Utah Lyric Opera to present ‘La Traviata’

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Big hair, make-up, costumes and voices ranging all over the musical scale are things many people would expect in a city famous for opera. Now Provo has something similar to offer.

The Utah Lyric Opera is a non-profit company based in Utah Valley. They are committed to producing great artists and nurturing the talent of future opera professionals. They perform the first Friday of every month at the Covey Center for the Arts. On Feb. 17-18, they will perform “La Traviata” by Guiseppe Verdi.

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The opera will be sung in Italian with English subtitles projected above the stage.

The Utah Lyric Opera was founded in 1996 and Christopher Holmes became the artistic director in 2009. Holmes said the journey to becoming a professional artist is a long one, so they look for artists in the valley who are passionate about an operatic career.

“The highest priority for me with the organization is to bring a professional level of opera to Utah Valley,” Holmes said. “Second, I am committed to providing opportunities for local professionals to showcase and further develop their craft here at home.”

Elizabeth Hansen, the stage director for “La Traviata,” is a screenwriter, now director and former actress herself. Hansen said she enjoys putting together the show even though it is a lot of work.

“I’m most excited about the process of putting a show on when all the elements come together,” Hansen said. “It’s a magical, amazing process and it’s a lot of work and it’s amazing that it gets done.”

And a process it is. With dress rehearsals, bringing in sets, technical rehearsals and hours of training Hansen said this opera has not been easy. However the combination of talent from all areas is what makes this show spectacular.

“We’ve assembled many of the most talented instrumentalists in the area to play in our orchestra and I’m anticipating that this will be an event to talk about for a long time to come,” Holmes said. “Definitely a historic moment for Utah Lyric Opera and the arts scene in Utah Valley.”

Kim Rawson, 20, a student from BYU, is excited for the talent “La Traviata” will present.

“It’s really good that they provide opportunities in Utah when it is not especially known for being a hub of talent or culture,” Rawson said. “It gives them a chance to grow in a place where they might not otherwise.”

For those who have not attended an opera before, Hansen said this would be a good one to ease into.

“We have not approached this in a traditional opera scene,” Hansen said. “We are setting it in the 1950s and it is something that would appeal to a younger audience … This is something they could bite their teeth into.”

“La Traviata” begins at 7:30 p.m. and tickets range from $10-$18. Tickets can be purchased at coveycenter.org.

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