The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

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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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U Opera’s ‘Scenes’: An Outstanding Display of Student Talent

It delivers with hauntingly beautiful performances and an orchestra that completely consumed the audience in the emotions and landscapes of each setting.
Libby+Gardner+Concert+Hall.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Scott+Catron+via+Flickr%29
Libby Gardner Concert Hall. (Photo courtesy of Scott Catron via Flickr)

 

In front of a towering organ on a two-tiered stage, the students in the U Opera displayed their talent in a performance at the Libby Gardner Concert Hall on Saturday night. They were joined by the Paradigm Chamber Orchestra conducted by Joel Rosenberg.

The concert consisted of a selection of scenes from different operas, giving students the chance to showcase their skills in smaller groups. Dr. Robert Breault, director of opera and music director, gave the scenes a short introduction and explanation before giving the stage to members of the ensemble.

‘Scenes’

The U Opera filed in from both sides of the upper stage to start the concert off as a choir. Afterward, the first handful of performances came from operas of the bel canto and baroque periods.

The entire ensemble sang beautifully, but a few of these first performances stood out.

“Le faccio un inchino” from “Il Matrimonio Segreto” was one of the first performances and set expectations high for the rest of the night. In this scene, Isabel Cossa, Jourdan Elterman and Karley Swallow played beautifully off one another. No one voice outstood another, and all three singers exhibited incredible control over their voices as they shifted rapidly from low notes to high notes and solos to harmonies.

Sage Madsen, in “Thy hand Belinda” from “Dido and Aeneas” completely consumed the stage with her voice. This melancholic scene of a woman distraught after her lover has left her filled the room with despair and wonder. Madsen’s voice pierced through the sad song the orchestra played in a beautifully emotional and haunting way.

Of the bigger groups, scenes like “Countess perdono!” from “Le nozze di Figaro” allowed the whole ensemble to show their ability to work off one another. With a robust chorus in the background, the main singers in this scene had to be strong and controlled to emphasize their role, and they met the occasion.

Singers

Of the talented group, a few performers in particular stood out.

Karley Swallow, mentioned earlier in the scene “Le faccio un inchino,” commanded the stage in every scene she was in. Swallow not only showed consistent power and control over her voice but also versatility as she performed different roles of different natures in her scenes. One couldn’t help but be completely captivated by the robustness and emotion of her voice, which easily commanded the entire audience.

Similarly, R. Porter Hiatt stood strong in each one of his scenes. His consistent tone and volume grounded every performance he was in, and his open and expressive body language helped capture the spirit of the scenes he performed. Hiatt exemplified great versatility as well, with some performances exhibiting his ability to convey emotion in his singing to others which gave him the chance to show his force as a singer.

Of course, the entire night would not have been complete without the talent of the Paradigm Chamber Orchestra. The orchestra fantastically set the scene for every performance. Together, the orchestra and the performers crafted such well-rounded scenes that allowed both parties to shine.

The U Opera’s next performance, “A.L.I.C.E.” will be shown on April 12 and 13 at Kingsbury Hall. The show follows the classic story of Alice and Wonderland with a new twist.

 

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@JosiHinds

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About the Contributor
Josi Hinds, Arts Writer
Josi Hinds is in her second year at the University of Utah, majoring in communications with a minor in both gender studies and Spanish (for now). She grew up in Bozeman, Montana, and moved to Salt Lake in hopes of venturing out in the world and meeting new people. She joined the Chronicle out of a love for writing and meeting new people, and she hopes to share stories that broaden both her and others' perspective on the world

Comments (1)

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  • R

    Robert BreaultFeb 20, 2024 at 2:29 pm

    Josi Hinds! On behalf of U Opera, thank you for being there and for your wonderful review. As the proud Director of this group, I truly appreciate that you were at this concert and hope you’ll continue to cover the arts in meaningful and important ways! THANK YOU!!! And, as we say in opera, brava!!!!

    Reply