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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
@TheChrony
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Lust, greed, sex, lies, betrayal, pain and death

By Christie Franke

It seems as if spring seasons in the classical world are a little more dramatic than their autumnal counterparts. At least such is the case here in Salt Lake City. The fall season has certainly been busy, no doubt about that, but the upcoming spring season is definitely something to anticipate.

For starters, several more operas are coming to town than there were this fall. They’re fun operas, too — “Tosca,” “La Cenerentola” and “Don Giovanni.” (That’s Puccini, Rossini and Mozart, respectively.) Each of these operas is a classic. “Don Giovanni” tells of lust and damnation (and murder and brawls and seduction and a walking talking statue from Hell). “Tosca” is a tale of love and loyalty in the face of adversity. “La Cenerentola” is a tale everyone knows: “Cinderella,” but with a twist.

The common assumption seems to be that opera is a highbrow spectacle of pure boredom and endless noise. If this is your opinion, think again. Opera singers were the original rock stars: loud, sometimes vulgar, with truly scary temperaments. Singers were sometimes referred to as “angels and demons.” Competition was fierce: one soprano’s rivalry with another could be disastrous to both. Opera is a world of spectacle and theater, and don’t think there’s no internal drama to be found. The opera world was pop culture for centuries. Lust, greed, sex, lies, betrayal, pain, death — Opera: Not for sissies.

The Utah Symphony, in addition, is putting on many magnificent pieces at Abravanel Hall this spring. Performances include Dvorak’s “Seventh Symphony,” Beethoven’s “Seventh Symphony,” and two Rachmaninoff compositions: “Isle of the Dead” (a decidedly enticing title) and “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.” Three of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos feature prominently in January, and we’ll all be rocking out to Grieg come February.

What is said for opera can be said for orchestral music as well: do not underestimate it. Like the singers who performed their work, composers were just as infamous. Beethoven, for instance, raised hell in Vienna, Austria, for years over the custody of his nephew, became deaf as a doornail and still managed to bring the world to its knees with his death. Mozart, Dvorak, Beethoven and many others lived loudly, flamboyantly and often scandalously, but they left such a mark on the world that they will never be forgotten.

Admit it, Spring Semester is one of those times when you have to search for entertainment, when it’s cold outside and a little brightness and beauty — a change from the mundane routine of school — is necessary. Opera and orchestral music allow that in a way that is infinitely more intense than movies can ever hope to achieve: live performance. There’s something thrilling about sitting in a darkened theatre, watching and listening as the performers work. They’re enjoying it: so should you. It’s a bit of culture that’s easily accessible (all theaters have super titles for the audiences’ convenience), and it’s not expensive at all: the prices students pay are almost ridiculously cheap and low-cost tickets are always available.

You could even buy someone you love a season pass for Christmas. They’d love you forever.

For more information on the Utah Opera and the Utah Symphony, visit utahopera.org and utahsymphony.org.

‘Tis the season to enjoy the music.

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