merged in 2002.

Utah Opera’s current Artistic Director, Christopher McBeth, joined the company in the fall of 2000 and took over primary artistic leadership in 2003. Under his leadership, Utah Opera productions have received acclaim for introducing audiences to the next generation of fine singing actors. Mr. McBeth strives to provide distinguished quality productions that showcase emerging and established artists, celebrate traditional works, and champion the American operatic tradition.

For more information, visit www.utahopera.org.


The Utah Opera 40th Anniversary Season Sponsor is the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation.

40 Days of Opera Cultural Festival Sponsor is the John and Marcia Price Family Foundation 

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