Classical Music

Utah Opera’s triumphant “Silent Night” finds humanity in battle – Jan 19, 2020

Craig Irvin as Horstmayer, Efraín Solís as Audebert, and Troy Cook as Father Palmer in a moment of truce in Utah Opera’s “Silent Night.” Photo: Dana Sohm

Librettist Mark Campbell believes we’re living in a golden age of contemporary opera, and Utah Opera’s beautiful and powerful production of Silent Night, Campbell’s Pulitzer Prize-winning collaboration with composer Kevin Puts, is a shining example. This dramatization of the 1914 Christmas truce opened a five-performance run Saturday night at the Capitol Theatre.

Campbell’s multilingual libretto is a marvel, creating … Read More

Utah Opera brings war and peace to the stage with “Silent Night” – Jan 15, 2020

Troy Cook, Efraín Solís and Craig Irvin (l-r) star in “Silent Night,” about a real-life truce among warring soldiers on Christmas of 1914. Photo: Kathleen Sykes/Utah Opera

So — here’s a spoiler — no one sings “Silent Night” in Silent Night

One of the opera’s stars, baritone Craig Irvin, thinks he knows why: Including the beloved carol would take the audience out of the sound world created for this reimagining of a real-life Christmas truce in World War I, Irvin said in an interview. 

The composer, … Read More

Leonard and Labadie a good match for Mozart with Utah Symphony – Jan 11, 2020

Isabel Leonard performed Mozart arias with the Utah Symphony led by Bernard Labadie Friday night at Abravanel Hall. Photo: Kathleen Sykes

The Utah Symphony doesn’t often engage opera singers as soloists for its concerts. So with the celebrated mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard making an appearance, this week’s concerts in Abravanel Hall looked to provide a real treat.

An announcement was made before the concert that the 37-year-old singer was under the weather and would be shortening her program. Unfortunately, that meant that Mozart’s magnificent motet Exsultate, jubilate would be … Read More

Utah Symphony opens 2020 with a scintillating mix – Jan 04, 2020

Kathryn Eberle performed Edgar Meyer’s Violin Concerto with the Utah Symphony conducted by Conner Gray Covington Friday night at Abravanel Hall. Photo: Kathleen Sykes

The Utah Symphony opened the new year with a textured and scintillating journey through centuries and countries, expertly guided by associate conductor Conner Gray Covington Friday night at Abravanel Hall. 

2020 marks the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth, and the program began with his Leonore Overture No. 3. 

Written for the composer’s sole opera Fidelio, the overture reflects the narrative of a … Read More

Utopia Early Music brings Celtic flavor to Christmas program – Dec 22, 2019

Utopia Early Music performed “A Celtic Christmas” Saturday night at the Cathedral Church of St. Mark.

Amid the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, Utopia Early Music offers a smart yet inviting respite.  Their concert, “A Celtic Christmas,” was heard Saturday night at the Cathedral Church of St. Mark’s, the third oldest Episcopal Cathedral in the United States. 

The combination of this historic setting and music that spans six countries and seven centuries proved glorious and rejuvenating. Sonorous voices blended with sprightly instrumentals to transport listeners through … Read More

A powerful “Rite” and dazzling Mozart from Utah Symphony, Fellner – Nov 23, 2019

Pianist Till Fellner’s mastery of Mozart was on full display Friday in performance with Utah Symphony. Photo: Gabriela Brandenstein

Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring is a classical mainstay and a favorite of Utah Symphony music director Thierry Fischer, who has it back on the program this weekend at Abravanel Hall in a spot-on interpretation that again brings one of orchestral music’s default works to thrilling life.

Fischer on Friday knew just what he wanted to cull from Stravinsky’s score, and the orchestra responded with a virtuoso performance. … Read More

From Bartók to Roens, a delightful study in “Contrasts” at NOVA concert – Nov 19, 2019

Steve Roens’ Countermeasures was given its world premiere at the NOVA Chamber Music series Sunday afternoon at Libby Gardner Concert Hall.

The title for Sunday afternoon’s NOVA Chamber Music series concert in Libby Gardner Concert Hall was “Contrasts,” and the four works on the program certainly lived up to that, since the thrust of each work lay in juxtaposing contrasting styles, textures, tempos, dynamics and articulation.

The featured work was the world premiere of composer and University of Utah faculty member Steve Roens’ Countermeasures for wind quartet: four … Read More

Utah Symphony’s Gershwin feast takes flight, with a maestro switch – Nov 16, 2019

Pianist Kevin Cole performed music of George Gershwin with Conner Gray Covington conducting the Utah Symphony Friday night. Photo: Kathleen Sykes

A George Gershwin extravaganza is on tap at the Utah Symphony this weekend, featuring three of the composer’s piano concertante works along with a pair of works for orchestra alone. 

Thierry Fischer was to have conducted this weekend but withdrew on the advice of his doctor, due to a back injury. 

Instead the orchestra’s associate conductor, Conner Gray Covington, made his Masterworks debut. … Read More

Penderecki Piano Trio shows sharp ensemble in reshuffled program – Nov 15, 2019

The Penderecki Piano Trio performed Thursday night in Libby Gardner Concert Hall. Photo: Bruno Fidrych

Named after Poland’s leading contemporary composer Krzysztof Penderecki, the Penderecki Trio is one of the country’s foremost chamber ensembles. The chamber group made a stop Thursday night in Libby Gardner Concert Hall, as part of the Chamber Music Society of Salt Lake City’s offerings this season. 

The trio’s members (violinist Jaroslaw Nadrzycki, cellist Karol Marianowski and pianist Konrad Skolarski) are wonderful musicians possessing keen musicality and fine interpretative skills. 

Unfortunately, the program they … Read More

Salt Lake Symphony tackles Copland’s epic Third in style – Nov 11, 2019

Aaron Copland’s Symphony No. 3 was performed by the Salt Lake Symphony Saturday night.

The Salt Lake Symphony likes to tackle challenging works. And with some of the best local freelance musicians in the group the ensemble certainly has the technical and musical chops to pull them off.

For its concert Saturday in Libby Gardner Concert Hall guest conductor Gerald Elias led the ensemble in Aaron Copland’s Symphony No. 3. While other American composers who were Copland’s contemporaries wrote exceptional symphonies—notably William … Read More