Anchors aweigh! “Dutchman,” “Pirates,” maiden “Flight” to pace Utah Opera season

Tue Jan 28, 2020 at 12:00 pm
By Edward Reichel
Utah Opera will stage Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman” in October. Photo: Kent Miles/Utah Opera.

Utah Opera’s 2020-2021 season will feature three perennial audience favorites by Wagner, Puccini, and Gilbert and Sullivan, and the company premiere of a contemporary opera based on the true story of a refugee stranded in an airport for 18 years. 

Richard Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman returns to Salt Lake City October 10-18 to open the 2020-2021 season. The German conductor Jun Märkl, who has appeared often with the Utah Symphony, makes his Utah Opera debut with this production, directed by Conor Hanratty, in his Utah Opera debut, and with wardrobe by longtime Utah Opera costume designer Susan Memmott Allred. 

(Today’s season announcement lists the creative teams for each opera. Casting details will be announced at a later date.)

In the new year, Jonathan Dove and April De Angelis’ Flight makes its Utah Opera debut, running from January 16-24. Premiered at Glyndebourne in 1998, Flight tells the story of an Iranian man, Mehran Karimi Nasseri, who was forced to live in the departure lounge of Terminal One at Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris from 1988 to 2006. Veteran Utah Opera conductor Robert Tweten returns to Utah for this production. Sets were designed by R. Keith Brumley for Des Moines Opera and Jonathan Knipscher designed the costumes.

Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca will be staged March 13-21, 2021. Always popular with Utah audiences, this will be the company’s seventh production since 1978. Israeli director Omer Ben Seadia makes her Utah Opera debut, and for conductor Ari Pelto this will be his fourth production. Sets and drops for Tosca were painted by the Italian artist Ercole Sormani, and Allred will design the costumes.

Closing out the season May 8-16, 2021, will be Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance. Last performed by Utah Opera in August 2006 at the Deer Valley Music Festival, this production will mark the operetta’s mainstage debut. Conductor Gary Thor Wedow will be making his fifth Utah Opera appearance, with Kyle Lang directing. James Schuette originally designed the scenery that will be used for this production for Atlanta Opera.

“Flight,” based on true events, will have its Utah Opera debut in January 2021. Photo: Duane Tinley/Des Moines Opera

The operas will be performed in the Capitol Theatre. Members of the Utah Symphony will be playing, and each production will have English supertitles. 

Season subscriptions go on sale February 4 at and 801-533-6683. Single tickets go on sale on June 9 at and 801-355-2787.

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