Michael Ballam calls this summer’s Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre season the biggest and best ever.
“We have six productions, we’ve never had six before,” Ballam exclaims. “We are doing two plays, which we’ve never done before. Both are about operatic super stars. They have within them a great deal of operatic singing. But we have never done anything like a straight play.”
He says those two plays take place in the Utah Theatre, one about Enrico Caruso, the other about Maria Callas.
Ballam, the Founding General Director of the company in its 27th season, likes the variety of this season’s shows.
“We’ve got three big dance shows,” he explains. “We’ve never had 36 dancers come from all over the world to participate in Mary Poppins and West Side Story and Newsies. So that is new for us.
“Mr. Mozart is back, just like he was in our very first season in 1993, this time with Marriage of Figaro. So that totals six productions.”
All six open this weekend in repertory.
“Yes, all six shows will be opening, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, two each day,” says Ballam. “There is also a gala event that takes place on Saturday, July 6th. So this is going to be an extraordinary weekend for us, starting on this Fourth of July weekend.
“We’ve never opened six shows together. But we need to have the shows playing in rep to get people from outside the community. About 70 percent of our audience comes from around 100 miles or beyond. They’ll come and spend a night, two nights, maybe three in our hotels. But they won’t start coming until all of the shows are open, so they can enjoy all of them together.”
Tickets and show information is available at utahfestival.org.