Utah Opera Commissioned Four Operas For 150th Anniversary of Golden Spike

By David Salazar

The Utah Symphony and Utah Opera are set to reveal a number of projects aimed at celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Golden Spike. The Golden Spike was the final spike that joined the rails of y7uAmerica’s First Transcontinental Railroad.

There will be a concert with the Mormon Tabernacle on May 10 followed by performances by the Utah Symphony and Utah Opera throughout the month of May. Among these performances will be a series of 10-minute operas commissioned by the  Utah Opera.

These operas are “Completing the Picture” by composer Michael Ching and librettist Victoria Panella Bourns; “The Stone, The Tree, and The Bird” by composer Jacob Lee and librettist Christine McDonough; “Burial” by composer Tony Solitro and librettist Paisley Rekdal; and “No Ladies in the Lady’s Book” by composer Lisa Despain and librettist Rachel Peters. All four works deal with differing challenges of railroad workers, with some highlighting the challenges of the Chinese workers who were often marginalized. All four operas will be showcased on May 20, 21, and 22 in Brigham City, Ogden, and Salt Lake City, respectively.

They will be directed by Omer Ben Seadia.

“Utah Opera is pleased to support this historic event by creating opportunities for Utah artists to collaborate in the creation of new operatic works,” stated Utah Opera’s Artistic Director Christopher McBeth in a press release. “These ten-minute operas showcase the convergence of local creatives who make contemporary opera relevant in telling very human stories that have shaped the fabric of our state and country. It is a powerful example of the storytelling, music, and art that constitute opera, and we are so happy to support its creation.”